Two years ago, Japan was rocked by one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a tsunami that decimated Japan's northern coast.
Nearly 19,000 people were left dead or missing and officials say the exact number of those who perished will never be known.
The deadly earthquake and tsunami also caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, forcing thousands of people to abandon their homes to escape radiation.
More than 300,000 people remain displaced by the triple disasters, about half of them evacuees from areas near the nuclear plant.
Thousands gathered at Japan's National Theatre in Tokyo on Monday to observe a moment of silence at 2:46 pm, the time when the earthquake struck two years ago.
With files from CNN