As Eita Sato and Aoi Hoshi walked toward their junior high school graduation ceremony, their footsteps echoed in polished halls once crowded and noisy with students.

The two were the only graduates of Yumoto Junior High — in a mountainous part of northern Japan — and the last. The 76-year-old school closed its doors for good when the school year ended on March 31.

"We heard rumors about the school closure in our second year, but I didn't imagine it would actually happen. I was shocked," said Sato, who is 15, Hoshi is the same age.