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Enjoy summer to the fullest in Nihonbashi! July 8 marked the kickoff of ECO EDO Nihonbashi 2016, an opportunity to experience omotenashi and travel back to a time when Tokyo and nature were intertwined.

To mark the first full week of the event, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. invited seven families to explore the COREDO Muromachi Nihonbashi area and its rich connection to Japanese culture.

To begin the tour, guests selected yukata—the light cotton kimono worn during hot months—and learned how to dress for the traditional summer. This change of clothing instantly swept them away to a cooler place, and set the stage for their visit to the watery world of ART AQUARIUM.

An immersive spectacle of light and sound, ART AQUARIUM brings the Japanese love of kingyo (goldfish) to life. In days of old, Japanese believed that simply viewing goldfish had a cooling effect on the body. This was a way to ease the burden of the summer heat.

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“I thought it was beautiful and that it was very amazing how they could put fish into beautiful tanks and create art out of it,” said one guest, aged 10.

Next, guests visited the Fukutoku Shrine, which dates back to the Jogan Era (859–876) and was rebuilt in 2014 by Mitsui Fudosan as part of the Nihonbashi Revitalization Plan.

The tour then continued at the HAKUZA NIHONBASHI shop, where guests learned about gold leaf, and at Ninben, where children tried their hand at shaving dried bonito to make katsuobushi flakes, the basis of many Japanese soups.

Was it difficult to shave the wood-like dried bonito, also called skipjack tuna? “Well, not really,” said an eight-year-old guest, “but I think children in the olden times pressed harder.”

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The resulting flakes were taste-tested by everyone, to great acclaim: “I think it’s a very nice flavor—a very refined one.”

After the traditional culinary adventure, guests traded the soothing yukata for their everyday clothes and returned to the world of modern Tokyo. “It was an absolutely amazing exhibition,” proclaimed one adult guest.

If you would like to dive into tradition this summer, put on your yukata and get set for the refreshing experience of ECO EDO Nihonbashi 2016, which will be running through September 25.

Those wearing yukata or showing a ticket stub from ART AQUARIUM can receive special bonuses, such as free drinks, summer gifts, and more. To find participating stores, all you do is follow the relaxing sound of the goldfish wind chimes.

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The Nihonbashi Summer Experience Package includes yukata, goldfish-themed treats, admission to ART AQUARIUM, and a gourmet tour of 10 shops in the COREDO Muromachi complex. The experience starts at 10 a.m. and is available on Saturdays and Sundays from July 23 to August 28. Cost is ¥10,800 per person aged 13 and up, ¥8,100 for children 4–12, and is free for children three and under.

For more details about the tour, visit facebook.com/nihonbashi.information or
www.nihonbashi-info.jp/omotenashi
For more about ART AQUARIUM, visit www.artaquarium.jp/en