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Monday, January 19, 2009

Meteor Plaza Shichirui

メテオプラザ

There were violent thunderstorms along the Shimane coast near Mihonoseki on the night of December 10th 1992, so when Mr. Matsumoto and his family in Sozu village heard a loud noise they thought nothing of it. A little later they were amazed to discover a hole running through their house from the roof down through 2 storeys and the floor. Next morning under their house they discovered a 6.8 kilogram rock that is now officially named as the Mihonoseki Meteor.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

The meteor is on display in its own museum, part of the Meteor Plaza complex in nearby Shichirui. The unusual building, designed by Shimane architect Shin Takamatsu, houses an indoor seawater swimming pool, a 500 seat auditorium, and the terminal for ferries to the Oki Islands as well as the museum.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

The ovoid-shaped structure represents the meteor and inside it is a cavernous cinema that shows a couple of videos on the meteor. The narrow cone represents the trajectory of the meteor's descent to earth, and inside it the meteor itself is on display in an other-worldly blue light. The actual museum is quite small and has lots of photos, maps, and press clippings as well as sections of the roof, tatami etc from the house that the meteor passed through.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

The museum does not get many visitors. The ferry terminal is busy with daily ferries to the Oki Islands, the swimming pool is made good use of by all the local schools, but the auditorium is rarely used. The building is already showing wear and tear and is starting to look quite drab.

Meteor Plaza Shichirui, Shimane

Worth visiting if you are particularly interested in modern architecture or meteors, or if you have time to kill while waiting for a ferry, but otherwise not worth making a special trip. The museum is within reach of Matsue city.

Meteor Plaza
Matsue-shi, Mihonseki-cho, Shichirui 3246-1
Tel: 0852 72 3939
Open: Thur - Tue, 9am to 5pm
Entrance: 600 yen adults

© Jake Davies & Japan Visitor.com

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