Osaka: ‘Negative Legacy’ Floating on Sea to Be Redeveloped

Courtesy of Symphonic Sourire Inc.
A rendering of the new facility after the re-development of the Osaka Maritime Museum

OSAKA — An Osaka city-owned museum, which has done nothing but incur maintenance costs since its closure a decade ago, is finally being put back into use. The Osaka Maritime Museum in Suminoe Ward will likely be turned into a facility that combines reality with virtual worlds.

The Osaka city government announced on Nov. 24 that it selected Symphonic Sourire Inc., an Osaka-based tourism consulting company, as a planner to redevelop the “negative legacy” sitting in Osaka Bay.

According to the company’s plan, it will make use of a replica of an old time wooden vessel — the museum’s signature exhibit — and refurbish the facility into an interactive museum using mixed reality and other technologies. It aims to open in 2025.

The original museum opened in 2000 at a cost of ¥17.6 billion but closed in March 2013 due to a decline in visitors.

The eye-catching domed museum floats on the sea, and the unique structure requires costly maintenance, including drainage. Since the museum’s closure, the city has had to bear a total of ¥70 million in expenses.

The city had hope that the private sector could make use of the building, but received no applications in the previous two rounds of public solicitation. In the third round, which began in September, Symphonic was selected.

By the end of this year, Symphonic will purchase the building from the city for ¥61.6 million and will make a deal to rent the land for ¥1.98 million a month.