Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake: Sendai Arahama Elementary School

Sendai Arahama Elementary School was directly affected by the Great East Japan earthquake which took place on the 11th of March 2011, 320 students and teachers were evacuated from the building, and the resulting tsunami made its way to the second floor of the building. To ensure there are no more victims that can be claimed by tsunamis, the school has been left as-is to be visited by the public, as a reminder of what kind of damage a tsunami can do as well as teach people what is required if another situation such as this ever occurs.

About the Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake: Sendai Arahama Elementary School

About the Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake: Sendai Arahama Elementary School

Sendai Arahama Elementary School is a location that has the goal of educating more people about how to prevent and deal with natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis and has been left almost as-is from the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake. You can visibly see what the disaster left behind at the site, and there are also exhibitions that show the overall damage that the disaster did to the school, this allows visitors to understand the true power behind these terrible natural disasters.

Arahama is located about 10km to the east of Sendai's city center and is along the coastline of the pacific ocean. There are over 800 households, all surrounded by various canals that stem from the pacific ocean, with a total of around 2,200 people living within this settlement.

Sendai Arahama Elementary School, which was originally built in the year 1873, is located just 700m from the pacific ocean coastline, and at the time of the disaster, had 91 students.

Sendai Arahama Elementary School Exhibitions

Sendai Arahama Elementary School Exhibitions

By exploring the 3 available floors and rooftop, you're able to see the scenes of what the disaster brought upon this school, and possibly even get a feeling of the fear that was going through the people's minds at the time.

Exterior / Floor 1 / Floor 2

There are various photographs and exhibits that show what the school building looked like directly after the disaster, all of which will show you just what kind of power the tsunami had on the school building.

Floor 3(Not Open to the Public)

To ensure the school building is kept safe and secure, the 3rd floor is not currently available to the public. Within the 3rd floor, you would find the 3rd and 4th-year student classrooms, and it was used as an evacuation area during the earthquake.

Floor 4

Here you're able to see pictures of when the earthquake hit, when the tsunami came, as well as learn about what provisions and cautions to take during a time such as this. You can also learn about Arahama's history and culture, there are even some memories from Arahama Elementary School shown here.

「The 3.11 Memories of Arahama」

On the 4th floor you'll find the exhibition called "The 3.11 Memories of Arahama", which has photos and videos of the earthquake from around 14:46, as well as 17 minutes of video footage of the rescue of the students and staff around 27 hours after the initial diaster hit. There are interviews with the school's headmaster at the time as well as staff, as well as images of the helicopter which aided in the relief efforts.


You can look out over the entirety of Arahama from here, see the sea as well as the various canals, and compare the now and then from the disaster.

How to Get to Sendai Arahama Elementary School, Entrance Fee, and Business Hours

  • Address: 32-1 Shinborihata Arahama-aza, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, 984-0033, Japan
  • Access: 
    • Approx. 1 hour 36 minutes from Tokyo Station to Sendai Station by Tohoku Shinkansen
    • Approx. 13 minutes from Sendai Station to Arai Station on the Sendai Subway Tozai Line
    • From Arai Station to the Former Arahama Elementary School bus stop by Sendai City Bus, get off at the last stop (Approx. 15 minutes)
  • Business Hours: 9:30~16:00 
  • Holidays: Mondays and every 4th Thursday (Excluding Public Holidays)
  • Entrance Fee: Free