Former School Building in Japan Thriving as Aquarium

Society Culture

Muroto, Kochi Pref., Nov. 3 (Jiji Press)--A former elementary school building in a sparsely populated area in western Japan is thriving as an aquarium, with its cumulative visitors topping 100,000 as of Tuesday, about six months after its opening.

Closed as a schoolhouse 12 years ago, the three-story building in the Pacific Ocean city of Muroto, Kochi Prefecture, was transformed into an aquarium with investment totaling some 500 million yen from the city government and others.

The city government had projected the annual number of visitors at some 40,000 for the aquarium, located in the country's fifth least populated city, with just 13,800 people.

The aquarium is now drawing attention from across the country as a successful example of utilizing a school that was once abolished due to depopulation, as a way to revive communities.

At the top of the staircase after the reception desk, the hallway is lined with glass display tanks housing fish such as sea bream and moray eel. Fish display tanks are also installed at former classrooms.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press