If Japan had a shrine dedicated to goldfish, the new Art Aquarium Museum would be it.
It’s fitting that as you enter the new, permanent home of my favorite summer event, you really feel like you’re stepping into another dimension, a world where goldfish are elevated to art…
Countless varieties of fancy fish are displayed like shimmering jewels in their cases
…while a choreographed play of light and music turns the schools of fish into an ever-changing kaleidoscope of color
The permanent installation draws from years of seasonal exhibitions, all the way back to a glimpse of the first one that paired goldfish with ikebana flower arrangements—a uniquely Japanese take on elevating flowers and fish to art
As always, the rare breeds each have their own spotlit museum showcase
bathed in a parade of colored glows
Other unusual varieties have their own cubes of light
…which magnify their charms and quirks
There is, of course, a grand homage to the traditional Japanese goldfish bowl with its fluted rim. This one is stylized into origami-like folds and surrounded by strings of actual origami goldfish
The unusual tanks that Art Aquarium is famous for make an appearance in the form of multiple undulating waterfalls filled with fish…
…and a celestial installation of kingyo cavorting in columns of bubbles around a moon.
I wish they’d included some of the prism-like aquarium shapes from the past, but the collection of fish is still displayed in new and inventive ways
The final installation harks back to their collaboration with famous ikebana designer Shogo Kariyazaki, who incorporated goldfish into his grand flower constructions. It’s interesting to see how they kept the focus on light and color over the years, but moved toward making the fish themselves into art.
Hours: 10:00 – 19:00 (last entry 18:00)
Open: Every day except irregular holidays (those will be blanked out on the calendar when you buy your tickets)
Admission: Adults ¥2300 if you buy online, ¥2400 if you use the ticket machine on the 1st floor of Ginza Mitsukoshi department story
The Art Aquarium Museum is on the 8th floor of the Ginza Mitsukoshi department store, but the entrance is on the 9th floor. You must choose your visit date and entry time before buying your ticket, because they are timed entries. (Using the Art Aquarium Museum website is the easiest way to do this—I stood outside the venue and bought mine, then went right in.) After your payment is confirmed, get in the roped-off line near the down escalator (near the restaurant) on the 9th floor to wait for your time slot. When they let you in, go down to the 8th floor and scan your emailed QR code to scan at the ticket gate.
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