This abandoned Fukushima Supermarket stands frozen in time. The supermarket was abandoned during the aftermath of the tsunami that struck on 11th March 2011. We visited Fukushima in 2019, during our Japan Road trip. You can read about our adventures here; Japan Road Trip Blog Part 1, Japan Road Trip Blog Part 2.
Strangely, the electronic price tags still display the prices nearly a decade later. Luckily for us, the smell of rotten food has disappeared over the years. The supermarket smelled musty, filled with stale air after years of abandonment. Looters have ransacked the shop, and rubbish and packaging litter the floor.
What is left inside Fukushima Supermarket?
The well-stocked shelves still carry every item you can imagine. Freezer chests filled with empty packaging; the food long decomposed. Crates of beer and soft drinks stand neatly stacked near the checkout kiosks.
As well as grocery items, this supermarket also sold household goods. There is aisle after aisle featuring toiletries, stationery, kitchenware, and other sundries. Towards the back of the supermarket are the deli, seafood and bread counters. At the front of the stall is a Fujicolor photo kiosk.
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
The earthquake occurred at 2.46am, on 11th March 2011. The epicenter was 10km east off the Oshuka Penninsula. The event had a magnitude of 9.0-9.1. This event is often called the Great East Japan Earthquake. Another common name is the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake. This was the most powerful earthquake to strike Japan since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The power of this earthquake was so great, that the island on Honshu 2.4m to the east. The earthquake also affected the earth’s rotational axis and speed.
The tsunami generated travelled westward towards Japan. Initially, it was only a few cms tall. Subsequently, the amplitude dramatically amplified when it reached the shallow coastal water. This 40m wave travelled at up to 10kmph when it struck the coast of the Sendai region. Residents only had 10 minutes warning to evacuate. More than 10,000 people were killed by the tsunami.
Level 7 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
The earthquake caused a level 7 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex. The earthquake-damaged power station shut down, as per protocol following an earthquake. The tsunami inundated the seawall defences, flooding the generators and taking them offline. Without electricity to power the cooling systems, the plant began to heat up. Hydrogen gas also built up, due to the ventilation systems being inoperable. Eventually, there were several explosions that resulted in nuclear material being released into the surrounding area. Residents within a 20km radius of the nuclear plant were evacuated.