A Powerful Symbol of japan‘s Wartime History: The Hikawa Maru
The Hikawa Maru is a significant historical landmark in Japan, serving as a powerful symbol of the country’s wartime history. Commissioned by the Navy as a hospital ship during World War II, this ship has witnessed and played a crucial role in the events that shaped Japan during that time. Today, the Hikawa Maru stands as a well-preserved museum, allowing visitors to wander its decks and learn about Japan’s wartime history.
The ship made its maiden voyage from Kobe to Seattle in 1930, marking the beginning of its illustrious career. It served as a passenger and cargo vessel, crossing the Pacific an astounding 254 times over a period of 30 years. This feat alone speaks to the ship’s durability and reliability, as it braved the treacherous waters of the Pacific Ocean time and time again.
Now, the Hikawa Maru is moored in Yokohama harbor, where it serves as a museum ship. Its location in Yokohama makes it easily accessible for tourists, and its presence adds to the vibrant history of the city. Visitors can explore the ship’s interiors and gain insights into what life was like on board during the war. The Hikawa Maru offers a unique perspective on Japan’s wartime history, allowing visitors to connect with the past and understand the sacrifices made by those who served on this ship.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Hikawa Maru’s history is its role in transporting Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution to Canada and the USA during the Second World War. As a hospital ship, it also played a vital role in transporting wounded soldiers back to Japan for medical treatment. Despite being struck by torpedoes on three separate occasions, the Hikawa Maru managed to avoid serious damage and sinking due to its sturdy construction with thicker steel plates than other ships. This resilience is a testament to the ship’s design and the skill of its builders.
After its decommissioning in 1960, the Hikawa Maru found its permanent home in front of Yamashita Park in Yokohama. Since then, it has been open to the public, allowing visitors to experience firsthand the history of this remarkable ship. In 2016, it was designated a National Important Cultural Property, highlighting its significance and preserving it for future generations.
For those interested in delving deeper into the history of the Hikawa Maru, a visit to the nearby NYK Maritime Museum is highly recommended. Located northwest of the ship near Bashamichi Station, the museum offers a wealth of exhibits, artifacts, and documents related to the Hikawa Maru’s operator, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK). Visitors can gain a comprehensive understanding of the ship’s history and its role in Japan’s maritime industry before, during, and after the war.
Visiting the Hikawa Maru and the NYK Maritime Museum is a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Japan’s wartime history. It allows visitors to pay homage to the brave men and women who served on this ship and gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made during those tumultuous times. The Hikawa Maru stands as a testament to Japan’s resilience and serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving historical artifacts for future generations.
To reach the Hikawa Maru, visitors can take a train and walk from many of Yokohama’s main tourist spots. The ship is moored in front of Yamashita Park, with the nearest station being Motomachi-Chukagai Station on the Minatomirai Line. This line connects to major stations such as Yokohama and Shibuya, making it convenient for tourists to access the ship. The closest JR stations are Ishikawacho and Kannai, both approximately 15 minutes away. Additionally, the Sea Bass ferry stops at Yamashita Park, offering another transportation option for visitors.
In conclusion, the Hikawa Maru is a captivating historical landmark that provides a unique perspective on Japan’s wartime history. Its status as a museum ship allows visitors to step back in time and experience life on board during World War II. The ship’s resilience and the stories it holds within its walls serve as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by those who served on this vessel. A visit to the Hikawa Maru and the NYK Maritime Museum is a must for anyone interested in understanding Japan’s wartime history and paying tribute to the brave individuals who played a part in it.
(Note: The information provided in this article is subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions. It is recommended to check the latest updates before planning a visit to the Hikawa Maru and the NYK Maritime Museum.)
Address And Maps Location:
Yamashita Park, Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken