Kure, which faces the Seto Inland Sea, is well known for being a natural port geographically and has flourished as a naval base since ancient times. Here are some recommended spots in the navy-related Kure for you to explore.
1. Yamato Museum
Kure is known for being the birthplace of the Battleship Yamato, and it's a town that flourished in the 19th century as the modernization of Japan led to the demand for the shipbuilding and steel industries. At Yamato Museum, visitors can learn more about the history of modernization in Kure, as well as the various forms of science and technology of the shipbuilding and steel industries. The most eye-catching exhibit on display is probably the 1:10 scale model of the Battleship Yamato. The Battleship Yamato was a masterpiece, built using the latest technology available during her time! This museum definitely deserves a salute, as even now, the exhibit is remodeled whenever new information or historical facts are made available. Aside from that, there are many other exhibits within the museum, such materials related to the Zero Fighters, the mechanism behind the buoyancy of boats, and even a water tank to experiment on the nature of waves. This place is recommended for both young and old alike.
2. JMSDF Kure Museum
The JMSDF Kure Museum is also lovingly termed "Tetsu no Kujira Kan," meaning "the iron whale building." At this museum, not only can you learn about history relating to submarines and minesweepers, but also the history of the Maritime Self-Defense Force and its connections to Kure. The eye-catcher here is "Akishio," the very first Japanese submarine, which is on display outdoors. You can have a valuable experience here, by getting on to the submarine, taking a look at the captain's and officers' rooms, or even taking part in a simulation of the environment underwater and the typical daily life of a crew member on board a submarine. The nearby Alley Karasukojima, where JMSDF submarines and escort ships are anchored, is the one and only park in Japan where you can get up close and personal with a submarine. As this is a rare chance, do take the time to pay this museum a visit.
The actual submarine, Akishio
The majestic view from Alley Karasukojima
3. Irifuneyama Memorial Museum
This museum is located within the grounds of Irifuneyama Park. With the Former Kure Chinjufu Naval Commander's Official Residence as its center, various exhibits pertaining to the Imperial Japanese Navy are on display in buildings such as the Kure Museum and the Museum of History and Folklore. The Former Kure Chinjufu Naval Commander's Official Residence, which is the main building of the memorial museum, is a single-story wooden structure that was completed in 1905. The front part of the building was built western-style, whereas the area further back in was built Japanese-style, blending together the best of both worlds. During the Meiji Era (1868 - 1912), such a structure was rare, and it was designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1988. The walls of the commander's office and cafeteria located in the western-style section are put up with kinkarakawashi, an expensive type of wallpaper, giving it a very grand and refined feel. As there are few buildings remaining in Japan that use kinkarakawashi, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to pay this place a visit!!
Former Kure Chinjufu Naval Commander's Official Residence
Former Kure Chinjufu Naval Commander's Official Residence （Western-style Section･Guest Rooms）
4. Ondonoseto Park
"Ondonoseto" refers to the strait between Kure and Kurahashi Island on the Seto Inland Sea towards the southwest of Kure. Ondo Ohashi Bridge, which was completed in 1961, is the oldest bridge connecting the various islands of the Seto Inland Sea. This park, which has an elevation difference of 200 meters and a size of 22.1 hectares, stretches from the east end of Ondo Ohashi Bridge all the way to Takakarasudai. Approximately 8,300 azaleas decorate the walking paths and slopes, and your eyes are in for a feast during the start of summer, when the azaleas bloom in their full glory right beside the scarlet arch-shaped Ondo Ohashi Bridge. It is also worth climbing up all the way to have a bird's eye view of the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea at Takakarasudai Observatory.
The Second Ondo Ohashi Bridge and Ondo Ohashi Bridge
5. Akinada Tobishima Kaido
Kure, as well as the 5 islands to the southeast of Kure, are connected by 7 bridges spanning 5,300 km. There are many places worth visiting here, such as Shimokamagari Island, which flourished as a strategic entrance for sea vessels, Kamikamagari Island, blessed with a beautiful view of the seaside, or Osakishimo Island which retains most of its atmosphere from the Edo Period (1603 - 1867). Although you should go on a nice road trip to take in all the sights that these old towns have to offer, you definitely shouldn't miss the Mitarai area of Osakishimo Island. Mitarai flourished as a harbor for ships to waiting for a favorable tide to set sail in the middle of the 17th century, and even in present times, remnants of its former glory can be seen all over the town. It has also been designated as an Important Preservation District of Historical Buildings since 1944. Visitors can feel as though they have traveled back in time while taking a stroll through the town, which is surrounded by a traditional atmosphere.
Akinada Tobishima Kaido, The view from the observatory deck of Ippojisan
Remnants of the Waka-Ebisuya in Mitarai District
Were you interested in any of these places? There are still many more other places to see in the warm area of Kure, which faces the Seto Inland Sea and is surrounded by nature. Do make a trip here to see the charms of Kure for yourself!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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