One of the world’s top three dinosaur museums, Fukui Dinosaur Museum is amazing
Fukui Dinosaur Museum is a dinosaur museum in Katsuyama City. Famous for being a major producer of dinosaur fossils. Due to the fact that a lot of good quality dinosaur fossils was discovered in Fukui Prefecture, this museum was established in the prefecture. Since its opening in 2000, the total number of visitors has reached over 800 million people and became a popular place to visit (as of October 2016).
Fukui Dinosaur Museum is attractive because they have amazing exhibitions. Besides viewing complete dinosaur skeletons, they also have great mechanical moving dinosaur models which is awesome! The movement of dinosaur are so powerful and realistic that it scares and make some children cry.
The amazing exhibition is based on the research results that are highly valued worldwide. Fukui Dinosaur Museum is one of the world’s famous museum that specializes in dinosaur. Along with the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada and the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in China it is referred to as the world’s three largest dinosaur museums. In 2013, the secretary office of the Asia Dinosaur Association was located inside the Fukui Dinosaur Museum. It has now become the natural history museum that represents Japan.
Experience dinosaurs with your five senses. Introducing the things that you cannot miss at Fukui Dinosaur MuseumThere are lots of things that you cannot miss at Fukui Prefecture Dinosaur Museum. Fukui Dinosaur Museum provides three zones. The “Dinosaur World” zone, the “Earth Sciences” zone and the “History of Life” zone. The vast exhibition space is a total of 4500 square meters. The introduction of ancient history and exhibitions is based on scientific research results that everyone can enjoy even professional researchers. In the vicinity of the museum researchers are continuing to excavate and research new findings. Their latest achievements are leading the enhancement of exhibition.
The three zones, “Dinosaur World”, “Earth Sciences” and “History of Life” contains lots of small booths. In addition, there are hands-on exhibition booths where you can touch fossils, museum shop and etc. Here are the things that you cannot miss at Fukui Dinosaur Museum.
Complete skeleton and diorama of dinosaurs at “Dinosaur World” zone are awesomeFirst of all you should see the complete skeletons of dinosaurs in the “Dinosaur World” zone. There are more than 40 skeleton bodies of dinosaurs and it is a spectacular space. Near the skeleton bodies of dinosaurs, restoration models of dinosaurs are also placed so it is also possible to know the shape of the actual dinosaur, not only the skeleton. There is also a full-scale model of the dinosaur that moves realistically. You would be surprised how realistically it is.
At diorama booth, you can see their natural habitat. Also, you can see that they reproduced faithfully even a tiny thing. For example, they reproduce faithfully dead leaves to give a insightful experience of how these creatures lived back then. It will absolutely blow your mind. There are no pillars in this building which makes the entire experience feel like your actually there in the dinosaurs natural habitat.
At “Fukui dinosaur” booth, you can see the fossil specimen and restored skeleton of dinosaurs which lived in Fukui in the past. For example, the whole body skeleton of “Fukuiraptor” (total length 4.2m), which is the first carnivorous dinosaur to be restored in Japan. And “Fukuisaurus” (total length 4.7m), a herbivorous dinosaur which is an important specimen for evolution study of Iguanodons. And “Fukuititan”, a sauropods dinosaur which was given the scientific name by Japan for the first time.
Let’s learn a little bit before the excavation experience at “Earth Sciences” zoneAt “Earth Science” zone, they introduce a mechanism such as the earth’s strata from two sides, “Water and Earth” and “Fire and Earth”. For example, they explains the process how to make rock, mineral, jewelry and etc. They are the components of the earth, so the explanation is about land and sea sediments and plate tectonics. Also they display real meteorites, minerals, jewelry and etc. Besides, you can learn how to make fossils and how to examine the strata.
