We have concluded the exhibition in Nijo-Jo Castle, Kyoto
7.6 million total visitors so far! (* As of September 10th)
For the first time in two years,
ART AQUARIUM returns to bring vibrant light to the Kyoto night and thrill Japan once more.
The ART AQUARIUM CASTLE is the sole outdoor portion of this exhibition.
It is also the largest part of the entire exhibition.
Nijo-jo Castle has a history of over 400 years, and once served as an imperial villa.
It is usually not open to the public.
However, on nights during this special period,
the ART AQUARIUM CASTLE will be held in the majestic spaces that are the “Ninomaru Palace Garden”,
the “Old Chef’s Quarters”, and the “garden in front of the Old Chef’s Quarters”.
In a space fashioned out of the classically Japanese beauty of goldfish and colored carp,
and the latest in production techniques using light, music, video, and more,
ART AQUARIUM: World of Japanese Art will shine all the more.
This space, together with the traditional Japanese crafts for which Kyoto is known, such as kimono,
will transform into an entirely new form of art.
Here, a magnificent, festive world will emerge, one where you can savor dance performances,
the local sake and matcha of Kyoto, traditional Kyoto confectionery from long-standing shops, and more.
One of the symbols of the Edo period (1603–1868), Nijo-jo Castle has a history of over 400 years.
This year, the castle sees the 150th anniversary of the Restoration of Imperial Rule (Taisei Hokan).
Nijo-jo Castle was the setting for the announcement of the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate,
a major turning point in the history of Japan.
At the ART AQUARIUM CASTLE, held at Nijo-jo Castle as it celebrates
the 150th anniversary of the Restoration of Imperial Rule (Taisei Hokan),
we will focus on the influence that this major historical turning point had on the art world,
and unveil the Taisei Hokan Byobu-e (painted folding screens), new works that represent that influence.
These three new ART AQUARIUM pieces,
which symbolize the periods of the “Late Edo”, “Early Meiji”, and “Modern Civilization”,
represent the transitions in the history of Japanese art made possible by the Restoration of Imperial Rule.
We are planning the biggest and best exhibition in our history.
In addition to new works of such massive scale that they are only possible at an outdoor exhibit,
we intend to display works including: “Super Oiran”,
which will make its first ever appearance in western Japan; dazzling pieces made from Edo Kiriko glass,
which symbolizes the culture of the Edo period; and extravagant pieces made from Kutani ware,
a style of pottery that was created in the Edo period and continued to evolve into the Meiji period (1868–1912).
Taisei Hokan Byobu-ezu (painted folding screens) NEW
A new work to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Restoration of Imperial Rule (Taisei Hokan).
The restoration of power to the emperor had all sorts of effects on Japanese history, and naturally, the world of art also approached a major transition period.
Accordingly, we created new pieces at the ART AQUARIUM to express the art history of that upheaval.
In the aquarium works called “Byouburium”, themed after folding screens, we project moving images onto the folding screens via projection mapping. The mapped images of goldfish swimming elegantly within those screens were created with the themes of three time periods: the restoration of imperial rule, and the eras that came before and after. By looking at the three “Byouburium” and the differing themes in these works, you can understand the impact that the Restoration of Imperial Rule had on the Japanese art world.
Taisei Hokan Byobu-ezu [Early – Late Edo Period] NEW
Taking the lead from Kanō Tanyū—considered to be the founder of the Kano school—this piece, which expresses the Edo era, incorporates “Chikuringunko-zu (Tigers in the Bamboo Grove)” and “Matsutaka-zu (Hawk and Pine)”, drawn in Nijo-jo Castle where the Restoration of Imperial Rule was held.
The hawk taking off from “Matsutaka-zu”, which expresses the early Edo era, crosses through and appears in each age, as symbolized by the three “Byouburium”, and goes on to become an expression of technique from that age.
The work’s intent is also honored in the final piece, “Ochiba (Fallen Leaves)”. As the hawk flies toward the space in the center (the limitless future), it serves as a guide, showing the future of Japanese art from that point on.
