A few weeks ago, we went to the Former Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters.
Dug into a hillside outside of Naha, it’s one of the islands many reminders of the bloody Battle of Okinawa. In 1944, the Japanese Navy Corps of Engineers dug a 450 meter tunnel complex, by hand (rumor is that is was dug by slave labor, but I have no proof of that). Marks from the pickaxes can still be easily seen. Towards the end of the battle, after the severe attack by the Americans, the commanding officer and his staff committed suicide in the tunnels. The tunnels were sealed off until 1970, when the remains of 175 people were found. The tunnels have since been restored and are open to the public.
The entrance to the tunnels sits on top of a hill and the view is gorgeous! There isn’t a view on this island that isn’t gorgeous though. There is a small museum before you enter the tunnels. We looked around at the displays, but almost everything was in Japanese.
You enter the tunnels by stairs. Lots of stairs. They were slick and water was dripping, but I’m assuming it was ground water.
|Ignore my husband’s face, he was making faces at our daughter.|
Only about 300 meters of the original 450 meters of tunnels are open. The rooms are marked as to what they were used for. It’s easy to tell that they were dug by hand.
|The ceiling here was restored and is cinder blocks|
|Says: Wall riddled with a hand grenade when committed suicide|
It doesn’t take long to go through, but I thought it was worth the trip.