April 23, 2018
by Nami Shinkado, Sakina Nishitsuji & Shiho Tojo
The Art Aquarium is a special art exhibition held each year in Japan, and has already been experienced by a total 7.8 million people in the last 10 years. The most recent location was at the famous Nijo Castle in Kyoto, where the Restoration of Imperial Rule (Taisei Hokan) happened 150 years ago. The Art Aquarium an underwater exhibition that uses new technology such as light and images, the motif being Japanese. The main motif is koi, or Japanese goldfish, which became associated strongly with Japanese culture in the Edo period. Art Aquarium is world of Japanese art that centers around the goldfish and colored carp which express the beauty of Japan, and the traditional Japanese culture of Kyoto, including kimono, Japanese confectionery, green tea, and sake. These will be brought back to life as art and fused together with new art skills. In the exhibition, there are various kinds of goldfish, from a high-quality type that we cannot usually see to the type often seen in local festivals. The goldfish is an aquarium fish that has a history that was made by people. Art Aquarium is a very colorful and relaxing place created by Hidetomo Kimura. He makes a stage out of a World Heritage Site like Nijo Castle and attracts people by offering a unique worldview.
Hidetomo Kimura was born in Tokyo in 1972. He is an artist who combined the concepts of ‘aquarium’ with ‘art’ to create a unique exhibition by designing the interior, the music, the image, and space layout. Later, he accomplished an incredible feat by taking the Art Aquarium exhibition to Milan, where he got rave reviews for his art and design. He always tries new things all over the world. Moreover, he always does it with goldfish. He said the reason why does choses the goldfish is that it is a work of art created by hand.
Attraction of Art Aquarium
In 2017, Art Aquarium was held at Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto. Nijo-Castle was built in 1603, during the Edo period, so it has over 400 years of history. It is recognized as a national treasure and registered as a World Heritage Site. The admission fee to the exhibit was 1,500 yen per person, with children being just 1,000 yen, while children under 4 are free of charge.
Art Aquarium is really beautiful and mystical, while being held at night in a special place normally off-limits to guests. In 2017, it was held from October 23 to December 14, from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Last entry: 9:30 PM). So, if you visit the exhibition, you can see Nijo-jo Castle with a different atmosphere than usual.
Art Aquarium uses a lot of real goldfish and colored carp. They were lit up by various colored lights, for example, red, blue, yellow, purple, green and so on. Those goldfish and colored carp express the beauty of Japan and the traditional Japanese culture of Kyoto. Art Aquarium is a very famous event for both Japanese and foreign people alike. That is because, Art Aquarium is not only lit up at night with goldfish and colored carp, but also offers visitors beautiful sounds and light projections. This performance has great appeal to guests. If you go to Nijo-jo Castle, you can enjoy seeing many goldfish and to spending a wonderful time. There are also some nearby shops and restaurants, so you can eat delicious food and drink alcohol, coffee or tea. In addition, there is a souvenir shop, where all sorts of things are sold. For example, they sell postcards of Art Aquarium, brochures, candy, accessories, and so on. Therefore, if you go to this event with friends, family or a partner, you can leave with some great memories.
About Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle is a Japanese castle built in the Edo period in Nijo Town, Kyoto City. It is a flat castle in the city of Kyoto and it was a castle built by Ieyasu Tokugawa, who won the battle of Sekigahara in 1603. The castle inside Nijo castle consists of Honmaru Palace and Ninomaru Palace, each with its own garden. Ninomaru Palace is the largest, consisting of 3,300 square meters and 33 rooms. Moreover, Nijo Castle was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1994. Also, it is famous for being the place where Taisei Hokan occurred, when the Edo Shogunate returned governance to the Imperial Court in 1867, signifying the end of the Edo Shogunate. It was done by Yoshinobu Tokugawa, who was thr 15th generation of Tokugawa. In 2017, it was just 150 years from the year of Taisei Hokan occurred. To celebrate it, Art Aquarium was held in a grand way.
In conclusion, Art Aquarium attracts people with in various ways, from its beautiful real goldfish, to various forms of aquariums, to lighting up the space with various colors, and so on. By combining these, a magnificent performance is created. Thanks to these performances, Art Aquarium has become a popular spot for many tourists, causing a queue of people there every day there. It is fantastic!
Also, Nijo Castle is a very famous place historically, so on the day when Art Aquarium is not held, you can still visit Nijo castle. We recommend this aquarium spot and Nijo castle for everyone. We hope you will go there with the people you care most about.
Address of Nijo Castle
541, Nijojo-cho, Nijo-dori Horikawa Nishi iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
JR Kyoto Station→
City Bus Routes 9, 50 and 101 ⇒ Get off at Nijojo-mae station
It is about 30 minutes from both the Kyoto-Higashi Interchange and the Kyoto-Minami Interchange on the Meishin Highway