Taisei Hokan Byobu-ezu [Late Edo – Early Meiji Period] NEW
This work expresses the period of great upheaval for the art world spanning those days of the Restoration of Imperial Rule.
It focuses on Kanō Hōgai, the final Japanese artist of the Kano school, who lived from the end of the Edo era until the Meiji period.
The pieces “Niōsokki-zu (Nio Seizing an Evil Spirit)” and “Hibo Kan-on (Merciful Kan-on)” adopt new Western painting techniques.
Taisei Hokan Byobu-ezu [Early Meiji Period – Modern Era] NEW
Expressing the development of modern Japanese art later on, this work focuses on Hishida Shunsō and Yokoyama Taikan, who introduced various novel techniques into the world of traditional painting and had a great deal of impact on modern Japanese art. It adopts their collaborative work “Hisen (Waterfall)” and the subsequent “Ochiba (Fallen Leaves)”, a totally new completed form in which Hishida Shunsō masterfully blended color pointillism, aerial perspectives, Rimpa and the virtues of Western-style painting.
As for the style of enjoying the three folding screens while going around them, we took inspiration from the ‘Byobu Matsuri (Folding Screen Festival)’, in which the traditional townhouses of old families were decorated with folding screens at the time of the Gion Festival, and you would go around looking at them.
Stage of Suigi NEW
This is the ART AQUARIUM stage, where dancing fish can swim through an underwater world to unite and perform.
The scale of this ART AQUARIUM composite work is the largest in history, due to the massive vertical water tank spanning seven meters and the immense water tank with a flat shape.
The parts of the seven-meter vertical tank are split into three water systems so as to not be visible, and we can present the work as though the fish varieties which want different environments are swimming together.
As for the eight-meter flat tank in front, you can see the underwater world from the water’s unrippled, silent surface.
Entertainment unfolds on this stage every evening and night, including traditional performances.
Super Oiran 1st appearance in western Japan
This massive artwork is the culmination of the Oiran series and celebrates the 10th anniversary of ART AQUARIUM!
Oiran, the first installment of ART AQUARIUM that has held pride of place in the exhibit for ten years and wowed six million people, has now been revamped to an almost unimaginable scale.
Befitting the name of “Super,” this piece is the world’s largest goldfish bowl and conveys the spiritual beauty of a god destined to become the talk of legend and a jaw-dropping sense of size.
This new and stunning artwork features 3,000 goldfish swimming vividly about a bowl and surpasses the previous Oiran work with the addition of 1,000 fish.
Illuminated with lighting in seven colors and video effects enhancing the sublimity of the occasion, this is truly the pinnacle in the Oiran series and will stun all who view it.
Kirikorium 1st appearance in western Japan
Artwork usind Edo-kiriko which is the traditional craftwork from Edo period.
Making use of the characteristic of Edo-kiriko cut glass technology, kingyos look mysterious and beautiful when looking from above and the side.
Beneath part is made by acrylic, the modern craftwork, imitating the Edo-kiriko.
The ancient and modern craftwork technology Japan is proud of have collaborated to bring out elegant beauty to the artwork.
Kutani Goldfish Exhibition 1st appearance in western Japan
An art aquarium crafted through the traditional Japanese art of Kutani porcelain.
Adorned with goldfish designs applied using the three foundational Kutani techiniques: Kutani blue, akae red, and hanatsume pink.
With this luxury piece, you'll be able to take goldfish that seem real enough to appear in a real exhibition from the top, while the sides will allow you to enjoy a brilliantly colorful world of goldfish adorning the Kutani porcelain.
Bonborium The series that likened an aquarium to illumination.
A work reflecting the image of a “bonbori” (traditional Japanese light) which is familiar in Japan from the Edo era to the present.
The attractiveness bonbori has is emphasized.
Please enjoy the collaboration of kingyo lighted with an abstracted air and the slowly changing light.
Kingyo gracefully swims in this 6 cylinder aquarium tank.
On the side, triangle lens is embedded and when you look through the lens, geometric pattern appears.
It is kaleidoscope drawn by kingyo.
When kingyo swims in the aquarium lighted up in colorful illumination, each kingyo’s original pattern and the movement of the back fin look as though shining kaleidoscope view, spreading out the world of the eternal beauty.
