Minor earthquakes can be unsettling but major earthquakes are downright terrifying. How terrifying largely depends on where you are during an earthquake. If your sitting in the middle of a grassy park in the countryside you might notice trees swaying and feel a little movement. If you're at the top of a major structure your experience will be very different.
These 13 places are terrifying places to be during an earthquake. They aren't necessarily unsafe — just terrifying.
1. Komagatake RopewayThe Komagatake Ropeway in Hakone is the highest ropeway in Japan. It climbs to a height of 590 meters (1,936 feet). If you've ever been in an earthquake you know that anything that's hanging moves the most. This isn't a pleasant place to experience a major earthquake.
2. Tokyo Sky TreeTokyo Sky Tree is the tallest free standing structure in the World at 634 meters (2,080 feet). The tower features two earthquake dampers with a total weight of 100 tons. Dampers reduce the effect of an earthquake on a building. Nevertheless, the top of a tall building is known to be a dramatic place to experience an earthquake.
Generally, the amount of shaking is proportional to how high you are in a building.
3. Steel Dragon 2000 Roller CoasterJapan's tallest roller coaster.
4. Umeda Building EscalatorsThe World's highest escalator. Suspended between two massive office towers these glass wall escalators are 173 meters (567 feet) off the ground.
5. Fukuoka TowerThe tallest building built in Japan in the 1980s. New buildings are quieter and move less in a earthquake.
6. Tokyo TowerThe tip of Tokyo Tower was noticeably bent after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake.
7. Landing at Narita AirportJapanese airports usually get a warning before a major earthquake. Air traffic control tries to abort landings and takeoffs in the event of a large one.
Take offs and landings are shaky events — you might not notice the extra shaking of an earthquake. However, an earthquake can easily damage a runway within seconds. Roads are often destroyed by large earthquakes.
8. Sunshine 60Sunshine 60 was opened in 1978. It was the tallest building in Asia until 1985. It's designed to be flexible in a earthquake. Old Japanese buildings were designed to bend (not break) in an earthquake. They move far more than modern Japanese buildings. For occupants of the building — this can be discomforting.
9. E5 Series ShinkansenThe fastest bullet trains currently operating in Japan. Authorized to travel at 320 km/h (199 mph) with passengers.
Shinkansen are hardwired into Japan's earthquake warning system. They are designed to automatically brake in a quake. However, they have a long braking distance — if the epicenter of an earthquake is close by it's impossible to stop before the quake hits.
10. The Top of Mount FujiMount Fuji is a dangerous volcano. Earthquakes can trigger volcanic eruptions. The last time Mount Fuji erupted was after a major earthquake in 1707.
Landslides are another risk during major earthquakes.
11. Akashi Kaikyo BridgeJapan's tallest suspension bridge at 282.8 meters (928 feet) high. The Kobe Earthquake (Great Hanshin earthquake) on January 17, 1995 moved the towers of the bridge so far that an extra meter of road had to be added to its design.
12. Mitsukoshi Department Store in NihonbashiA old department store in Tokyo (1933). Earthquakes tend to be more noticeable in a department store because many items fall from shelves causing a great deal of noise and chaos.
13. Churaumi Aquarium in OkinawaThe Churaumi Aquarium is one of the World's largest aquariums. It's largest tank holds 7,500 cubic meters (2 million US gallons) of water. The water is held back with around 100 tons of acrylic glass. The glass is 60 centimeters (24 inches) thick. It's dangerous to stand near glass in a earthquake — especially glass that's holding back 2 million gallons of sea water.