The exhibit “Edo Sakura Renaissance & Banquet” by art aquarium producer Hidetomo Kimura has opened at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall. Annual summer events produced by Kimura such as the “Art Aquarium- Goldfish Series” and “Sky Aquarium” have attracted over 2.5 million visitors to date. This is the first time for an event to be held in spring. Without the use of any real cherry blossoms, the exhibit expresses the beauty of the transient flowers and proposes a new style of enjoying the season.
The story-like exhibit depicts a person of influence receiving an invitation to the house of a kabukimono (eccentric person) to view the cherry blossoms. The invited person visits the house half in doubt and afraid that it might be too early to see cherry blossoms as it was only the beginning of March.
The first eye-catching exhibit shows kimonos adorned with cherry blossoms growing in Kyo Maruyama Park, Gion Shirakawa, Kiyomizudera Temple and more. With the kimonos, Kimura depicts a boulevard of flowers. At the back, three kimono pieces from the Edo period are on display. At the time, people showed more appreciation for Japanese apricot flowers, and it was rare for cherry blossoms to be used as decorations on kimono.
Falling cherry blossom petals are introduced in the corner named “Edo Sakura Fubuki.” Pink petals made with Edo Kiriko (faceted glasses) sparkle, and the image of a cherry blossom tree is projected onto the background made of traditional Japanese paper. The image of the tree rotates in circular motion, and with each movement, more flower petals float into the air. The paper sliding doors set up on each side show the petals as if they were shadowgraphs.
At the space for “Banquets,” three rooms are set-up to enjoy the view of the flowers. Lobster and tuna dishes served on Iga, Kiyomizu and Kyo lacquer ware are available at the rooms adorned with the night view of cherry blossoms on the walls. To enjoy the rooms, reservation is required. Room charge costs 10,000 yen for 90 min and course meal costs 5,000 yen per person.
One of the focal points of the exhibit is the “Edo Sakurarium,” the latest work by Kimura. A transparent container in the shape of a flower petal is filled with water and set up in the center. Inside the container, goldfish are seen swimming in the water which is decorated with pearls and lame. The piece portrays cherry blossom petals falling gracefully from the trees. From the ceiling, an enormous chandelier made of approx. 1,000 Edo Kiriko glasses hangs. The color illuminating from the chandelier changes from white, pink and multi-color in the span of minutes. Kimura says that the white color brings out the fundamental beauty of Edo Kiriko.
A bar serving sake from Kyoto or Mie in Edo Kiriko glasses, the installation “Sakura Washi Gate” made with handmade Japanese paper in cherry blossoms pattern, “Isegata Sakura Room” for enjoying shadowgraphs of cherry blossoms, and “Itsukazakura Room” offering Japanese sweets and tea is also available. Live painting by artist Seibo Nishino allows visitors to enjoy real-time creation process of “Kidaishoran,” a large picture scroll depicting Nihonbashi’s future.
Edo Sakura Renaissance & Banquet
Venue: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall
Address: 5F Coredo Muromachi, 2-2-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Dates: Mar 7 to 30
Time: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
Admission: general - 1,000 yen
※ Reservation from the Seven-Eleven ticket machine is required for dining at the Banquet and Itsukazakura rooms.