About the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake
The Importance of Emergency Drills & Preparation
Experience a Large-scale Earthquake
1. Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institute
2. Nojima Fault Preservation Museum

One of the things Japan is particularly well known for is how prone it is to earthquakes. Some of Japan’s recent major earthquake and natural disasters include the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995 and the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.
Below are some tips on how to prepare for an earthquake in Japan, and an introduction to a facility where you can experience what a large earthquake would feel like.

About the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995

On January 17, 1995, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake about 16 kilometers deep hit the Awaji Island area, locating just north of Kobe. Areas around Kobe experienced a jolt of about magnitude 6, and surrounding areas such as Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe felt a shake about magnitude 4 to 5.

The quake resulted in 6,434 casualties, 3 missing and 43,792 injured persons. Around 90% of casualties were due to collapsing buildings.

After the catastrophic damage done by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, anti-quake measures were taken more seriously. Earthquake resistance measures were especially prominent in elementary and junior high schools, since they are used as shelters during such events.

The Importance of Emergency Drills & Preparation

Emergency drill

Since you never know when an earthquake is going to hit, it is important to always be prepared. Running earthquake drills regularly and being prepared is crucial in order to stay safe.

Emergency Preparation in Your Own House

Many of the casualties from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake were a result of falling furniture.

During a large earthquake, furniture is bound to collapse. However, you can prevent the collapsing by fixing them on to the wall.

Fixing furniture onto the wall

Of course, it is important that large furniture, such as drawers and refrigerators, are fixed onto the wall. However, other items such as glass windows, television, dishes, microwaves and more should be considered as well.


It is also to have items such as flashlights, slippers and whistles prepared in your house. Make sure to know where you’ve placed these items, so you know where to look for in case of a blackout.

The slippers can be useful when there are bits of shattered glass on the floor. As for the whistle, it can come in handy if you happen to end up under a collapsed piece of furniture or building and want to reach out for help.

Emergency kit

After a large natural disaster, it is common for the electricity, gas, water and so forth to stop. It is important to prepare equipment to help you survive during such times.

It is a good idea to have a backpack with some food and water, tissues, radio, blanket and more for you to grab and go during times of emergency.

Experience a Large-scale Earthquake

After experiencing first-hand what a large earthquake feels like, you will be able to understand how frightening it can be. In Hyogo prefecture, where the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred, there are two facilities where you can experience an earthquake.

1. Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institute

Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institute

The Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institute was established in April 2002 in memory of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. It aims to help establish a society that is well-prepared for future natural disasters.

There are two buildings of the institution: the 3-storied East Building and the 5-storied West Building. The floors of each building are separated by theme.

The fourth floor of the West Building is where the earthquake experience theater is. There are also miniature replicas of the streets before and after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.

On the third floor of the East Building, photos from tsunamis are displayed. You can see with your own eyes how difficult it is to live through a tsunami and its aftermath.

2. Nojima Fault Preservation Museum

Nojima Fault Preservation Museum

The Nojima Fault Preservation Museum was built to spread the importance of emergency preparation. There, you can find an actual piece of a fault that fell off during the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.

In the Entrance Hall, there is a miniature model of Highway 43 which was destructed by the quake, a photo exhibit and more.

Every Tuesday, survivors of the earthquake come to speak about their experiences.

In the experience area, you can feel a quake similar to that of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and the Great East Japan Earthquake. You will feel that the two are quite different.

Begin Preparing Today

By learning about these earthquakes and disasters in depth, we can feel the importance of emergency preparation. Visits to facilities like the ones mentioned above will help serve as a wake-up call or a reminder to stay prepared at all times.

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