A barrage of online criticism prompted the an amusement park in Kitakyushu to close a skating rink Sunday where about 5,000 dead fish had been frozen into the ice — a design the operator originally believed would lure more skaters to visit.

Instead, the Space World theme park's "Aquarium of Ice" event was hit by a deluge of criticism on social media, with some people alleging animal abuse.

Many described the corpse-filled rink as "weird," "disgusting" and "cruel," prompting operator Space World Inc. to close the facility and apologize on its website.

"We deeply apologize to the people who felt uncomfortable over the Aquarium of Ice event. In accordance, we have stopped the event from today," the statement read.

One of the photos apparently posted on the company's official Facebook page showed dozens of red fish half-buried in the rink, their eyes and mouths wide open and exposed above the surface.

Another photo posted on the firm's Twitter account showed a school of hundreds of black fish frozen in the ice, with some placed as if they were swimming around a pillar in the rink.

According to the Asahi Shimbun daily, Space World went shopping for small dead fish at a wholesale market and buried them in the ice. The larger fish shown in the internet images, including whale sharks, were merely photos that it placed in the ice, the newspaper reported.

A spokesperson for the Space World was not immediately available for comment Sunday.