Hida Space Science Museum KamiokaLab, which explains the workings of the neutrino observatory Super-Kamiokande, opens in Hida, Gifu Prefecture, on March 27. (Video taken by Shuhei Yamashita)

HIDA, Gifu Prefecture--For the scientific-minded and budding young scientists, the opening of a space science museum here showcasing a local research facility that observes sub-atomic particles called neutrinos is no small thing.

Before the opening of Hida Space Science Museum KamiokaLab on March 27, about 100 people waited in line for the doors to open. After the opening, children gave cries of delight when they saw a video on a giant screen explaining the mechanism for observing neutrinos.

“As I like the universe, I want to come here repeatedly to study it,” said Shota Nakata, 7, a local elementary school first-grader.

The world’s most advanced research facilities in the field of space physics are located in the Kamiokacho district of Hida, Gifu Prefecture.

The facilities include the Super-Kamiokande, a neutrino observatory, and Kagra, a gravitational wave telescope that will go into operation in autumn. Both are operated or will be operated by the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (ICRR) of the University of Tokyo.

To have people feel a connection to those facilities, the Hida city government established the space science museum by renovating a roadside shopping facility called “michi no eki” (road station).

To celebrate the opening of the museum, Takaaki Kajita, a 2015 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, visited there on March 27.

In the museum, Kajita, who is the ICRR director, saw photomultiplier tubes used to observe elementary particles. He received his Nobel Prize “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass.”

Kajita said he was "moved" when he saw the scope of the museum.

"I want this museum to become a catalyst for children to have an interest in science,” he said.

Admission is free. The museum is closed on Wednesdays.