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Art Aquarium Opens 1st Permanent Exhibit In Tokyo With 30,000 Live Japanese Goldfish

Art Aquarium permanent exhibit

After 14 years of success as a roving exhibition only held in summer, Art Aquarium finally has a permanent home in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. The permanent exhibition opened its doors to visitors on 28th August 2020 and features 30,000 live goldfish, which is almost 4 times the number of goldfish shown in 2019. 

Permanent exhibition at Nihonbashi, Tokyo

art aquarium - building
Image credit: @artaquarium_official

The first Art Aquarium was held in 2007 at the Mori Arts Center Gallery. What used to be an annual summer exhibition now occupies a permanent exhibition space in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, a 2-minute walk from Mitsukoshima Station. The 2-storey facility is about 3 times the size of previous exhibitions and has a total floor area of 2,321sqm – around the size of 3 football fields. The space includes a cafe lounge and a souvenir shop.

art aquarium - cafe lounge
Art Aquarium Cafe Lounge on Level 2
Image credit: @pale_no_tomodachi

Over 30,000 live goldfish on display

art aquarium - goldfish
Image credit: @heiyo02

art aquarium - super oiran
Image credit: Art Aquarium

The 2-storey building consists of 4 themed exhibition zones – 水端 (mizutan), 浮世 (ukiyo), 神秘 (shinpi), and 老松 (oimatsu). There are over 30,000 live goldfish on display in glass tanks of different shapes and sizes, illuminated by multicoloured moving projections.

art aquarium - circle window goldfish
Image credit: @photoguma

art aquarium - distorted lenses
Image credit: @mix_true

The aquarium is headed by artist Hidetomo Kimura. He uses digital art to spotlight and transform ordinary ornamental goldfish into works of art. Visitors can admire the goldfish in different ways, through installations with magnified or concave lenses. 

He also personally supervises the interior design, lighting, video, and music of the exhibition. Since this is a permanent exhibition, visitors can expect the displays to change according to the seasons.

art aquarium - multicoloured displays
Image credit: @meecham0875

New artworks not shown in past exhibitions

Art Aquarium 2020 features at least 2 new exhibits – Oiran Way and Forest of Kingyo. Enter Oiran Way through a daimon (large gate) and you’ll be greeted by multicoloured artworks inspired by oiran (high-ranking courtesans). 

art aquarium - oiran way
Image credit: Art Aquarium

art aquarium - ooku
Image credit: Art Aquarium

Meanwhile, the highlight of Forest of Kingyo is the floor-to-ceiling columns of water evoking images of towering trees in a forest – except that these “trees” are glass vessels filled with goldfish.

art aquarium - forest of kingyo
Image credit: Art Aquarium

Visit Art Aquarium in Tokyo, Japan

Art Aquarium has attracted over 10 million visitors since 2007 and was even held in Italy and China. The once-seasonal and roving exhibit now has a permanent location in Tokyo so you can visit these fish all year round.

Art Aquarium
Address: 1-3-9 Nihonbashi-honcho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-0023
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily (Last admission at 9:30PM)
Admission: ¥2,300 (~USD21.74) from 10AM-6PM for adults, ¥2,000 (~USD18.90) after 6PM | Free admission for children aged 12 and below

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Cover image adapted from: Art Aquarium