Art Aquarium Castle- Beautiful Goldfish Dancing In Nijojo Castle, Kyoto!

Old art tradition meets the most advanced technology! Art Aquarium Castle exhibition shows over 400 years of Japanese traditional art with the latest technology in Nijojo Castle in Kyoto.

Art Aquarium Castle...What Is It??

Nijojo Castle is one of the most famous and popular sightseeing sites to tourists in Kyoto.
Art Aquarium Castle exhibition is held in the former Emperor’s residence Nijojo in autumn. This event is beautiful mixture of Japanese traditional art and the most advanced technology such as LED lights and projection mapping etc.

2015 is the second annual of the event. Art Aquarium Castle has held from the end of October to the end of December- I visited on 5 November 2015.
Art Aquarium has traveled in Japan from north to south, but the one in Kyoto is the biggest.

Rimparium...Wait, What Is It?

This is called Rimparium. Rimpa is one of the drawing techniques in Japanese traditional artwork, and “-rium” comes from a word “aquarium,” ovbiously. The event celebrates Rimpa’s 400th anniversary. This Rimparium and other artwork in the event show Rimpa’s unique techniques.

Pretty goldfish...

The picture behind the tank is called Fujin Raijin-zu (the folding screens of Wind God and Thunder God). Rimpa technique was created by Kohetsu Honami and Sohtatsu Tawaraya, and was consolidated by Kohrin Ogata and Kenzan Ogata. Fujin Raijin-zu is originally one of Tawaraya’s work, but Kohrin Ogata replicated and is more famous in the world.


The transparent polyhedron makes fantastic prism effect… “Giyaman” is an old word which was used in Edo period for shiny object such as diamond, glass, etc.

Reflectrium F8

I feel like being sucked into the wonderland...


The tank structure does not have any vertical surface.

Reflectrium F5

Byoburium II

Byobu is folding screens in Japanese. Screen-like tanks have colourful goldfish...

The screens adopt projection mapping technique which gives different look in every minute or so...gorgeous and fantastical!
Like what the official website says, ancient Japan devided seasons into 24 divisions, and 24 divisions were farther devided into 72; 5 days each in three sections and dividing a year to 72 seasons. It was very effective to feel changing seasons throughout a year.

The projection mapping used in the Byoburium makes beautiful changes constantly.

Kagyoryoran Monyozu No Ma

Kagyoryoran means profuse amount of flowers and fish. As the name suggests, there are millions of flowers are bloomed on Kimonos which collaborates beautifully with fish.

Beautiful Kimonos...


Bonbori is a paper lantern that was used in ancient Japan. Fish tanks are used to resemble Bonbori.

Of course fish is swimming in Bonboris.

Oh-oku (Goten Special Ver.)

Oh-oku was a harem in Edo Castle. This artwork was designed to signify the harem.

Fantastical and yet delicate…!

Millions of goldfish were in the tanks.

Oh-oku is the main/biggest part in Art Aquarium Castle.

Beautiful piles of goldfish...different kinds and different sizes…
I’m not sure but I see Japanese beauty in goldfish...

It seemed like goldfish was dancing in the tanks that makes the art even more beautiful and fantastical!

What do you think of this breakthrough art exhibision?

During the exhibision, you can go into Nijojo Castle at night and enter areas which normally does not open to public. Once you are in, you will see marvelous and fantastic world of Japanese traditional art with the most advanced technology.

Of course you will enjoy coloured leaves in autumn, but you will definitely enjoy the experience of the magic of the artwork in Nijojo Castle!

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Kyoto is the best for me, I believe Kyoto has all things of this world. I live in Kyoto, so I'll introduce a number of local information like shrines, temples, Teien(Japanese traditional gardens), Kouyou(autumn leaves), beautiful scenery of four seasons and Kyoto gourmet and so on...