It is said that finding a dinosaur fossil requires some conditions. The strata of the era of dinosaurs needs to be on the surface of the earth. Also the place should be a place where there used to be water, such as rivers and lakes. Fukui has met those conditions. If you make a reservation in advance, you will be able to have a dinosaur fossil excavation experience. Before that, learning about the mechanism of how fossils are created at the “Earth Sciences” zone will make the excavation experience much more exciting. (For making a reservation for dinosaur fossil excavation experience, see the section of “Field Station” below)
Discover the humongous history of evolution at “History of Life” zoneAt “History of Life” zone, the history of evolution is introduced. You will be able to know how organisms evolved throughout the tremendous time of 4.6 billion years. This exhibition tells you that while life and the earth’s environment intertwine with one another, evolution and extinction continues its natural process in history.
The exhibition is surprising because of giant skeleton specimens. For example, at “Sea of the Mesozoic” booth, you will find a skeleton specimen of archelon, a giant sea turtle from the age of the dinosaurs, whose shell is larger than 4m. It is the largest turtle ever on earth. In addition, at “Sea of Cenozoic” booth, you will find a skeleton specimen of dorudon, which specialists believe to be close to the ancestor of modern whales. They are whales from 40 million years ago and the overall length is 5.5m. Their features includes a head with sharp teeth and degenerate little feet. You will feel the history of the evolution.
The history of the evolution of life is often found from the fossil research. Here, you can learn about the history of evolution from mammals to dinosaurs, dinosaurs to birds, to new research results that have been recently discovered. The exhibition at “History of Life” zone is itself evolving and enhancing its presentations. That is also one of the reasons why many visitors of the Fukui Dinosaur Museum would like to visit the museum again.
You must visit the hands-on exhibition booth “Dino Lab”One of the most popular booth which you cannot miss at the Fukui Dinosaur Museum is the Dino Lab. The Dino Lab is a collection of interactive exhibitions. It is a place where you can feel being in a lab and work on observation activities of dinosaur fossils.
Because specimen such as fossil are brittle, usually visitors cannot touch the specimen directly. But here at Dino Lab, you can actually touch the specimen and enjoy the experience. It is possible to actually touch a part of a bone of a Tyrannosaurus, tusks of mammoth, ammonite and etc.
In addition, you can observe complete skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex from any angle. Also, there rare fossils and a quiz box with fossils. Everyone can enjoy using their five senses. If you visit the Fukui Dinosaur Museum, Dino Lab is a must see place.
If something is held, we definitely recommend the “Special Exhibition”At Fukui Dinosaur Museum, in addition to the permanent exhibitions above, they hold special exhibitions that are not always available. Themes of the exhibition is different every time and you can enjoy a wide variety of exhibits. If they hold a special exhibition when you visit Fukui Dinosaur Museum, we definitely recommend you visit it. You can confirm the theme and period of special exhibition on the official website.(Special exhibition page is only in Japanese)
You can excavate real fossils at “Field Station”At Fukui Dinosaur Museum, it is possible to have a dinosaur fossil excavation experience by making a reservation in advance. Get on a private bus from Fukui Dinosaur Museum and in about 30 minutes you will be at the Field Station, which is a excavation site that you can have a excavation experience. Part of this excavation site has been designated as a national natural monument, actually a variety of fossils have been found. You will use the rock coming from the excavation site for excavation experience and if you find a fossil a researcher will give you a detailed explanation.
However, the experience is only possible during a limited period. It starts from the end of April to beginning of November. please check the official website if the experience is available now. Also, the required time of experience is 1 hour. Round-trip time on the bus is 1 hour too. So the total required time will be 2 hours.
You can make a reservation by filling in the required information and submitting the reservation form on the official website. When you arrive to Fukui Dinosaur Museum, go to the front desk of Field Station, which is next to the entrance of the museum. For checking in, confirm your reservation, pay the fee and receive the ticket there. You have to enter at least 30 minute before the reservation time. Fees are, 1200 yen per adult, 1000 yen per high school and college student, 600 yen per elementary and intermediate school student. You can rent a hammer and goggles for excavation experience at the Field Station but you need to prepare your own work gloves. You can buy work gloves at the front desk, so you can prepare them on-site too.
