Besides being known as the “Nation’s Kitchen,” Osaka has quite a history when it comes to its maritime culture. It has also been a popular place for the trading of goods. In line with this, the Mayor of the city opened the Osaka Maritime Museum in 2000 in order to reflect the importance of the place as a port city.
The museum enjoyed a little bit of popularity when it first opened in 2000, but it declined in the following years due to financial constraints. It resulted in its permanent closure in 2013. However, it is architecturally very interesting and unique, and can still be visited today. If you are in Osaka, why not take some time to see what’s left of this place?
Maritime Museum Osaka (Osaka, Japan) by Paul Andreu architect by architecturenow pic.twitter.com/NKWtEPtwcW
— On Architecture (@SeeArchitects) May 4, 2016
Osaka Maritime Museum was designed in a contemporary style by Paul Andreu, a French artist who is popular for designing airports. It stood as a large glass hemisphere with a height of 40 meters. It was located in Osaka Bay where it attracted people coming from the center of the city. This area is reminiscent of the city’s port history which prospered for a very long time.
Its unusual shape and transparency make it recognizable from afar. Other than the museum, the area has several attractions such as shopping malls, an aquarium, viewing platforms, and restaurants. When the museum opened on July 14, 2000, many people visited it and it enjoyed a bit of fame for a short period of time.
The museum showcased a lot of information regarding the importance of Osaka’s maritime culture in the world. A famous exhibit was Naniwa Maru, a replica ship of a typical Japanese trader during the Edo Period. This kind of ship was commonly used to trade materials between Osaka City and Edo (Tokyo).
The museum had other artifacts and exhibits which support the maritime culture of the people. Visitors could also try virtual sailing with the help of a yacht simulator. It offered both educational and entertaining activities for the community which were informative and fun.
Osaka Maritime Museum was built with meaning. Its design was highly connected to its environment which can be vividly seen in its transparency. The building seems to be hugging the landscape naturally. Entering the museum required visitors to go through a tunnel under the water. However, the dome is empty now.
Unfortunately, it closed in 2013 due to financial difficulties. The number of interested visitors declined due to a reduction in its popularity. This is one particular problem that attractions and theme parks normally face after being in the limelight for a few years.
Nevertheless, you can still witness the beautiful structure of the dome as it is still sitting on the bay. There are some rumors that the museum will probably open again in the future but this information has not been made official yet.
Don’t be surprised to see this futuristic structure if you happen to visit Osaka Bay. Even though you’re no longer allowed to enter, you can still marvel at this unique dome from a distance. Just looking at this structure gives a sense of contemporary Japanese culture and modern design. At least for now, you can know a little bit of the museum’s history and how this area played a major role in Japan’s trading activities.