Nature Aquarium

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There is an aquascape called the Nature Aquarium.
It is something that creates a natural landscape in an aquarium.

A special tank for this nature aquarium is necessary.
The person who created the Nature Aquarium tank and this genre is Takashi Amano.

He used to be a professional bicycle racing athlete, and after his retirement, he wondered if he could make nature aquarium out of the creatures living in puddles in the rice paddies he had seen as a child, or the water in the river, through repeated trial and error. Finally he made tank and his company and this genre.

Mr.Takashi Amano

As a photographer, he used the world’s largest 8×20 film to photograph
the Amazon, Borneo, Sado Island, and the stone garden at Ryoanji.
It was so amazing that standing in front of the print,
I felt like my eyesight was improving.

A view of the scene during filming at 8×20camera.
Mr. Amano at the Niigata headquarters. This is also a large camera.
The focus is being checked by a loupe.

At the 2008 G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit,
Amano’s work was displayed at the gathering of world leaders.

2008 Hokkaido Toyako Summit.

Ms. Amano was also a collector of antique goldfish bowls.

Mr. Amano in the middle of a photo shoot in the Amazon. Cool!

Mr. Amano sadly passed away in 2015, but his spirit is still carried
on by aquarium lovers around the world.
His work remains in his home and head office gallery in Niigata,
but the public can easily see his work at the Sumida Aquarium,
located underneath the Tokyo Sky Tree.

7m stone set : Grasslands and Stonework / Takashi Amano
4m driftwood : Composition of a virgin forest / Takashi Amano
3m water lily : Water Lily Waterside / Takashi Amano
180cm stone set : a tropical paradise/ Takashi Amano

There are four tanks in addition to a huge 7-meter long tank.
Currently, the original work has four tanks left.
One of them, after eight years, for maintenance reasons,
Yusuke Homma, who was always accompanying Mr. Amano
to the shoot, was since the original Amano’s original has been
tweaked to become a new work.

180cm Driftwood : Fountain of Paradise / Yusuke Honma

Archived tanks in 8K are very beautiful, but after all,
it’s best to see the real thing with the naked eye.
When you go to Tokyo Sky Tree, go to Sumida Aquarium!

It is available in 8K on Vimeo, and in HD on Youtube.

7m stone set : Grasslands and Stonework / Takashi Amano
( W710xD110XH210cm March 13, 2012 )
Thanks to Sumida Aquarium, AquaDesignAmano youtube
4m Driftwood : Composition of the virgin forest /TakashiAmano (W414×D164×H170cm,March 13, 2012)
Thanks to Sumida Aquarium, AquaDesignAmano YouTube
180cm Stone set : A tropical paradise / Takashi Amano
( W180×D120×H60cmJuly 16, 2013 )
The aquarium was inspired by a large water tank at Amano’s home in Niigata,
and was built for the Sumida Aquarium to represent a virgin forest.
thanks to Sumida aquarium, AquaDesignAmano. Youtube
3m Water lily: Water lily at the water’s edge / Takashi Amano
( W300×D120×H115cm July17,2013 )
This layout was inspired by the image of water lilies diving into a tropical pond that adorns the surface of the water.
Vivid tropical fishes add color to the underwater landscape, representing a tropical atmosphere. thanks to Sumida aquarium, AquaDesignAmano Youtube
180cm Driftwood : Fountain of Paradise / Yusuke Homma
( W180×D120×H60cm, March 6, 2020 )
Honma Yusuke renewed amano’s works.
Yusuke Homma, who has accompanied the photographer on his large-format camera for many years. thanks to Sumida aquarium, AquaDesignAmano Youtube

At the time of production, Mr. Takashi Amano commented

In order to create an aquarium that will captivate anyone who steps into this space,we put more effort into the layout configuration than ever before, and repeated simulations.
The key to layout is always in the field and how efficiently it can be done, because a layout that is built quickly has momentum.
This is because there will be an exquisite feeling that can only come from intuition.The better prepared you are beforehand, the better you’ll be able to do the things you were expecting to do in the show.
The originality that goes beyond is brought out of its own room.
The 4-meter tank uses driftwood from the Amazon to create a dynamic jungle view the dense and delicate underwater world.
The 7-meter tank uses mountain stones to create a panoramic view of the magnificent meadow and mountain landscape expressed in the waterscape.
A full-scale nature and a water scene like a boxed garden, which is a projection of the landscape.
It seems to represent a completely different worldview.
The two layouts are in perfect harmony in the same space.

he first thing that catches the eye of visitors is not the fish, but the greenery of the aquatic plants that grow in the water.
It is not an aquarium to show the fish, but an aquarium to show the environment in which the fish live.
Most people who visit an aquarium do not know what a Nature Aquarium is. That’s why they just accept what they feel from this world and I want you to take home a free thought.
The best nature aquarium in the world is not completed by just creating it.
It is a matter of leaving something indelible in the minds of those who see it. When this is achieved, the Nature Aquarium will have the highest value in the world. (Mr.Takashi Amano)

Maintenance will be performed throughout the night,
from after closing in the evening until before the opening of the museum.

Members of Aqua Design Amano to manage nature aquarium.

(For aquarium management)
For us, there were many unknown aspects of this large aquarium complex, and it was a continuous process of trial and error, but now, I believe that we were able to create the aquascape that Amano had envisioned. In particular, I believe that Sumida Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world with a full array of beautiful glossy stigmas (a carpet of aquatic plants growing on the bottom) in tanks more than one meter deep, so I would like to draw your attention to it. (Comments from ADA members)

Grosso stigma (carpeted water plants on the bottom)

We’ve been doing maintenance almost without a break for nearly nine years now. But for us, even the tanks we see every day,
for our guests, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this waterscape. When we think about it, we can’t let up for a day.
We work hard every day to make it the best it can be that day.

So, it’s a lot of work and you can see the beautiful aquatic scenery in the aquarium. Come and see the real thing!

I would like to thank Mr. Kusano of Sumida Aquarium, the members of Aqua Design Amano, and Mr. Masaki Hani for preparing the RED 8K for the shooting. It was a valuable experience.

Photography, Editing, Text by Hiroyuki Nakano

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