Japan Museums: Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum
Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum 人と防災未来センター
Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum (a part of the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution) in the HAT district of Kobe opened in 2002 and commemorates the events of the 1995 Kobe Earthquake.
The Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum is dedicated to the events and aftermath of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake (阪神・淡路大震災 Hanshin Awaji daishinsai), a 6.9 moment magnitude scale earthquake which occurred on January 15, 1995 at 5.46am.
Over 6,000 people lost their lives in the disaster with the majority of them in Kobe, the city closest to the epicenter, just to the north of Awaji Island. The Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake was Japan's worst earthquake of the 20th century after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.
Over 400,000 buildings were damaged and a number of railway bridges and elevated highways collapsed, providing the most graphic images of the destruction.
Visitors are advised to begin their tour of the museum on the 4th floor with a 7-minute video in the 1:17 Theater which recreates the sounds and images of the devastation of the quake.
After the video visitors walk through a corridor where reconstructions further demonstrate the damage done to buildings and physical structures. A further 15 minute video "Living With This City" tells the story of the events after the earthquake and the relief efforts to restore shelter, power, water and food supplies to the people of Kobe.
The third floor contains a wall panel with the testimony of survivors in particular young children who lived through the event. There are a number of dioramas and hands-on, interactive exhibits to inform and educated visitors about the event including video of survivors relating their own experiences.
The second floor exhibits are aimed mainly at school groups but are of interest to individual visitors. The second floor has exhibits and workshops on disaster management while the third floor of the East Building is concerned with the threat of wind and water disasters and their mitigation.
The East Building also shows a documentary on the Kobe Earthquake twice an hour. This building also has the museum's shop and restaurant.
Getting to Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum
Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution
1-5-2 Wakinohama Kaigandori
Hyogo Prefecture 651-0073
Tel: 078 286 5050
Hours: 9.30am-5.30pm; July-September 9.30am-6pm; Saturday & Sunday 9.30am-7pm;
Closed Monday unless Monday is a public holiday and December 31st & January 1
Admission: 600 yen for adults; university students 450 yen, high school students 300 yen, junior high school and below free.
Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum is located a ten-minute walk from Iwaya Station on the Hanshin Main Line or 15 minutes on foot from Nada Station on the JR Kobe Line. Both stations are less than 5 minutes by train from Sannomiya.
Kobe City bus #29 runs one or twice an hour to the museum from Sannomiya.
Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum is adjacent to the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.