Japan has a long maritime history of various naval interactions among different nations. In the Warring States Period, feudal lords started competing for supremacy that they built several hundreds of warships.
However, when Japan was defeated in World War II, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was formally created which was tasked with the naval defense of the whole country. A museum was even dedicated to educating the public of the submarine self-defense force which can be found in the city of Kure, Hiroshima.
The JMSDF Museum is a three-story brick building which has been open since 2006 and is situated across the Yamato Museum (which is equally fascinating). It was primarily aimed at exhibiting submarines and minesweeping techniques and educating JMSDF personnel and the public through public relations activities. The basic concept is focused on the history of JMSDF and its relationship with the city.
The museum also explains the operations of the Fleet Submarine Force and Mine Warfare Force which isn’t a familiar to many people. The real submarine is on exhibit which makes the whole place just as interesting. Visitors are given the chance to ride in a real submarine (Akishio) where they get to explore the interior. The submarine is said to have been launched in Kobe in the year 1985 and continuously served until 2004.
JMSDF Museum has three floors dedicated to a different purpose. The first floor introduces the history of JMSDF and its modern day situation. The second floor is for coastal minesweeping which includes advances in minesweeping, types of mines and minesweeping techniques, helicopter minesweeping, functions and types of minesweeper coastal and international contribution. The third floor is for submarine activities where visitors can learn more about what a submarine is, its functions, life in a submarine, the path to becoming a submariner, threats to submarines, history of torpedos and submarine rescue strategies. Visitors will learn how difficult life was for 75 submariners where they were all cramped together in a small space.
If you’re interested in submarines and have never been inside a submarine before, then this is definitely the perfect destination for you as your travel through Japan!