Show of Kingyo
Kingyo was originally looked at from above.
In the present, the main stream of aquarium tank is to be observed from the side but at kingyo fair, it is still judged by looking from above.
Because the circle shaped tank does not have air bubbles nor waves on water surface, it is most suitable for appreciation.
The water overflows evenly from the top to the side so you feel as though you are looking at kingyo which is in the scoop of water mass.
From the goldfish swimming inside and the graphic made from the lace on the side,
it creates the complex shadow that continuously changes which brings out the new attractiveness of the goldfish.
Motif being “andon” whichis the traditional Japanese light, it can be said this work is the compilation of the thought, lighting by aquarium.
* There will be many other artworks displayed.
Distribution of 2017 has ended
Photo of “Kyo-mai (Kyoto dance)” performance by Katsutomo
Photo of “Dance of Oiran” performance by Rantaro KOJYO
On our special Stage of Suigi stage, song and dance performances will unfold in vibrant fashion,
conjuring vivid images of the culture of Japan’s old capital of Kyoto,
where feasts were enjoyed night after night.
Stage of Suigi will host “ART AQUARIUM: World of Japanese Art”,
which blends performances grounded in tradition with a space created through skillful use of the latest in
production technology, including light, music, and video.
Traditional performance art becomes a stunning artistic experience unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Katsutomo previously served as a maiko (apprentice geisha) at Odamoto,
a tea house with a traditional facade from the Edo period and
a history spanning more than a century in Gion-Koubu (one of Kyoto’s five geisha districts).
Now, she has advanced to the status of geisha.
Along with her maiko Shino, she will present a performance of Kyo-mai (Kyoto dance).
Please join us for an elegant evening of Kyoto culture.
Geiko & Maiko
The Geisha who train from the ages of 15 to around 20 in the five geisha districts of Kyoto, Pontocho, Kamishichiken, Miyagawacho, Gion-Koubu, and Gion-Higashi, are called Maiko.
Then, after a period of study, when they come of age as women of refinement who are accomplished in both the arts and culture, they come to be called Geiko, a title that signifies respect.
Kyo-mai (Kyoto dance)
One of the schools of traditional Japanese dance, Kyo-mai (Kyoto dance) is classified as a form of Kamigata-mai (traditional dance from the Kansai region), and is named for having originated and evolved in Kyoto.
It is distinguished by the use of physical techniques from the waist up to represent emotions.
Instead, photo opportunities with Maiko and Geiko performers will be offered to visitors at the “Old Chef’s Quarters” area.
This is an area not normally accessible to visitors of the Nijo-jo Castle.
* At 8:00 pm and 8:50 pm (twice per night), only the first 50 visitors in line will have the opportunity to take photos.
* You may take photos with your own cameras, video recording is prohibited.
Popular geisha from Odamoto, a tea house with a history of over 100 years and a facade from the Edo period (1603–1868) located in Gion-Koubu, one of Kyoto's five geisha districts.
In September 2015, she advanced in status from Maiko to Geiko.
She has earned rave reviews for her performances at ‘GEIKO & MAIKO NIGHT’ at “ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2017 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium”, which is currently underway in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.
Dance of the 24 Seasons and 72 Climates
Dance of Oiran
This is a chance to enjoy a dance performance from Rantaro KOJYO, star of the Gekidan Kojyo theater troupe.
His dancing conjures vivid images of the culture of Japan’s old capital of Kyoto,
where the people delighted in vibrant song and dance on a nightly basis.
He will be performing “Dance of the 24 Seasons and 72 Climates”,
which is inspired by the old lunisolar calendar and its representation of Japan’s uniquely fleeting seasons,
as well as “Dance of Oiran”,
which could be considered a stage version of ART AQUARIUM’s best-known piece, “Oiran”.
The kimono worn by Rantaro KOJYO are the ultimate examples of kimono.
They are based on the lunisolar calendar, which is also the theme of one of his dances.
They were designed by Hidetomo KIMURA, and made by traditional artisans from Kyoto.
