Monday, 13 November 2017

Barks in Japan- Kure naval museums

I took a 30 min train trip from Hiroshima, along the Inland Sea, to Kure. Kure became a shipbuilding town after the Meiji restoration of the late 19th century. It is most famous for constructing IJN Yamato, then the world's heaviest armed battleship, in the late 1930s.

Yamato Museum

The Kure Maritime Museum is better known as the Yamato Museum. It is a well-laid out museum with adequate English signage, following the history of Kure's shipbuilding from its earliest days, through early 20th century conflicts and pivoting to post-war merchant vessels. The highlight, of course, is the spectacular 1:10 scale Yamato model- 26m long! There are also many 1:100 model ships, and some WW2 midget submarines and a Mitsubishi Zero.

IJN Yamato

46cm guns

Yamato was sunk in April 1945 by aerial attack, on a one-way mission to Okinawa. Her wreck has been located and she lies in 350m of water.
Bow on the left, stern and mid-section flipped on the right.
Brace yourself for a lot of 1:100 model ship pics! We'll start with early 20th century and move forwards chronologically.
Dispatch boat Miyako

First Class Cruiser Tsukuba

Submarine No.6. This boat sank, and the trapped captain became a posthumous hero for his recovered notes.

Battleship Kongo

Battleship Nagato.

Aircraft Carrier Akagi

First Class Cruiser Mogami

I-16 and I-52. Note the midget submarine!

I-37 and I-400. Note the seaplanes and midget sub!

Postwar tanker Nisseimaru

Tanker Ihi
Even my eyes glazed over when faced with more ships...

All those models above are the same scale!

Mitsubishi Zero

Kamikaze submarine/ manned torpedo

1:3000 scale model of Kure

The Iron Whale

On the other side of the road from the Kure Maritime Museum is the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Museum, better known as The Iron Whale, for obvious reasons.

SS-579 Akishio
JDS Akishio is a Yushio-class diesel-electric boat which was in service from the mid 1980s to the mid 2000s. She's 76m long, and has had holes cut in her so visitors can walk around without having to squeeze through hatches.
On the inside.
The JMSDF Museum is free, and has one floor devoted to submarines, and another devoted to minesweeping. Japan send the minesweeping tender Hayase to help clear up the Persian Gulf after the Gulf War.
Postwar submarines

Hayase- note the rotary cannon on the bow.

20mm rotary cannon from the Hayase for destroying surface mines.

Kure is a nice little day excursion from Hiroshima. Highly recommended for those of a naval interest.
Panoramic view out over the shipyards

Next time- notes on Japanese hobby shops.


  1. Absolutely fascinating and my word that first model is impressive!

    1. It is so big, it's hard to get good photos of it!

  2. That would have been amazing to visit, really jelly. Thanks for the pics.

    1. It's not on the conventional tourist trail, but it is very achievable.

  3. WOW!!! That is certainly one big chunk of awesomeness! Thanks for sharing your amazing photos, you Lucky Dog!