Field Station website
Have a break with dinosaur-shaped foods at “Cafe & Restaurant – Dino”The cafe restaurant in the Fukui Dinosaur Museum is “Cafe & Restaurant – Dino” Fukui Dinosaur Museum has lots of exhibitions so it is suited to spend a day or a half a day there. Dino is a good place to take a break. Their menu includes curry and rice, omelet over rice, pasta, volga rice which is a local gourmet of Fukui (cutlet on the omelet over rice with hashed beef sauce), sauce over cutlet bowl and soba noodles with grated daikon radish. In addition, they have dinosaur burgers which looks like a foot of a dinosaur and tyrannosaurus sundae. Those are a popular menu among children so be careful as it will be crowded during lunch time and the line for check in might be long.
Get some dinosaur items from the full lineup of museum shop “DINO STORE – SOUVENIR & CURIOSITY”At the museum shop “DINO STORE – SOUVENIR & CURIOSITY” of Fukui Dinosaur Museum, a lot of dinosaur goods are sold. Various types of products such as dinosaur figures including dinosaurs of Fukui, tote bags, t-shirts, stationery and etc. are available. They also have special products made in Fukui Prefecture such as Echizen Lacquer bowl and chopsticks with a limited design only for DINO STORE. You can also purchase geology and paleontology field specimens, such as fossils of dinosaurs, ammonites, and minerals. The full lineup of their dinosaur items are worth seeing. This place will not make you bored too. If you have time, walk into the DINO STORE.
Admission fees of Fukui Dinosaur MuseumFollowing are the admission fees of Fukui Dinosaur Museum. 720 yen per adult, 410 yen per high school and college student, 260 yen per elementary and intermediate school student.
However, there are some important reminders.
– Sometimes such as during the period of a special exhibition, admission fees might become expensive than the rates above. You can confirm the rate on the official website.
– Infants and person over 70 years old are free.
– On third Sunday every month and February 7th every year which is Hometown Day”, admission fee of the permanent exhibition will be free.
Operating hours of Fukui Dinosaur Museum
Fukui Dinosaur Museum is open 9 am to 5 pm (You must check in before 4:30 pm)
Operating hours of following days will change to 8:30 am to 6 pm (You must check in before 5:30 pm)
April 29 – May 7, 2017
July 15 – 17, 2017
July 21 – August 31, 2017
September 16 – 18, 2017
October 7 – 9, 2017
Closed days is the second and forth Wednesday on every month. If it’s a national holiday, the following day will be closed day. During summer vacation season there is no closed day. Also it is not open December 29 to January 2. However, they might be closed temporarily for exhibition replacement and inspection of facilities. You can confirm the opening day in the Dinosaur Museum Calendar of the official website.
Location and access to Fukui Dinosaur MuseumFukui Dinosaur Museum is inside the Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park of Katsuyama City, north east of Fukui Prefecture. Many travelers come from Fukui Station, the terminal station of tourism in Fukui.
Take a trains bound to Katsuyama Station on the Katsuyama Eiheiji Line of Echizen Railway. Get off at Katsuyama Station. Take a community bus or taxi from Katsuyama Station to Fukui Dinosaur Museum.
The journey from Fukui Station to Katsuyama Station takes about one hour. From Katsuyama Station to Fukui Dinosaur Museum is about 15 minutes.
The train from Fukui Station bound to Katsuyama Station comes to the station in a pace like 1 train in every 30 minutes. Except early morning.Also bus to the Fukui Dinosaur Museum from Katsuyama station comes to the station in the same pace.
The last train from Katsuyama Station to Fukui Station will leave around 5:40 pm. Be careful not to miss the last train. The diagram might change, so it is better to check the time of the train for return at the station. Also the diagram is also on the official website of Echizen Railway (Only in Japanese).
Echizen Railway official website
Location of Fukui Dinosaur Museum
51-11 Murokochoterao, Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture
Reviews of Fukui Dinosaur MuseumFollowing are some reviews that might be helpful if you are planning to visit Fukui Dinosaur Museum in the future.
Mayuchan – Visited with family
It was happy for children, but I also enjoyed as an adult very much. Dynamic dinosaurs are moving, and there are a lot more dinosaurs than other museums! Despite it is a museum, it was also a theme park. Because the child was not stuck still, I could not see it slowly, but it was a museum that I wanted to stay all day long.
