Various programs are planned within and outside the aquarium.
The construction of “Sendai Aquarium” (tentative name), which has been eagerly anticipated by Sendai residents and local businesses, will start in December and open in the spring of 2015. In February of this year, a consortium led by Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange) established Sendai Aquarium Development Co., Ltd. (Aoba-ku, Sendai City), a new company charged with the aquarium’s construction, and the project finally began to move forward. The new company is owned 47.6% by Mitsui & Co., 18.9% by Kamei Corporation (listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange), 11.9% by Yokohama Hakkeijima Inc. (Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama City), 10.8% by Yuatec Corporation (listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange), 5.4% by Kahoku Shimpo Publishing Co. (Aoba-ku, Sendai City) and 5.4% by Sendai Mitsukoshi Co., Ltd. (Aoba-ku, Sendai City). Four of the owners are local companies.
Construction to start in December in the Earthquake-Hit city
Lucky the Second Time Around This is not Sendai City’s first attempt to build a new aquarium. In 2008, a plan was proposed to relocate “Marine Pia Matsushima Aquarium.” Considered to be the second-oldest aquarium in Japan, that facility–located in Matsushima, one of the three great scenic towns of Japan–would thus be moved to downtown Sendai, where a new aquarium would be built. With a budget of approximately 8 billion yen, the project was to be run by a special-purpose company (SPC) in the form of investment in an anonymous association. However, not enough funding was raised and, in 2010, the plan was shelved. Therefore, having survived the Great East Japan Earthquake, the community has found something to cheer about in the latest aquarium project.
Housed in a Garden Complex Built by Sendai City The site of this garden complex was engulfed by the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake, so Sendai Aquarium is being considered as a possible evacuation site. The storage of emergency food supplies and evacuation drills for visitors will also be planned.
One of the Largest-Scale Dolphin Shows in Tohoku The aquarium will be housed in a two-story steel-framed building having an estimated area of approximately 6,100 square meters and a total floor area of approximately 9,800 square meters (with a total water volume of approximately 3,000 tons).
Complete with the latest technologies and energy-saving equipment, the aquarium will use approximately 100 large and small water tanks to recreate the rich, natural environment of the sea of Tohoku as well as the Sendai River, providing opportunities for visitors to experience the world of sea creatures and interact with penguins, sea lions, etc., in their respective sections. Particularly, the area for the presentation of shows by dolphins and other marine mammals will have stands with approximately 1,000 seats, building expectations for one of the largest dolphin shows in Tohoku.
Various ingenious ideas are of course being incorporated to make this complex more than a simple amusement facility. By focusing on its role as a “place for children to learn,” the aquarium will have an area where young visitors can learn about diet and environmental protection. It will also provide offsite classes, guided tours and on-the-job experience/learning tours while actively promoting nature-preservation and educational activities.
The large water tank will allow visitors to experience the rich, natural environment of the sea of Tohoku.
Symbolizing Tohoku’s Effort to Rebuild The aim of the Sendai Aquarium Development Project is to “show Tohoku’s commitment to regenerating its water environment and other natural resources as we make steady strides toward the future, thereby infusing courage and energy in all who visit the facility.” As Sendai’s transition from the recovery phase to the rebuilding phase begins, Sendai Aquarium will foster big dreams for the city and Tohoku as a whole. We hope the aquarium will symbolize the new, revived Tohoku.