Goldfish Festival Takes Over Tokyo This July

Sanuki Takamatsu Festival, Kagawa

Tokyo’s Nihonbashi area will be flooded with goldfish galore, from a goldfish-themed gourmet walk to a goldfish scooping competition and a night party among aquarium fish tanks!

In Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868), in the days before the blissful arrival of air conditioning and electric fans, the residents of Tokyo had their own tried and tested ways of dealing with the hot summer weather. Traditionally, people would don lightweight yukata cotton robes and found that viewing images of goldfish had the mysterious effect of providing psychological relief from the summer heat. 
 
Try it for yourself at Eco Edo Nihonbashi, a summer festival themed on the cooling image of goldfish, which aims to replicate this marvellous placebo effect as it takes over the streets of downtown Tokyo from early July until late September. Festival-goers are invited to try for themselves some of the tactics used to keep cool by Tokyoites of yore as they scoop goldfish, dance among the fish at a night-time aquarium party, and munch on refreshing goldfish-themed summer treats like these amazingly lifelike goldfish lollipops!

Eco Edo Goldfish Lollipop

Eco Edo will showcase the curious cooling properties of goldfish to the full, with an array of goldfish-themed attractions laid on all over Nihonbashi. All these forms of Edo-period wisdom can be enjoyed in a traditional Japanese festival atmosphere, with the surrounding streets decked out with the festival’s trademark enormous goldfish lanterns.

Goldfish Sweets & Bar Walk

New to this year’s festival, enjoy traditional Edo hospitality on a gourmet stroll through Nihonbashi and Ningyocho districts, where many bars, cafes and restaurants will be plying guests with goldfish-themed sweet treats and bar menus as well as locally-produced Japanese sake. Dishes on offer include colourful jelly in glass dishes designed to resemble goldfish in a goldfish bowl, and chilled oden (fish and vegetable hotpot) garnished with tiny carrot goldfish. Visitors can also claim special gifts in each area they visit and collect stamps to enter a lottery to win luxury prizes. 
 
As part of the food and hospitality event, the Mandarin Oriental is also tempting festival-goers with several special offers:

Goldfish Bowl Desserts

Slurp on exquisite layered jelly desserts made to resemble goldfish swimming in a goldfish bowl - they’re almost too beautiful to eat!
Where? Ground floor, the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
When? 7:30-20:00 (weekdays), 9:00-19:00 (weekends and public holidays) from 7th July to 24th September

 

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo Sweets

Goldfish-themed Afternoon Tea

Indulge in a refreshing menu including playful variations on a traditional afternoon tea, including sun-kissed summer vegetable pastries and savory items and miniature grapefruit jelly “aquariums”.
When? 12:00-17:30 from 7th July to 31st August 
Where? Oriental Lounge, 38th floor, the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

Nihonbashi Experience Hotel Plan

Enjoy the full Nihonbashi festival experience for two people, with a one-night stay in a deluxe room including breakfast and a choice of cultural experiences such as yukata rental, washi paper-making, flower arranging, and Edo kiriko glass engraving. Prices from 76,000 yen (£520, excluding taxes and service charge).

 

Art Aquarium 2017

Take an Alice-in-Wonderland-style journey into an amazing aquatic world at this underwater art exhibition, in which thousands of goldfish are displayed in aquariums decorated with coloured lighting, projection mapping, music and even smells. Join the Tokyo trendsetters as you sip cocktails and dance among the fish-filled sculptures of the submarine scenery, which has been designed to make visitors feel as if they have got pleasantly lost in the Hanamachi (geisha district) of the Edo period. The theme this year is the “Palace of the Dragon King” - dare you enter? For more details see the official website.
Where? Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall (fifth floor of Coredo Muromachi 1 shopping centre; entrance on fourth floor)

Eco Edo Art Aquarium

Giant Goldfish Lanterns

Stroll down a cool and stylish festival street decorated with strings of traditional paper lanterns decorated with goldfish patterns - the largest are nearly 2 metres tall and 1.5 metres wide!
Where? Naka-dori Street (between Coredo Muromachi 1 and Coredo Muromachi 2 shopping centres)

Goldfish Goods

Bag yourself some cute goldfish stationery and paper fans, on sale at shops in the festival area.
Where? Shops around Nihonbashi Information Center (Coredo Muromachi 1 shopping centre) 

There will also be plenty of other goldfish-themed events during the festival period, such as the Nihonbashi Goldfish Scooping Grand Prix, which decides Japan's best goldfish scooper, and evening cruises of Tokyo Bay on sightseeing boats adorned with - you guessed it - yet more colourful goldfish decorations and lanterns.
 
This year’s festival is being held under the official title of “Eco Edo Nihonbashi 2017: Enjoy “Cool Edo” with All Five Senses” and is sponsored by the Eco Edo Nihonbashi Executive Committee and Meikyo Nihonbashi Hozonkai ("The Famed Nihonbashi Bridge Preservation Society").
 
For more information, contact Nihonbashi Information Center TEL: 03-3242-2334 (English information 10:00am - 7:00pm) or visit Eco Edo festival's website.

 
When? 10:00-19:00 7th July - 24th September, 2017
Where? Various venues in the Nihonbashi district in Tokyo

To stay up to date with all the latest happenings in Japan follow us on Facebook or Twitter.