Sunday, 9 October 2016

Hiroshima-what more can I say.

Mon 3rd October

This is what I call a train.
  Yesterday we arrived in Hiroshima and I'm afraid that when you mention this city only one thing springs to mind and that is that on that fateful day at 08.15 on the morning of the 6th of August life changed for the whole world with the dropping of the first atomic bomb.
The A-bomb dome,the bomb exploded right above it.
                       Hiroshima has picked itself up and it has turned into a typical modern Japanese city with all its hustle and bustle but on the edge of its offices and shops lie the peace parks and the monuments dedicated to that fateful day.I'm not going to get on my soapbox and discuss the yeahs and neahs of this event as I'm sure many people have done before and wiil continue to do so for years to come.
Flame of peace
The one thing I'll say is that the difference between the two parts of the city is immense with the noisy business centre and the sombre peace parks and I assure you the peaceparks are sombre.
Statue of Mother and Children in the Storm
                       We spent the Sunday looking around the area before fininshing off the evening in a restaurant which had been established as a family business in 1941 and was still going strong.
And the food was still excellent
                       The following day we decided to go in different directions with Lady Watson heading off to see the peace parks whilst I was going to head for the Manga library and the on to Hiroshima castle but on arriving at the library found out that like most public buildings shuts on a Monday.So back on the bus with the intent of heading towards the castle.

                             Whilst on the bus I spotted a tv advert for the Japanese navy museum complete with full sized submarine on display and to add to this the museum dedicated to the Japanese battleship Yamato with an actual 1/10th scale model on display.Looked like my days plans were taking care off.
                      The museums were in a place called Kure were the actual Yamato was built so it was into the main railway station,on to a suitable train and off we went.The train sped through the suburbs of Hiroshima and after about 40 minutes arrived at Kure station.Once again Japanese efficiency came to the fore with clear signs pointing the way clearly to the museums.
                           I arrived after about ten minutes at the Yamato museum whose frontage is dominated by a ten inch gun barrel,propellor and rudder from the Japanese battleship Mutso, and proceeded with about a hundred schoolchildren in tow to look around the exhibits.
A very big gun
                           When you arrive into the main hall you are greeted by the sight of this enormous well detailed model of the Yamato which is not far off the size of a real warship.
Must have taken an awful lot of Airfix glue
and a lot of patience.
                                 Off to the side of the model are exhibits in smaller halls detailing the building,launching,service record and its ultimate demise at the hands of U.S navy planes.
In need of a little TLC
                                There were plenty of exhibits and pictures of its life and also the role of the Japanese navy in WW2 with models of some of the various ships,aircraft carriers and submarines on display.Also on display were souvenirs from the wreck which were recovered by salvagers.


and bobs.
                 As well as the Yamato the museum deals with the shipbuilding of Kure from its infant days involved with the building and refurbishing of warships up to its retooling and then its movement into commercial shipbuilding including giant oiltankers.

Awful lot of oil.
                                Moving on to an adjoining hall I was greeted by the sight of a full sized Zero fighter in all its glory.This was an amazingly restored aircraft with extra peices of equipment on display all around the plane.This aeroplane complements the other icons including the Spitfire and Me 109 as being mainstays of WW2 airforces being instantly recognisable straight away.
Simply gorgeous
                                 All in all a great museum to visit and it makes up for not being able to see the pre dreadnought battleship Mikasa which was built in Vicker's shipyards at Barrow in Furness in Cumbria and is on display in Yokusaka south of Tokyo.
Waiting for the great flood
                                 The modern Japanese navy's museum is literally a stone's throw away from the Yamato museum and provides a sharp contrast in equipment and doctrine to its WW2 counterpart and it has free entance.
                                    Even before you arrive at the front door of the museum you are greeted by the sight of the modern day Japanese submarine Akishio standing in all its glory looking as though it is still ready to put to sea.
                                     Inside you are greeted by very friendly staff who although don't speak much English are very enthusiastic and eager to point you towards all the exhibits.
This museum tells the story of the origins of the modern Japanese navy from its defeat at the end of WW2 to its modern role in today's tumultuous times being involved amongst other thing anti piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean.
                                        The Japanese navy post1945 started of as a coastal navy involved mainly clearing mines from around its own coast mainly their own.From there it built up its resources and equipment into now where it is the fifth biggest navy in the world boasting some very modern and high tec equipment including the introduction of helicopter carriers.

Bad guy-Russian of course
                                             There are displays of mines which the navy has come into contact over the years from its infant days right up to its modern adversaries mostly covered in Russian or Chinese cryllics.Also as part of this display are the methods which they use to combat these mines.Right at the start they used methods to combat these mines which included sometimes kamikaze steering the boat towards the mine before veering off at the last moment hoping to set the mine off,somethings never change.Nowadays the use seadrones and such are widespread complmenting the use of helicopters and age old sonar.

Good guy
Another bad guy
                                      Moving on through the museum you come to its displays showing the development of the post war submarines through to its modern fleet.There are displays of how modern submarines are laid out and also how life goes on in these 'tin cans'including lay outs of modern submarines right down to the ingenious ways they store fresh food.
Watch what you sit on.
                                        At the end of the displays you end up at the preserved submarine and proceeding on to it through the conveniently cut out doorways you find yourself on board the Akishio and are able to witness first hand the cramp conditions you find on board even the most modern submarines.Cramp bunks,eating areas,working spaces prevail with even the captain not being provided with a big living space.
Captain's quarters
Crew quarters
The high point for me was when the guide bade me to have a look through the periscope giving me a captain's view of the world.Lo and behold one of the new helicopter carriers was out in the bay but when I instinctively tried to find the torpedo button I found it had been covered in metal-bummer!
'Over here Tim san'
'Target 60"'
 A great end to a very informative visit and one I hope to repeat.
                                    Until the next time.See you when I see you.



  1. The Yamato model is really impressive.

  2. Really interesting museums. The Mutsu of WWII had 16" main guns.