IWAKI, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – A Hawaiian-style spa leisure complex in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, known for its team of hula dancers, fully reopened Wednesday, 11 months after the March disaster damaged the facility.
Spa Resort Hawaiians has renovated its key indoor dome facility, where the Hula Girls’ stage and a big swimming pool are located, after installing three pillars to shore up the dome ceiling.
Now with six rookie dancers who joined the troupe a month after the devastating earthquake, a total of 34 dancers of the hula team performed before some 1,500 people, including local children who were invited to the day’s reopening event, on a stage 1.34 times bigger than the original with white artificial grass to resemble a sandy beach.
The resort complex, comprising a spa and pool theme park, restaurants and hotels, briefly offered shelter to people from the nearby town of Hirono who were obliged to evacuate their homes due to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. It partially reopened in October.
A long line of people waited before the facility opened its doors.
At the front of the line was Kazuyuki Komatsuzaki, 46, from Ibaraki Prefecture.
“I started to wait at 9 o’clock last night. I came here to say thank you to the Hula Girls who toured the nation and made a lot people smile (following the disaster),” he said.
The dancers, featured in the 2006 movie “Hula Girls,” performed at more than 100 locations, including shelters for quake evacuees and stages across the country.