Along with his captivating dance performances, Rantaro KOJYO will wear 10 kimono in sequence,
all emblazoned with seasons, flowers, and goldfish.
Each one represents one of the 10 seasons that will arrive during the performance period.
Dance of the 24 Seasons and 72 Climates
For five nights only, this dance will be accompanied by music that changes with the flow of the 24 seasons, and kimono that change with the 72 “climates” of the lunisolar calendar.
Music created on the theme of the 24 seasons will play.
Rantaro KOJYO will don kimono made with the very best of Kyoto craftsmanship, emblazoned with seasons, flowers, and goldfish that signify the 72 “climates”.
The world from which these concepts come will be expressed through his beautiful dancing.
Dance of Oiran
A special ART AQUARIUM CASTLE version of Gekidan Kojyo’s “Oiran Dochu” (“Procession of the Courtesans”).
This dance will showcase the full extent of Rantaro KOJYO’s distinctive, dynamic dancing, which overflows with a beautiful yet forceful sense of humanity, capturing the imagination of the audience.
Second-eldest of four brothers who are members of the popular theater troupe Gekidan Kojyo.
Born April 11th, 1995 in Iizuka, Fukuoka.
Plays both leading roles (male roles) and female roles in traditional theater and dance.
Son of troupe leader Shingo Kojyo. Younger brother of second-in-command Kantaro Kojyo. Older brother of Tsukitaro and Torataro.
In addition to serving as the troupe’s star actor, also uses his natural talent to oversee the troupe’s sound and lighting.
At age 14, met Masahiro Nitta, second-generation member of the folk music group Nittaryu.
Since then, looking up to Nitta as a mentor, he has also been passionately involved in Tsugaru shamisen music.
For a performance marking his 19th birthday, wrote, directed, and acted in “Shun-Ka-Shu-To: Sakura no ki no shita de”.
Following great reviews, gave a repeat performance at the Asakusa Mokuban Theater.
Noh performers: Yasuchika Urata (Left), Takahiko Fukano (Right)
“Takayama no Ohayashi”
At the “Stage of Suigi”, we will showcase “Kocho”,
a program from the intangible cultural heritage asset Nohgaku brought to us by the KYOTO KANZEKAI,
as well as the Gion Festival inactive parade float accompaniment,
“Takayama no Ohayashi”, through the Takayama Preservation Society.
Enjoy one special night where you can appreciate traditional dances and tones.
Takayama, from Koromonotanacho near Nijo-jo Castle, is one of the yamahoko festival floats with an exceptionally long history in Kyoto and the Gion Festival. It has its origins in the time before the Onin War.
The float had participated in the Gion Festival’s parades, but it has been inactive since it was damaged by heavy rain in the late Edo period (1826, according to records).
In recent years, a movement by the Takayama Preservation Society to reconstruct Takayama has been growing in strength.
In 2014, the float’s accompanying band was reunited, and this year, it was announced that for the first time, the bells used by the musicians were newly made.
Today, the concept of four seasons is common.
However, at one time in Japan, spring, summer, winter, and fall were divided into 24 seasons
(including the “first day of spring” period, the “rain water” period, and the “first day of summer” period).
These 24 seasons were further divided by three (once every five days).
These smaller divisions were called the “72 climates”, reflecting the popular sense of how the seasons changed.
Alongside the many ART AQUARIUM creations that are on display in the “Ninomaru Palace Garden”,
we have also created the “Tea Ceremony Space” “Sake Bar”.
This elegant space offers the opportunity to enjoy creations from Kyoto’s venerable confectionery shops along
with Kyoto tea and other beverages such as beer and local sake from the city,
all while viewing works of art, in the first such event ever held at Nijo-jo Castle.
At the “Tea Ceremony Space”, you can savor a one-of-a-kind Tea Ceremony Tray,
created for this exhibition in collaboration with three classic Kyoto brands.
This is a chance to enjoy fresh sweets from “OIMATSU”, dried sweets from “KAMESUEHIRO”,
and Uji matcha with gold flakes “KIN-UN” and ASATSUYU HOUJICHA from “FUKUJUEN” (est. 1790).
It all happens in the “Tea Ceremony Space”, right here at the venue.