Kanakano – Visited with family
Museum was larger than I have imagined when I read a tourist book, there are a bunch of exhibitions, great way of display and gorgeous building. everything was amazing. My child loved digging the fossils. We felt the one hour time slot was too short.
Mikeneko222 – Visited alone
The restored dinosaurs were so real (Young children were screaming …). A lot of real fossils and the exhibitions were cool. The restaurant and museum shop gets crowded so i recommend you to go to those places early. If you use the coin-operated locker (return type) near the entrance, you will be able to walk around empty handed. There are quite a lot of lockers but note that the large locker will be occupied soon because they are only few of them.
Nishinomiyashiochanomizuhakase – Visited alone
I went to Katsuyama Station from Fukui Station with Echizen Railway. It was a weekday so there was no community bus around the time. But i was able to use a demand bus (a low cost bus like a ride share taxi) because i bought a one day train pass including bus pass and museum admission fee at Fukui Station. I could use time effectively so it was very convenient.
Recommended place to visit near Fukui Dinosaur Museum: Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest ParkFrom here, this post will recommend some must see places near the museum for travelers who are going to visit the Fukui Dinosaur Museum.
It is the Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park. In fact, Fukui Dinosaur Museum is inside Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park. But there are more attractions to see.
Tyrannosaurus SquareThe Tyrannosaurus Square inside Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park has dinosaur models, obstacle courses and playground equipment. It is a family-friendly place. There is also a lawn and a pond where you can play in the water so you can enjoy the nature too.
Tyrannosaurus Square is admission free and opening hours are 7 am to 8 pm. However, opening hours might be shorter while it is October to March.
Tyrannosaurus Square also has a barbecue garden and rental fee of each booth is 1000yen. Reservation in advance via phone is necessary. If you plan to use it, please call +81-779-88-8777.They rent grill plate, charcoal, and etc. But they do not rent food and cigarette lighter so you need to bring your own food and cigarette lighter. Barbecue Garden is open from 9 am to 4 pm.
Katsuyama DinoparkKatsuyama Dinopark is a adventure-type attraction inside the Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park. There are lots of moving life-size dinosaur model in the forest. In the forest, there is also a course that you can walk and you can feel like discovering the forest where huge dinosaurs are living. It is open only from April to middle of November.
Total length is 400m. You will take about 20 minutes at least. The course contains 7 zones and you can see a different dinosaur in each zone. Hearing the roaring and footstep sounds will be surprising. And Seeing the giant dinosaur moving in front of you in the nature must be also surprising. You will feel different, though you have seen them in the museum.Open from 9 am to 5pm (you need to enter before 4:30 pm). However, opening hours might be shorter while it is October to November. They are not open on the second Wednesday and the fourth Wednesday. But they will be open everyday on summer vacation season. They are also open on rainy days. But they might be not open in case of bad weather, such as typhoons and snow. Admission fee is 500 yen per person. 3 years old or younger are free.
Dinosaur excavationlandDinosaur excavationland is a place where you can have dinosaur fossil excavation experience which is near Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park and Fukui Dinosaur Museum. You can find fossils from stones from about 120 million years ago. It is open only from March to middle of November.
You need to make a Reservation in advance from the official website for the experience. They are not open when the Fukui Dinosaur Museum is not open.
Dinosaur excavationland official website
Chamagon SquareChamagon Square has dinosaur models, obstacle course like the Tyrannosaurus Square. It will be easy to visit because it is close to Fukui Dinosaur Museum. A long slide of Sugiyamaryu and the Tarzan rope are popular amoung children.
Next to Chamagonland there is Chamagon teahouse, which sells foods, such as dinosaur burger. If you become hungry, taking a break and having food at the square is a good idea too. Chamagon teahouse is open from the end of March to the beginning of November. It opens at 10am and closes at 3 pm. There is also a park management office, and they act as a tourist bureau so you might get good information here.
Location of the Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park
51-11 Murokochoterao, Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture