Facilities to convey eruption disaster open at Mt. Ontake

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors look at the wall of the facility on the summit, which has been pierced by cinders, in Kiso, Nagano Prefecture, on Saturday.

Two visitor centers were opened at Mt. Ontake, a 3,067-meter mountain straddling Nagano and Gifu prefectures, on Saturday, a month before the eighth anniversary of the volcano’s eruption which left 58 people dead and five missing.

The centers are at a trailhead in the village of Otaki and at the foot of the mountain in the town of Kiso, both in Nagano Prefecture.

Photos and videos showing the progress of the eruption and the rescue operations are on display, with the aim of passing on lessons of the disaster and providing information about the volcano. Personal belongings and parts of damaged facilities can also be seen.

At one facility in Kiso, a punctured wall of Ontake Shrine’s prayer hall is being exhibited, as well as the warped handrails of its stone steps. At another center in Otaki, the victims’ belongings, including cameras and clothing, are being displayed.

The facility in Otaki has been developed by the prefectural government, and the one in Kiso was created by the town government. Digital signage provides the latest information on volcanic activity, including eruption warning levels. Admission is free.

A 63-year-old woman from a group of bereaved family members said, “We must pass on the lessons of the worst postwar mountain disaster. I hope that this facility will serve as a base where everyone can gather.”