The local elementary school building is all that remains of Arahama, a small neighborhood that once sat on the very edge of Japan’s northeastern coast.

In the minutes that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the school’s students, teachers and other local residents gathered on the roof, watching helplessly as the district of roughly 800 households disappeared, washed away by giant waves of black water.

Standing on the outskirts of Sendai, Arahama Elementary School is now a museum. Looking out from the building’s roof today, it’s hard to imagine there was ever a neighborhood there at all.