The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters
The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters Okinawa Reviews
Jan 25, 2008
In 1944 the Japanese Navy Corps of Engineers dug a tunnel complex for the Navy's Okinawa Headquarters. As the US took over Okinawa the Japanese Rear Admiral and his 6 officers shot themselves. In a final telegraph the Admiral detailed the sacrifices and dedication given by the people of Okinawa.
Now that the war is over they have turned this underground command area into a museum. It costs 420 Yen per person (about $4 USD) to enter this small museum. There is a welcome hall that you can see for free at the top of the hill that has some pictures and general information, however all of that information is in Japanese.
Before you go in be sure to look around outside. The headquarters is actually located in a hill so if you go to the top of the hill there is a great view of the city.
Once inside you'll find that the headquarters seemed pretty small with only a few rooms and hallways. The halls appeared to be made of concrete or were covered in plaster later but I think it was dug out by hand. In one of the rooms you can still see the marks left by the grenade that was used by the commanders as they committed suicide to prevent capture by the US soldiers. Many of the 'rooms' were actually just widened areas of the hall. I thought it was amazing that so many soldiers were able to fit in there at a time. The passageways are tall enough for most to stand up in. The command center does not go anywhere but rather it's a bunker that could be used as a headquarters during the war, safe from most bombings and easier to defend. There were only two ways in that the public is able to use/see however there were additional passages that were closed. Hopefully they'll open that up in the future.
There are brochures in English, and throughout the cave there are signs in English.
While the experience is neat, the museum staff could provide more information. Many of the rooms you visit don't have any educational signs at all. They have made some efforts though as there are several informational stands with pictures etc.
I thought this museum was worth the time and money and encourage you to visit it when you're in Okinawa
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