Art Aquarium: The Incredible Living Art Exhibit in Tokyo

Three women in kimono taking in the sights of Art Aquarium.

This past weekend, I was invited to photograph the press screening of Art Aquarium; a stunning exhibition in Tokyo that combines otherworldly scenery with Japanese goldfish known as kingyo. I was invited to the pre-screening of Art Aquarium 2018 as well, so I was excited to see how the exhibit has evolved in the present year.

The theme of Art Aquarium is “Eco-Edo”; a harkening back to the days of Edo period Japan. Without air conditioning to beat the summer heat, people would spend the humid summer afternoons observing kingyo swimming about in ponds or tanks. In addition to the cool breeze that would blow across the water, the tranquil scene also provided a mental escape from the heat.

The artist behind Art Aquarium - Hidetomo Kimura

Created by artist Hidetomo Kimura, Art Aquarium expertly intertwines the juxtaposition between Tokyo’s modern digital aesthetic and the classical Japanese culture of many years ago. It’s not uncommon to see women in yukata or kimono walking throughout the exhibit, invoking the feeling of a moment out of time. Be sure to bring your camera when you visit to capture some truly unforgettable Tokyo photos.

Of course the real stars of the show are the fish. The Japanese kingyo is quite unlike any other fish in the world. The product of selective breeding, their appearance can range from that of a traditional goldfish, to something with almost cartoonishly large eyes and cheeks.

Thankfully, watching the Kingyo isn’t the only way to keep cool at Art Aquarium. The exhibit has partnered with Dassai, one of Japan’s most famous sake breweries, to offer exclusive cocktails for visitors.

The exhibit is running now until September 23rd, so if you’re in the area this summer and want to take some memorable photos in Tokyo, be sure to make it an addition to your Japan itinerary!

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