Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum
Location: Fukui, Katsuyama, Muraoka-cho, Terao 5-11
Public transit access: Katsuyama Eiheiji Line (Echizen Railway)
The Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum is a dinosaur museum located in the city of Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, Japan. In addition to being the only dedicated dinosaur museum in all of Japan, it is one of the "World's Three Great Dinosaur Museums" along with the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Canada and the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in China. The museum signed a sister museum agreement with the Royal Tyrrell Museum on November 23, 2000, and contains some exhibits from the museum.
When visitors enter into the museum, they first take a long escalator down to the first floor of the basement. The basement only contains "Dino Street," a hallway displaying fossils of some of the earliest known life on Earth. A bone bed sits at the end of the hallway and is a replica of an actual site in Wyoming, USA.
From there, visitors can go up to the main exhibition hall, which is the museum's primary exhibition space and consists of dinosaur fossils. Though many of the dinosaur fossils are replicas, some displays use actual dinosaur fossils and visitors are allowed to touch some of the displays. Various dioramas, including some with robotic dinosaurs that move and make sounds, also are used to show visitors a conceptual look at the dinosaurs' habitats.
The second floor contains exhibits focusing on earth sciences, including plate tectonics, rock formation and precious gems. The third floor focuses on the history of life, showing a timeline from the formation of the Earth up until modern times. In addition to the dinosaurs, this exhibit shows some of the earliest single-celled organisms and their evolution into the mammals of today.
The museum also contains a "Dino Lab," which has real fossils on display that visitors can feel and lift up. There is also a fossil cleaning room where visitors can watch actual fossils being cleaned and preserved.
There are also outdoor exhibits to complement the main ones inside the museum. From the spring to the fall, visitors can experience excavation activities at a location on the park grounds. Additional replicas of dinosaurs and their fossils can be found throughout the park grounds.
The location for the museum was chosen because many fossils have been found in Katsuyama and it uses many fossils found in the surrounding area. The museum was designed by Kurokawa Kisho and completed in the summer of 2000, as the centerpiece for the 2000 Dinosaur Expo that was hosted in nearby Nagaoyama Park.
It officially opened on July 14, 2000, with an area of approximately 30,000 m2 (320,000 sq ft), making it one of the largest museums in all of Japan. There are no support beams within the main display area of the building, allowing for wide open spaces to display the large dinosaurs.
Telephone: (0779) 88-0001 Fax: (0779) 88-8700
Hours of Operation: 9:00am to 5:00pm (no entry after 4:30pm)
Holidays: 2nd and 4th Wednesday Dec. 29 to Jan. 2 Entrance Fee