- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

There's a Premier Dinosaur Museum in Japan's Oft-Overlooked Fukui Prefecture

Categories: East Asia, Japan, Arts & Culture, Citizen Media, Science, Travel
fossilized horseshoe crab

Fossilized horseshoe crab, Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum. Photo by Nevin Thompson.

Fukui, Japan's least-known prefecture [1] to international tourists, is home to one of the most impressive dinosaur museums in Japan, if not the world.

With a collection of about 40 different species of dinosaur [2], the museum features a massive variety of displays that make for fantastic Twitter [3] and Instagram [4] posts.

福井県立恐竜博物館に来た。 [5]

A photo posted by Fujio Kojima (@fujiwo) on

We have arrived at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum.

The Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum in Katsuyama, Fukui, is built into a hillside, and is designed to look like a dinosaur egg. The whole mountain features dinosaur exhibits and dinosaur-themed activities.

fukui prefectural dinosaur museum

The Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, in Katsuyama, Fukui. Photo by Nevin Thompson.

The museum was opened in Katsuyama, a rural township about 600 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, in 2000 [2]. The museum features realistic displays that were designed with input from the Royal Tyrrell Museum [6] in Alberta, Canada.

Visitors to the museum are greeted by Fukuiraptor [7], a theropod dinosaur native to Fukui that was described and classified in part by Philip J. Currie [8] of the Tyrrell Museum.

A photo posted by shinichi_okuno (@oku_sin) [9] on

Fukuiraptor was discovered in the Kitadani geological formation [10] just north of Katsuyama. The mountains of Fukui Prefectures are one of the few places where dinosaur remains can be found in Japan.

Fukuiraptor kitadaniensis #dinosaur [11]

A photo posted by Sayuri Yamamoto (@s.yamamoto1127) on

Besides local specimens, the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum features complete recreations of many different dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex.

恐竜大好きです [12]

A photo posted by Sigeo Noda (@sakakiaoi06) on

I love dinosaurs.

Old Men. Older Bones. #sonya6000 [13]

A photo posted by Shun Nakamura (@shunnak) on

There are also stunning recreations of dinosaurs, such as this Allosaurus, that visitors can view up close.

ぎゃー、がおーー #0914 #0915 #0916 #福井県立恐竜博物館 #PRONTOILBAR #4年生 #北陸 #女子旅 #卒業旅行 [14]

A photo posted by はやしさおり。 (@saoriii_a7) on

Agh! Scary! #fukuidinosaurmuseum #hokuriku #4thyearuni #womens #graduationtrip

A photo posted by Sayuri Yamamoto (@s.yamamoto1127) [15] on

The hillside outside the museum is also dotted with realistic dinosaur displays, such as this Deinonychus [16] attacking an Iguanodon.

A photo posted by Tatielli Nakagawa (@tatiellinakagawa) on

And the hilltop above the museum is giant park with other not-so-realistic displays that make for great social media posts.

吾輩は人である?(笑) #福井県立恐竜博物館 [17]

A photo posted by 草 (@kusa93) on

I am a cat [18] human?

Fukui Prefecture is hard to reach by tourists, and is still waiting to be linked with high-speed rail service to Tokyo [19]. The rural and picturesque prefecture is generally passed over by tourists traveling to the old castle town of Kanazawa [20] to the north. The prefecture has branded itself as Japan's dinosaur ground-zero in order to appeal to tourists, and persuade them to consider stopping in Fukui.

The Fukui train station has itself transformed into a dino hot spot:

Dinosaurs at Fukui Station.

Dinosaurs at Fukui Station. Photo by Nevin Thompson.

If you want to explore more of Fukui's dinosaurs, follow the hashtag #福井県立恐竜博物館 on Twitter [21] and Instagram [4].