Tsunami-destroyed Iwate tunnel aquarium on track for April reopening


Moguranpia, a tsunami-hit aquarium in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture, is getting ready to reopen in April.

The facility, which was built inside an oil storage base tunnel in the coastal area of Kuji, opened in 1994 as the nation’s first underground aquarium. However, the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the whole facility, killing most of the sea animals displayed there.

The city rebuilt the facility using restoration funds from the central government, and plans to display some 3,000 sea animals representing 200 species, including a popular green turtle that survived the tsunami and is currently kept at an aquarium in Aomori Prefecture, city officials said.

They said they are also planning to offer diving performances by ama divers in a large water tank.

“We hope all the people around the nation who supported us will come and visit the aquarium,” said Soichiro Nakano, a Kuji municipal government official in charge of tourism. “We are planning to display local fish species of the Sanriku region in the new tank.”

The city has been running a small aquarium in a building near JR Kuji Station to display fish provided by other aquariums.

The admission fee will remain unchanged at pre-disaster levels of ¥700 for adults and ¥300 for children.