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Osaka museum set for restoration

ANN/THE JAPAN NEWS – After a decade of incurring maintenance costs without any activity, the Osaka Maritime Museum, owned by the city, is now set to be revitalised.

Located in Suminoe Ward, the museum is poised for transformation into a facility that seamlessly integrates the realms of reality and virtual worlds.

The Osaka city government announced on November 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 JPY17.6 billion but closed in March 2013 due to a decline in visitors.

A rendering of the re-development of Osaka Maritime Museum. PHOTO: SYMPHONIC SOURIRE INC

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 JPY70 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 JPY61.6 million and will make a deal to rent the land for JPY1.98 million a month.