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Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Park

Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Park Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Park is the area at the southern edge of Okinawa Island, and is located about 12 to 16 km south of central Naha city.
When the Pacific War was near its end, the American troops landed in Okinawa Island and waged a fierce battle here in 1945.

Japan army started the Pacific War (World War II) at bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 8th, 1941.
Map of Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National ParkAnd they occupied very wide area in western Pacific Ocean, but they became backfoot in the middle of 1942.
In July 1944, Japan army was lost in Saipan Island in the Northern Mariana Islands, so Okinawa became the next target of the allied forces.

Japan army sent over 116 thousand troops to Okinawa Island.
And Okinawa residents were moved to the north part of the island, but many residents were still in the southern part of the island due to insufficient order.

American troops started the attack to Okinawa on March 26th, 1945.
They landed at the mid-west coast of the island on April 1st, and succeeded the division of Japan army.

Japan army had planned to set the southern part of the island as the main battlefield.
But American troops were strong, so the battle line was moved to the south end in progression.
Japan army held against American troops, but the military potential dropped away.
Many Okinawan residents in this area were also involved in the fierce battle, so most of them were killed.

In June 13th, the commander Minoru Oota was killed himself in Underground Headquarters near Naha city.
In June 23th, the commander Mitsuru Ushijima killed himself in Mabuni Headquarters near the southern end of the island.
Virtually, this battle finished on this day.

(After that, American troops carried out air raids to many cities on the mainland of Japan.
And they dropped two A-bombs on Hiroshima (August 6th) and Nagasaki (August 9th), then the war ended with the unconditional surrender of Japan on August 15th.)

This battle involved a large number of Okinawa people, so it became one of the worst battles and the only ground battle in Japanese history.
Over 94 thousand Japanese soliders died, and more or less the same number of thousand Okinawa residents died.
(Also over 12 thousand American soldiers died during this battle.)

The southern area of the island where the fierce battles were waged has been designated as a quasi-national park since 1965.
The area is about 10 km from east to west and about 5 km from north to south in width, and includes the sea around the coast.
Many cenotaphs are dotted in this area, and there are some peace memorial parks.

Every year, Okinawa Prefecture holds the memorial ceremony on June 23rd.

Peace Memorial Park /1/

Peace Memorial Park Peace memorial Park is located on Mabuni Hill near southern coast of Okinawa Island.
On this hill, there was Mabuni Headquarters of Japan army.
Now, this park is the center leaving the fact of cruel Battle of Okinawa to posterity.
In the park, there are many facilities.

  • Peace Memorial Museum : It introduces the Battle of Okinawa from the viewpoint of Okinawan residents.
    Many articles and photos are displayed. The words by many people who experienced the battle are shown.
  • Okinawa Peace Hall : It is the hall with a heptagonal 45 meters high.
    In the hall, the statue for peace are set up.
  • Cornerstone of Peace : There are many stones on which the names of victims of Okinawa Battle are inscribed.
    Now, there are over 240 thousand names on the stones. They include Okinawan residents, Japanese soldiers, American soldiers and other foreigners.
  • National Cemetery for the Okinawa Battle dead : It is the cemetery for the people who were killed by the Battle of Okinawa.
    About 180 thousand peoples' bones are laid to rest.
    Around this cemetery, many cenotaphs are set up.

Tower of Himeyuri /2/

Himeyuri no tou It is the small stone tower located about 3.5 km west of Peace Memorial Park.

In March 1945, 222 schoolgirls and 18 teachers of a high school joined Japanese army as the nurses in the army hospital near Naha.
The team was called "Himeyuri Gakutotai" (Star Lily Corps).
But the attack by American troops became fierce, so they escaped to the underground shelters close to the south coast in May.
Unfortunately, this area was in a heavy combat situation.

At last, Japan army abandoned them in the confusion, so most of the young lives were the victims in the battle around the shelters.
Also surviving girls were cornered around coast, then they killed themselves there.

This tragic story was introduced with a novel and some movies, and many Japanese people knew the fact.
Many Japanese tourists visit here every day.

The tower was built in 1946 around the underground shelters.
Later, a large cenotaph was built. And there is the museum opened in 1989.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By route bus

  1. By route bus with route No.33, 46 or 89, about 40 minute from Naha terminal to Itoman terminal.
  2. By route bus with route No.82, from Itoman terminal, about 15 minute to Himeyuri-no-tou stop, about 25 minute to Heiwa-Kinendo stop.

Peace Memorial Park
Peace Memorial Museum Caterpillar of tank and torpedoes
Okinawa Peace Hall Cornerstone of Peace
Stone which the names of victims are inscribed A view of southern coast from the observatory
National Cemetery for the Okinawa Battle dead National Cemetery for the Okinawa Battle dead
Tower of Himeyuri Entrance of the shelter
Cenotaph Thousand paper cranes from high schools over the country

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