Kure on the Seto Inland Sea approximately 45 minutes by train from Hiroshima is a city steeped in the historic charm and scenic beauty of the Seto Inland Sea and forms part of Japan’s industrial backbone. As the second oldest naval port it hosts the Yamato Museum, other attractions are the JMSDF Kure Museum, which houses a real submarine; and Alley Karasukojima, a waterfront park with stunning ocean views.
Yamato Museum explores modern maritime history, with torpedoes and a scale replica of the Yamato battleship and where visitors can also learn about the history of Kure, the technology of its past, and the importance of peace; The JMSDF Museum traces naval defense and houses the 1980s Akishio submarine. East of the city, trails lead to the peak of Mount Noro. On Kami-kamagari Island, an observatory overlooks the curved Kenmin-no-hama beach. There are also plenty of original local delicacies waiting to be enjoyed, such as Kure Navy Curry and thin udon noodles.
This museum showcases the history of Kure from its origins with Japan’s push for modernization after the Meiji Restoration – modernization built around steel and shipbuilding. The exhibits also explain the efforts and hardships experienced by the people who built the city. There is a 1:10 scale replica of the battleship ‘Yamato’ inside the museum as well as a real Mitsubishi Zero A6M fighter plane. On the third floor, there are ship simulators and other exhibits that let you experience and learn about the technology behind ships and shipbuilding firsthand.
Yamato Museum (Kure Maritime Museum )
Located next to the Yamato Museum, the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force Museum is also known as the “Iron Whale Museum”, after its main exhibit, the Yūshio-class submarine Akishio. The Kure museum also has exhibits related to minesweeping and submarine operations. It is a sister JSDF museums to existing related to aircraft at Kanoya and related to surface vessels at Sasebo
JMSDF Kure Museum
You’ll recall this spot mentioned in a previous post: One of the nicer swimming beaches with beautiful golden sand and stunning scenery and crystal-clear jade-green waters, stretching for more than four hundred meters on the south of Kami-Kamagari, it was beach was chosen as one of the top 100 beaches in Japan. The facilities around the beach offer everything from accommodation, chalets, restaurants, sea kayaking and a hot spring onsen bath.
Kure-shi, Hiroshima-ken 737-0402
On the western edge of the beach, you can find the astronomy observatory housing Japan’s largest Maksutov telescope. Guided tours can be booked or chance it by turning up at the space observation gathering every Saturday from 7:30 pm to 9 pm. It’s rare to find an observatory built so close to the sea and there is the opportunity to observe the stars while listening to the relaxing sound of the waves nearby.
Photos by Author