Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park
Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park and Nojima Fault Preservation Museum commemorates the epicenter of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995.
- Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park
- Active Fault Lab
- Access & Information
- Area Map
- Japan Museums
Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park & Nojima Fault Preservation Museum 北淡震災記念公園
Nojima Fault Preservation Museum in the Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park commemorating the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995
At 5:46 on the morning of January 17th, 1995, the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck.
The disaster is sometimes known as the Kobe Earthquake as Kobe was the site of most of the devastation and loss of life.
It is estimated that more than 6,000 people died and more than 400,000 buildings were destroyed. Not surprisingly Kobe also has an Earthquake Memorial Museum.
The epicenter of the quake was actually about 20 kilometers southwest of Kobe, 17 kilometers below the surface of Awaji Island.
At the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, was under construction connecting Awaji Island to the mainland. Although the bridge suffered no damage, the power of the earthquake was so great that the distance between the mainland and the island increased by about one meter causing recalculations of the bridge's specs.
Reception area inside the Earthquake Museum on Awaji IslandA section of the Nojima Fault Line, cause of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake
Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park
On Awaji Island right at the epicenter is the Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park & Nojima Fault Preservation Museum.
The museum has displays of the devastation caused by the earthquake, but the main display is a long hall with a preserved section of the Nojima Fault exposed.
This is exactly as it was after the earth moved, with the buckled ground and the long line of the fault, one side higher than the other.
As you walk down the hall guides explain, in Japanese, what it is you are looking at, and at the far end, the ground has been excavated to show a cross-section of the fault line. There are also numerous information boards with some information in English.
Excavated cross-section of the Nojima Fault Line on Awajishima
Active Fault Lab
Leaving the long, main hall, the suggested route takes you past a large concrete wall, moved here from Kobe.
It survived the earthquake and also the air raids of World War II, and then you can enter a house still standing almost astride the fault line.
Amazingly, considering its proximity to the fault, its earthquake resistant construction held up. 39 people in the area died from the earthquake, and two thirds of the houses collapsed, but this one did not. Inside you can see the damage caused by the quake. Amazingly, by the evening of the day of the earthquake every single resident of the area had been accounted for, something impossible to achieve in a major urban area like Kobe.
The next small building is called Active Fault Lab, and here are displays and interactive experiments on earthquakes including liquefaction, tsunamis etc.
The final building is the one most commented on by visitors as it includes an earthquake simulator that lets you sit in a room and experience the shaking of the same intensity that occurred during the actual earthquake. Visitors can also experience a simulation of the Tohoku Earthquake of 2011 to compare the two tremblors.
You can also watch videos taken during the earthquake and its aftermath.
In a separate building is a restaurant and a gift shop selling products from the local area.
To the north of the museum buildings is a striking memorial to those that lost their lives to the earthquake.
The museum is not exactly a fun place to visit, but there is enough information in English that you will leave with a greater understanding not only of this particular disaster, but of the power and mechanics of earthquakes.
Inside a house showing the effects of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995
Access & Information
177 Ogura, Awaji-shi, Hyogo 656-1736
Tel: 0799 82 3020
Open 9 am to 5 pm every day. Closed over the New Year.
Entry 700 yen adults, 300 yen kids over 11, 200 yen for children aged 5-11.
Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park bus stop is 20 minutes by bus from Iwaya Port where the ferry from Akashi docks. Alternatively, it is 10 minutes by bus from Hokudan Interchange on the Kobe-Awaji Naruto Highway where buses between Shin-Kobe or Sannomiya Station in Kobe and Tokushima on Shikoku stop.
By car the park is 10 minutes from the Hokudan Interchange or 20 minutes from the Awaji Interchange
The earthquake simulator where visitors can experience first hand the shaking of an earthquake like the Great Hanshin one
Accommodation in Awaji
Memorial to the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 at the Hokudan Earthquake Memorial Park
Nearby Places of Interest
Akashi Castle - built in 1619 to protect the approach to Osaka from the west.
Shimanami Kaido - 60 kilometer expressway that links the main island of Honshu with the island of Shikoku.
Maiko Park - a pleasant park with views of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and some historic residences.
World Peace Giant Kannon - once one of the largest statues in the world it is now virtually abandoned.
Yumebutai - designed by Tadao Ando includes a resort hotel, a conference center, a wedding chapel, an open air theater and a botanical museum.
Honpukuji - aka the Water Temple by Tadao Ando.
Awaji Puppet Theater - has daily performances of Awaji Ningyo Joruri.
Izanagi Jingu & Onokorojima Shrine - two important shrines connected with Japan's creation myth.