The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, Okinawa

walking down underground

walking down underground

One rainy day we were planning on heading to an outer island with friends but with the gloomy weather we decided to postpone and instead Matt & I knocked a rainy day activity off the good ol’ Okinawa Bucket List.

Fun Flying Four The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (2 of 14)

We settled on The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters knowing that it wasn’t an all day thing but also that there is a park near by if the weather cleared.

Fun Flying Four The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (3 of 14)

Unfortunately the weather didn’t really clear so we didn’t make it to the park but at least we made it out of the house and to t he Underground Headquarters.

Fun Flying Four The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (4 of 14)

After paying the small entrance fee (440 Yen for adults 220 Yen for children, pre-school aged kids are free) we walked past the 1,000 origami cranes which were created to represent the grief and pray for world peace for those individuals that lost their lives during the war and down the tunnel.

Fun Flying Four The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (5 of 14)

Eden’s first question was did they originally have electricity down in the tunnels; I was kind of surprised to find out they did!

the sign reads "wall riddled with hand-grenade when commit suicide"

the sign reads “wall riddled with hand-grenade when commit suicide”

The tunnels are 450 meters in length and hardened by concrete and posts, although only 300 meters of the tunnels have been opened to the public.

Fun Flying Four The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (8 of 14)

Serving as an underground headquarters the tunnels could sustain 4,000 soldiers! Having walked 2/3rd’s of these tunnels I am really surprised that they could sustain that many people.

the grooves in the wall were where the timber support beams once were

the grooves in the wall were where the timber support beams once were

We did see a few rooms (I didn’t get any photos) where soldiers slept which did have a sign saying that there were so many people they would have to sleep standing up.

the telegram written by Admiral Ota

the telegram written by Admiral Ota

The tunnels still exist in their original condition and you can see the marks made from hoes and picks from when they were built.

once above ground we walked around the grounds for a bit

once above ground we walked around the grounds for a bit

Two times I got the chills, the first when we walked through a room where the walls are covered in lots of holes; a result of hand-grenades going off when soldiers committed suicide.

just adore this concrete jungle

just adore this concrete jungle

The other time was when we came to a sign saying “This is how the Okinawan people have fought the war” it outlines a telegram that Admiral Ota sent to the vice minister of the Navy describing the situation in Okinawa and commending the Okinawans. It was sent June 6 1945….70 years earlier, to the day, that we were visiting.

flying!

flying!

Fun Flying Four The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (13 of 14)

At the end of the telegram it says “there are no trees, no grass, everything is burnt to the ground” it is so hard to imagine this beautiful little island looking so bare.

driving home!

driving home!

I have said it before that I don’t really know too much of the history here (or a lot of places actually!) which makes me sad, but we definitely feel its important to visit these various historical places to get a tiny glimpse into past times and the sacrifice so many people have made.

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6 responses to “The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, Okinawa

  1. 70 years ago now. So many people died needlessly. Love Eden’s dress and insight on having electricity.

  2. so true! It was very much like visiting the Arizona Mermorial. Just chilling to visit but how important is it to see the things of the past and hope that nothing that scary every happens again by learning from it.

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