With lanterns, cocktails and one thousand unusual goldfish, this is the coolest place to hang out in your yukata this summer.
Tokyo Skytree’s Sumida Aquarium will be unveiling the biggest display of goldfish in the country this summer, with a spectacular “Edo Goldfish Wonderland” event designed to recreate all the beauty and atmosphere of a summer festival from a bygone era. Featuring up to 23 different species of goldfish, which were popularised in Japan during the Edo period (1603 – 1868), visitors will also be able to enjoy paper balloons, lanterns, cocktails, and ice creams created with the celebrated marine animal in mind, as well as a number of different zones to keep visitors entertained as they stroll through the area.
At the centre of the event is the “Edo-rium” exhibit, which is shrouded in low light and features a large array of goldfish in 31 tanks of varying shapes and designs. Some of the interesting species include: the Choutengan (Celestial Eye), which have unusual pupils that jut out and face upwards; the Suihogan (Bubble Eye) which feature large, translucent bubble-like sacs on either side of their face; and the Ranchu (pictured below), which the Japanese refer to as the “King of goldfish”.
The event space will be filled with special “wa” (Japanese-style) lighting, provided by 150 goldfish-shaped paper lanterns, which have been carefully hand-crafted by Japanese artisans.
The magical atmosphere of the space is heightened by the addition of 500 Edo-style wind chimes, with their clear, ringing sound bringing a sense of summer to the scene.
The Edo-rium will also feature notes and signboards, which provide a background on the history of the goldfish in Japan, including its origins and the secrets behind the different breeds.
For visitors looking for some hands-on activities, there will be a special corner where children can design their very own unique T-shirts, using fish-patterned stamps for 500 yen (US$4.53).
Another workshop lets visitors create a goldfish-shaped paper balloon attached to a small handle. While this cute little fish don’t light up like the aforementioned paper lanterns, they makes for a cute accessory to carry with you as you walk through the exhibition space.
For those looking for a little refreshment, the on-site Penguin Cafe will be offering a Goldfish Cocktail, in alcoholic (550 yen) and non-alcoholic versions (500 yen), with both featuring a bright vermilion hue to match the aquarium fish.
The Penguin Cafe will also be serving a special Goldfish Soda, which comes in an adorable fish bowl for 750 yen. Containing red berries and a refreshing, sweet jelly, the drink is designed to be scooped out when eaten, and once it’s finished, the bowl can be taken home.
And for a cold sweet dessert, the cafe will also be selling a “Goldfish Soft-Serve Ice Cream”, which, thankfully, doesn’t contain any fish. Instead, it’s made from red grapes that create a goldfish-like hue when mixed with cream.
The Edo Goldfish Wonderland will be open from July 1 to September 30, with tickets costing 2,050 yen for adults; 1,500 yen for high school students; 1,000 yen for junior high and elementary school students; and 600 yen for children above the age of three.
Tokyo-to, Sumida-ku, Osiage 1-1-2, Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi 5-6F
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily
Source, Images: Sumida Aquarium