Due to a decreasing number of children, Shiina Elementary School regrettably had to close in 2005, but it was repaired and classes are back in session in April 2018! The new students of the reborn school are fish.
The Muroto Schoolhouse Aquarium reuses the old school building. The 25 m outdoor pool where children used to learn to swim is now remodeled into a large fish tank, and 19 other tanks of various sizes have been installed. Ocean water is drawn directly into the fish tanks, and people come from far and wide to visit. Over 1,000 “students” of around 50 species, including parrotfish and amberjacks raised at the Muroto UNESCO Global Geopark, have been “admitted” to the school with the help of local fishermen. About 10 loggerhead sea turtles and Galápagos green turtles have come here to study after getting caught in nets, and their leisurely swimming has gained popularity. The touch-pools in the former school restrooms are also popular, and let visitors touch seashore creatures like sea slugs. The unique exhibit styles using the old school facilities have become a hot topic. Sharks like hammerheads are another part of the aquarium’s appeal, alongside deep sea classmates including giant isopods, as well as meeting new aquatic transfer students every season. The building has been neatly repaired, so you’d never imagine that it had been closed. However, the desks and chairs are in place just like in previous years, making for a nostalgic experience. Some classrooms display specimens of fish skeletons, letting visitors learn more about fish they’re interested in. The aquarium also conducts sea turtle release experiences in the nearby ocean. In the future, there are plans for hands-on study with fishermen teaching how to prepare locally-caught fish.
Muroto Schoolhouse Aquarium – located in the former Shiina Elementary School. A popular place of learning and communication now, as it always was.
April to September 9:00 - 18:00 October to March 9:00 - 17:00
●About 1 hour 40 minutes by car from the Nankoku exit of the Kochi Expressway. ●About 1 hour 30 minutes by Kochi Tobu Kotsu Bus heading to Kannoura Station from Aki Station on the Gomen-Nahari line. Get off the bus at the Murotohaiko Suizokukan-mae bus stop.
Adults (high school students and above) 600 yen, children (elementary/junior high school students) 300 yen (free for children under school age)