Chisui Museum

A memorial to brave people near and far

By Bonson Lam   Oct 1, 2018 - 2 min read

I was with my friends in the car. The water outside was already level with the windscreen wipers, and slowly increasing. What should we do? Should we stay or go? She inched the car forward, but it only got worse, the water rising, inch by inch. I woke up. Thankfully, it was only a dream, but to many who thought they were going to die, it is a nightmare that keeps playing in their mind, again and again.

The Fukuchiyama Flood memorial museum, also known as Chisui museum, plays tribute to those that didn’t make it, as well as those that did to tell the tale. Sitting on top of a multi storey flood levy on a sunny day, it is hard to imagine the horrors of the flood, though the black and white pictures show clearly, people sitting on the rooftop, wondering if the water level will keep rising, and if they can swim to safety if it does. Then again, it was not too long ago when floods and landslides came through in another town, showing the awesome power of nature.

Just as importantly, it shows the power of individuals and communities, working together to pull together from disasters small and large. The volunteers here at this museum treated me like family, allowing me into their home and being able to experience what life was like in the late 19th century. Housed in an old merchant house, the interactive exhibits allowed me to experience every aspect of life here, from operating the pulleys for the well buckets, to a visualisation of how the flood water crept up to the attic.

Getting there

Walk, bike or cycle, the choice is yours. From Fukuchiyama Railway Station, it is a 20 minute walk, however bicycles are available for hire at the information centre. There are also buses or taxis that will take you to the museum.

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Join the discussion

Elizabeth Scally a month ago
In 2015, Joso City, Ibaraki Prefecture suffered a devastating flood when the Kinugawa broke its banks. I joined a volunteer cleanup group. My job was wiping down walls and windows covered in dried mud. The water line was over 2 meters in some houses. Flooding is truly scary.
Bonson Lam Author a month ago
There is nothing like being there to know the rawness of human emotions. It is great you can be there for the recovery effort, and amazing to see on the watermarks, how high the flooding came up to. Even on a sunny day out at sea another time, I remember almost drowning in the current, so I know how scary it can be.
Kim B a month ago
I'm sure it's a heartbreaking museum but I also love that it really seems to show human resilience and the power of banding together to get through natural disasters. It's an important lesson!
Bonson Lam Author a month ago
This is truly a requiem for the most unexpected heroes. It is so true that natural disasters can bring the worse and the best in people, but ultimately, a story of hope and one that shows our true colours and what kind of people we want to be.