Have you ever seen a frozen aquarium before? If you haven’t, you should definitely head to the north-eastern part of Miyagi in Tohoku. There, you can see an ice aquarium better known as “Kori no Suizokukan” featuring approximately 450 marine creatures frozen a few hours in blocks after being caught.
In the year 2002, Japan inaugurated the ice aquarium to give people a chance to fight the heat of summer while exploring different kinds of underwater specimens. The aquarium looks like an average farmer’s market owing to the 80 different types of species being presented on ice. However, they are not for sale. Species range from small schools of fish to crabs, squids and octopuses. There are also unusual objects being showcased such as bottles of sake, action figures or flowers embedded in rocks.
In order to preserve the specimens, a process called “flash-freezing” is used where objects are frozen in a few hours by incorporating cryogenic temperatures. The freezing temperature prevents damage to the specimen’s appearance. Thus, the fish may look alive despite having been dead for some time. It also maintains the freezing walls’ composure in order to maintain holding the collection.
Due to the very low internal temperature of the aquarium, a special suit or jacket is needed to keep visitors warm during the stay. Without this, people will immediately experience severe pain from the cold temperatures which can dip down to -20 degrees Celsius! The walk is very quick and chilly as only 5 minutes are allowed for each group’s visit.
However, due to the 2011 earthquake in Japan, the aquarium closed and hasn’t yet reopened. There is still no clear information when they will be running again. If you’re interested in visiting the place, it is best to stay updated by visiting their official site.