Kori no Suizokukan – Kesennuma, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Kori no Suizokukan

450 dead and frozen fish, proudly on display in Japan. 


In a lot of ways, Kori no Suizokukan resembles an average farmer’s market.

Locally caught fish of 80 different species are presented on ice for the patron’s browsing pleasure. As with any local fish market showcasing hundreds of dead fish, the scene straddles a thin line between intriguing and pretty gross. Depending on your interests, Kori no Suizokukan crosses this line in either direction, as visitors realize the fish are not for sale, but on display as part of a frozen aquarium.

Since 2002, Kori no Suizokukan has been flash-freezing underwater specimens to create a live diorama of fish. Flash freezing subjects specimens to cryogenic freezing temperatures and as such does not damage the appearance of the fish. In this way, the aquarium is able to maintain the lively looks of its dead fish and line the freezing walls of its collection.

In total, there are 450 specimens in the frozen aquarium ranging from small schools of fish to octopuses. Every specimen was locally caught and treated. Along with fish, a few randomly iced objects like bottles and even flowers are included in the collection as well. To maintain the blocks of ice that store the collection, the internal temperature of the aquarium is -2 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Since the aquarium serves its visitors throughout the year, jackets are available for a quick and chilly walk through the museum.

As of July of 2014, an updated message on the official website of the Ice Aquarium indicates that it has still not reopened following the earthquake of 2011. It is unclear when (or whether) they expect to be back up and running.

From Around the Web