Summer’s well and truly underway in Tokyo! With temperatures soaring above 30 degrees on a regular basis, it’s good to surround yourself with water, especially if it’s in a blacked-out air conditioned event hall.

In Japan, goldfish are known to represent the summer season – probably because of all the traditional festivals at which you can have a go at ‘Kingyo sukui’ (catch the goldfish). With that in mind, and knowing how much our son Ricky loves fish, we decided to take a trip to the newly opened exhibition “Art Aquarium 2016”.

This year is Art Aquarium’s 10th anniversary. The exhibition is quite well known now, giving visitors the opportunity to see thousands of goldfish in highly unusual, artistic goldfish bowl displays.

It takes place not only in Tokyo, but Osaka and Kanazawa too. In Tokyo, the venue is located inside the Coredo department store / mall in Nihombashi.

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We visited on a Saturday, just the day after the exhibition was opened. Although we’d planned to get there a bit early, when we arrived at Nihonbashi we found that the exhibition is actually closer to Mitsukoshi-mae station, so had a short walk to get there.

Being only day 2, it was proving to be really popular, so we had to wait about 30 minutes to buy our tickets (although the genius queuing system used made it seem like it was a lot quicker, keeping us moving); we recommend you buy tickets in advance online.

At the ticket counter the staff offered to take our bags and umbrellas, which was much appreciated as we would end up carrying Ricky a lot of the time.

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(Ricky’s cool pause while waiting in the line)

As we entered the exhibition hall, Ricky realized that the venue was really dark and so asked daddy to hold him.

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Inside the Art Aquarium there was a row of round tanks with different kinds of goldfish inside. The tanks were open on top; it only took Ricky a few seconds to realize this and splash his hand down into the first tank, splashing those around us… We suggested that he not do this again!

The tanks were all quite high up, so if you have a small child, you’ll need to hold them for most of the time.

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Never seen goldfish like theses before!

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“Can you really see where you’re going…?”

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Is it really practical to have cheeks like those?!

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So many people!

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This is the main exhibit for this year. 3000 goldfish in this single instillation!

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Tanks were also attached to the walls.

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This was the only tank that Ricky could see into without us holding him.

The venue wasn’t that big, but it was spacious enough to enjoy the feeling of “Edo” and “Summer”.

We weren’t allowed to use flash or record any videos, and it was a bit challenging to take good photos with just an iPhone, …but overall we feel we were able to capture the spirit of the event.

ArtAquariumRicky’s really got into fish and sea creatures since we took him to the aquarium at Kasai Rinkai Park a couple of months back, so he was very happy to see thousands of goldfish. He said he also wanted to see an octopus, …but we couldn’t find any at the goldfish aquarium!

It took us about 30 to 40 minutes to see the whole thing. It may not be enough to keep older children entertained for a long time if they’re used to a big aquarium, but it made a great trip out for us with Ricky. Mummy and Daddy both really enjoyed the experience.

If you go there in the morning when it opens (11am), you can also have lunch in the Nihombashi area after that.
The closest station is Mitsukoshi-mae or Shin-Nihombashi! (You can also walk from Nihombashi, Tokyo and Kanda station if the weather isn’t bad!)

Official website: http://artaquarium.jp/nihonbashi2016/

Dates: July 8th – September 25th, 2016
Time: Art Aquarium 11:00~19:00, Night Aquarium 19:00~23:30 *Last entry 23:00
Venue: Nihombashi Mitsui Hall (Credo Muromachi 1 – 5F)
Tickets: Adult: 1,000yen, Children 600yen (Elementary school children or lower), 3 years old or under: Free

    ▼Access
    Mitsukoshi-mae (Tokyo Metro Ginza/Hanzomon line) A6 Exit
    JR Shin-Nihombashi