Do you know who invented the term Dinosauria, which is the formal term for dinosaurs? In 1842, the British biologist and paleontologist Richard Owen came up with the term by combining the Greek
In Japanese, dinosaur is translated as 恐竜, which means a fearful dragon. I don’t know why, but dragon (竜), not lizard, is used in the Japanese word for dinosaur. Interestingly, in Korean and Chinese, the word dragon is used as well. Indeed, dragons and dinosaurs are similar in that they’re really big, strong and mysterious. It was a good idea to use the word for dragon in the word for dinosaur.
The Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, one of the world’s top three dinosaur museums, is in Fukui Prefecture. In 2019, about 924,000 people visited the museum. I went to the museum and want to write about it.
In my opinion, there are four good points to this museum.
1. The museum building is cool and modern.
2. You can enjoy seeing 44 dinosaur skeletons.
3. You learn not only about dinosaurs, but also about the history of the Earth.
4. You can try your hand at excavating fossils.
The museum building is a domed structure that was designed by Kurokawa Kisho, a leading Japanese architect. Since the museum is domed, there are no pillars supporting the roof, so you can look at the exhibitions in an open space.
The inside of the building is also cool. When you go in the main entrance, you see a 35-meter-long escalator going down to the basement, where you can see displays of dinosaur fossils. This long escalator is like a time machine that takes you from the modern world to the ancient dinosaur era.
There are 44 dinosaur skeletons, and 10 of them are real. They’re displayed in thrilling poses. You can also see some robot dinosaurs that move and roar.
Of all the displays, the Tyrannosaurus robot is the most popular. When I saw the robot, there were a lot of people around it.
I also saw a Triceratops robot. A little child was crying very hard because it was very scary. It was funny to me to see the crying child.
The exhibitions include Dinosaur World, Earth Sciences, and History of Life. There are displays of minerals and gems, and you can also learn about the origin of life and the history of vertebrates. I was impressed by the displays showing a large turtle, some ginkgo leaf fossils, and some gems.
Please read my previous post about excavating fossils. (Excavating fossils near Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum)
All kinds of people enjoy this museum. I saw a lot of children and adults today. There are a restaurant and a gift shop in the museum, and near the entrance you can rent an audio guide that you can use to listen to 60 different explanations of the displays in English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. I used the audio guide today and it was useful. A lot of the display panels are written in English, and I saw two foreign people in the museum.
You’re allowed to take pictures at the museum, so I recommend bringing a camera. If you have pictures of yourself taken with the large dinosaur skeletons, they’ll become lifetime treasures.
There are few museums like this in the world where you can see a lot of dinosaur skeletons. You’ll see life-sized dinosaur skeletons with your own eyes if you come here. I recommend going to the museum at least once if you come to Fukui Prefecture. If you want to know more about the museum, go to its English website.
Seidai Temple and Hakusan Heisenji Shrine are located near the museum (although it’s difficult to walk there). At Seidai Temple, you can see the 17-meter-high Echizen Daibutsu (a large statue of Buddha), a Japanese garden, and a five-storied pagoda. The temple is new and only has about a 30-year history. On the other hand, Hakusan Heisenji Shrine is a national historic site that has a 1,300-year history. The shrine is renowned for the beauty of the moss around it. If you go to the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, why don’t you also go to this new temple and historic shrine?
The official website of Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum