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Nara Kingyo Museum: Wondrous Goldfish Exhibition With Trick Eye Art & Multi-Sensory Displays

Nara Kingyo Museum

Combining goldfish and art, the Nara Kingyo Museum (奈良金魚ミュージアム) houses a series of phenomenal tank displays that seem larger than life. Why goldfish, you ask? The museum is located in Nara Prefecture, otherwise known as one of the top 3 prefectures for goldfish cultivation in Japan.

Artistic goldfish displays

Nara Kingyo Museum was first established in 2018 and underwent refurbishments in April 2021. According to its creator, the museum seeks to charm, surprise, and provide a therapeutic experience for its visitors through exhibitions that activate all 5 human senses.

Nara Kingyo Museum - galaxy-themed goldfish display area

Nara Kingyo Museum houses around 3,000 goldfish of 38 different species across tanks in uniquely themed areas, making it the largest goldfish museum in Japan. 

Nara Kingyo Museum - goldfish swimming
Image credit: @masakatsu_sanada

Among the various themed areas, the most visually arresting section is inspired by the inside of a kaleidoscope. Multi-coloured glass pieces decorate the walls, mimicking a kaleidoscope’s reflective surface. The goldfish are analogous to the beads, sequins, and other accoutrements you’d find inside a kaleidoscope.

Nara Kingyo Museum - kaleidoscope-themed goldfish display
Image credit: @momojiri_tomoko

Another favourite is the flower-themed display where tanks of goldfish are mounted on a wall full of blooms. 

Nara Kingyo Museum - flower-themed goldfish display
Image credit: @asuka69829

The blooms – primarily pink, orange, and yellow – match the goldfish’s colours, seamlessly painting the fish-filled tanks as a natural extension of the floral wall. Blurring the line between artificial and natural, the flower-themed display is sure to enchant you with its beauty.

Trompe l’oeil goldfish paintings

Nara Kingyo Museum - visitor pretending to have been surprised by a ninja's sneak attack
Image adapted from: @kimama0707

For added immersiveness, Nara Kingyo Museum has a section dedicated to trick eye art – paintings that are made to look 3D through optical illusions. 

Nara Kingyo Museum - visitor pretending to be trapped in a fish bowl
Image adapted from: @tomiiichan

The illusory effect is accomplished by employing the trompe-l’oeil painting technique, which focuses on shading and using parallel lines to manipulate the viewer’s perception of depth and distance.

Nara Kingyo Museum -
Image credit: @_yutaponpon1004

From getting trapped in a fishbowl to riding a goldfish, the trompe l’oeil paintings make for great photo spots where visitors can show off their most creative poses. 

Getting to Nara Kingyo Museum

Providing both exquisite goldfish displays and interactive photo spots, Nara Kingyo Museum is an optimal location for family-bonding and art appreciation alike. The museum is just a 15-minute walk from Shin Ōmiya Station.

Admission: ¥1,200 (~USD8.78)/middle school students & older | ¥800 (~USD5.85)/65 years & older, elementary school students & the disabled | Free for preschoolers
Address: 4F Mi Nara, 1 Chōme-3-1 Nijō-ōjiminami, 630-8012 Nara
Opening hours: 10am-6pm, Daily (Last admission at 5.30pm)
Contact: 080-4689-2142 | Nara Kingyo Museum website

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Cover image adapted from: @momojiri_tomoko, @miyu1022_, @kimama0707