The extremely Instagrammable museum ushers in sakura season with gorgeous displays of real fish, illuminations, and cherry blossom decorations galore.

As we head into sakura (cherry blossom) season in the Tokyo area, Art Aquarium Museum Ginza has a new treat in store for spring visitors to Japan’s capital. Since previous iterations of the Art Aquarium Museum have been massive hits, its brand-new Extreme Sakura ~Sakura Special~ Exhibition (open from March 3 to April 25) is also set to blossom beyond all belief.

During this period, the museum is featuring its trademark displays of art installations with live goldfish, but this time with a special sakura twist. Different galleries are decked out in cherry blossom decorations, including everything from sakura pathways in full bloom to weeping cherries with overhanging branches. Soft pink lights and a delicate sakura fragrance lend an ethereal air to the experience as well. Let’s take a look at some of the main highlights of the exhibition.

A visit to the museum begins down a corridor reminiscent of the architecture of shrines and temples in Japan that’s blooming with yaezakura (double-layered cherry blossoms). Goldfish swim elegantly through tanks serving as colonnades on both sides of the path.

Moving on, cherry blossom-tinted crystals shimmer over circular tanks filled with pink petals.

Waterfall tanks with weeping cherry blossoms signal the birth of spring and new life.

In a room full of smaller square tanks full of blooming sakura decorations, visitors can gaze down at the goldfish from just above the surface of the water. The tanks are surrounded by a bed of sakura-colored marbles and Nishijin silk fabric obi grace the sides of the stands (Nishijin fabric is made by a famous textile and kimono maker in Kyoto).

One of the most stunning sights is a pathway about 10 meters (32.8 feet) long which showcases cherry blossoms in full bloom in a nighttime setting that are softly illuminated by paper lanterns. Fish bowls flank the sides as well.

Finally, master flower arranger Shogo Kariyazaki has contributed the show-stopping “Flowerium” arrangement for the museum in one of the last areas that visitors pass through.

As if the stunning sakura motif in the decorations alone wasn’t enough, the exhibition also takes things one step further by featuring not one, not two, but four types of goldfish with the kanji for sakura (桜) in their names. The cherry blossom-themed nomenclature refers to the characteristic scales of the fish which are marked by special patterns of red and white. The four types of fish are featured below.

Sakura Ryukin (桜琉金)

Sakura Azumanishiki (桜東錦)

Sakura Nishiki (桜錦)

Sakura Orora [Aurora] (桜オーロラ)

Lastly, the museum shop is also bursting with all kinds of sakura and goldfish-themed goods. The flower aroma being wafted throughout the museum displays is even available for purchase.

Admission is 2,300 yen (US$17) per person for web-purchased advance tickets and 2,400 yen per person for day-of tickets. Admission for up to two elementary school-aged children is included in the price of one adult ticket.

To end with a fun piece of trivia, the exhibition’s opening date, March 3, is also a little-known celebration called Goldfish Day in Japan. While there are many theories as to why this particular date was chosen, one popular story says that it’s because families have purchased goldfish since the Edo period (1603-1868) as decorations for the widely celebrated cultural festival Hina Matsuri (Girls’ Day or Doll Festival)–also celebrated annually on March 3. Regardless of its origins, we’d be happy to celebrate spring, girls, and goldfish like this any year.

Exhibition information
Art Aquarium Museum Ginza / アートアクアリウム美術館 GINZA
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 4-6-16 (inside of the Mitsukoshi Ginza department store, 8th floor / Entrance is on the 9th floor)
東京都中央区銀座 4-6-16 (銀座三越新館8階 / 入口は9階)
Open: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. every day

Source: Art Aquarium Museum Ginza
Images: PR Times
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