Meanwhile, in the “garden in front of the Old Chef’s Quarters”, a space vibrantly decorated with paper lanterns,
you will also find the “Night Festival Bar”.
Offerings here include local sake and pickled vegetables from Kyoto, as well as Kyoto-style Oden (a Japanese winter stew).
Local sake is provided by five famous Kyoto breweries:
“Saito Sake Brewing”, “Sasaki Sake Brewing”, “Tanzan Sake Brewing”, “Masuda Tokubee Shoten”, and “Mukai Sake Brewing”.
Our nightly “BREWERY NIGHT” events will feature sake from a different brewery every night.
As you enjoy this stylish night banquet, please be sure to try some fresh, delicious,
seasonal Kyoto-style pickled vegetables from “DAIYASU”,
along with the gentle, body- and soul-warming flavor of Kyoto-style Oden.
* Tea Ceremony Trays are sold in the venue’s “Tea Ceremony Space”, which you can access after entering the venue.
Please be aware that quantities are limited, and sellouts may occur.
The Tea Ceremony Tray will see the offerings from “KAMESUEHIRO” change along with the “24 seasons”
that will be arriving during the exhibition, every 15 days.
The offerings from “OIMATSU” will change every 5 days, in time with the “72 climates”.
The Uji matcha with gold flakes and ASATSUYU HOUJICHA from “FUKUJUEN” will be available throughout the event period.
For every “BREWERY NIGHT”, we will feature a different brewery,
and a top branded sake from that brewery will be available for sale.
We offer local sake from other breweries, as well.
We recommend taking this opportunity to taste and compare these famed local sake from Kyoto.
On the first day, middle day, and final day of the “BREWERY NIGHT” event,
you will be able to enjoy local sake from all of the participating breweries.
We have concluded the exhibition in Nijo-Jo Castle, Kyoto
|Period||｜||October 25, 2017 (wed) – December 11 (mon) / Open throughout the period
* The exhibit will continue even if it rains, but we may suspend operations in the event that a storm warning is
|Opening Hours||｜||5:00 PM – 10:00 PM (last admission 9:30 PM)
* Please note that for the first day only, 10/25 (wed),
and taking video.
* Because of the display method of the artworks, the venue is dark inside.
* Displayed artworks and fish might change without notice.
* At the time of congestion, there will be access control. Thank you for your understanding.
(Ninomaru Palace Garden, garden in front of the Old Chef’s Quarters, Old Chef’s Quarters)
Please click here
(jump to Nijo-jo Castle Official site)
* Take the Tozai Line Subway or City Bus to “Nijojo-mae” station.
at the door
|｜||General: 1,500yen (13 years old and older)
Child: 1,000yen (12 years old and younger, 4 years old and older)
3 years old and younger is free of charge
* Please note that a part of the exhibit is difficult to access by wheelchair, so you may be unable to see
|Organizer||｜||Kyoto City, ART AQUARIUM CASTLE Committee|
|Planning & Produce||｜||Aquarium Creator’s Office|
|Produce||｜||Hidetomo KIMURA (ART AQUARIUM Artist)|
|Support||｜||World Cultural Heritage Community Partnerships Committee, Rekishi Kaido Promotional Council,
Sailors for the Sea
|Participation||｜||Kimono Artisan Kyoto, Kyo-machiya “IKI”, Association of Kyoto Kimono Fashion, Gion Naito, Oimatsu,
Kamesuehiro, Daiyasu, Shoyeido Incense Co., Fukujuen, Saito Sake Brewing Co., Ltd, Sasakisyuzo,
Tanzan Sake Brewing Corporation, Masuda Tokubee Shoten Co., Ltd., Mukaisyuzo Inc, EFFECT MEIJI Corp.,
Kamihata Fish Industries Ltd., Kyorin Co., Ltd., BICOM Corporation, Yatomi Kingyo Fisherman's Association
|Contact||｜||Hello Dial: 050-5542-8600
[Open: September 1 (fri) – December 12 (tue) 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM]
Contact by email from here
We ended ticket sales as of 12/11 (mon), since the exhibit is over