Kure City in Hiroshima Prefecture, located on the Seto Inland Sea side, was once a city that prospered as a shipbuilding industry and as a military port for the now defunct Japan Navy. If you take a tour to the historical sites scattered throughout the city and the ships that are currently in active service, you will be able to experience the unique atmosphere of a naval port town. In this article, we will introduce recommended spots and specialty foods in Kure City.
Where is Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture?
Kure City, located in the southwestern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, is the third largest city in Hiroshima Prefecture after Hiroshima City and Fukuyama City. Bordering the Seto Inland Sea, it was a large city before World War II with a population of over 400,000, prospering as a naval port with the best shipbuilding technology in Japan.
From Hiroshima Station to Kure Station, it takes about 29 minutes on the JR Kure Line (Rapid) or about 46 minutes on the high-speed shared bus called the Clare Line.
Yamato Museum (Kure Maritime Museum)
While Kure is the birthplace of the battleship Yamato before the war, the Yamato Museum (Kure Maritime Museum) is a spot where you can learn about the history of Kure, which supported the modernization of Japan, and the history of the now defunct Japanese Navy.
The museum is divided into 4 floors, and you can see various exhibits on the 1st and 3rd floors. For example, in Yamato-Hiroba on the 1st floor, a one-tenth scale model of the 26.3m long battleship Yamato is displayed. Here you can also view blueprints during development and underwater images from the underwater surveys.
In addition, actual weapons developed during the war, such as torpedoes and the "Kaiten" type 10 torpedo weapon are on display, impressing tourists with an atmosphere at the time of development and the tragedy of war.
The 3rd floor is a floor where you can enjoy the hands-on experience booths and science shows. There is also a ship-handling simulator, an experimental tank where you can learn about the properties of waves, how a ship floats, how to build a ship, and an exhibition where you can experience the mysteries of science, so you can learn various techniques related to ships while still having fun. In addition, we recommend the Library where you can browse materials related to ships and history, and the Observation Terrace with a panoramic view of Kure Port! In particular, the Observation Terrace is one of the famous places where you can enjoy the charming townscape of Kure, such as the remains of the dock where the battleship Yamato was built, a huge tanker, and many ships coming and going. Furthermore, if you are lucky, you may even be able to see a submarine underway too!
- Yamato Museum (Kure Maritime Museum)
- Address: 5-20 Takaramachi, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Business hours:
- Exhibition room/museum shop 9:00-18:00 (Exhibition room entry until 17:30)
- Library 9:00-17:00
- Closed: Tuesdays (if Tuesday is a public holiday, closed the following day)
- Fees: Adults (university students and older) 500 yen, high school students 300 yen, elementary/junior high school students 200 yen, preschool children free
- Access: Take the JR Kure Line (Rapid) from Hiroshima Station for about 32 minutes and get off at Kure Station. 5 minutes on foot after getting off
Learn more about the charms of Kure at the JMSDF Kure Museum and on a cruise
Beside the Yamato Museum, Kure still has plenty of sightseeing spots around the area. For example, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum a.k.a. the "Iron Whale Museum" (てつのくじら館 / Tetsu no Kujira-kan) is a 1-minute walk from Yamato Museum. In addition to the exhibits on the 1st and 2nd floors where you can learn about the structure and functions of submarines, you can also tour the inside of the submarine Akishio, which was actually used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force from 1986 to 2004. One of the highlights is the a simulated experience of how the crew actually lives on board the ship.
We also recommend the Kure Bay Ship Tour. You can see large ships, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels, and submarines up close while cruising Kure Bay on a cruise ship. On the open deck on the 2nd floor, the guide will give you detailed explanations about Kure Bay and the ships, so even people who are not familiar with ships can enjoy to the fullest.
We especially recommend the last cruise, the Yukure Cruise. It operates every day according to the time of sunset and takes out to see the ceremony of lowering the Self-Defense Force flag from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship with the blowing of trumpets. A special cruise that you can't experience in daily life is sure to be the highlight of your trip!
- JMSDF Kure Museum (海上自衛隊呉史料館 / Kaijo jieitai kure shiryo-kan) a.k.a. the Iron Whale Museum (てつのくじら館 / Tetsu no Kujira-kan)
- Address: 5-32 Takaramachi, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Business hours:
- Shop: 10:00-18:00
- Cafe: 11:00-18:00
- Museum: 10:00-18:00 (Last entry 17:30)
- Closed: Tuesdays (closed the next day if Tuesday is a public holiday), December 29th to January 3rd
- Fee: Free
- Access: Get off at Kure Station. 5 minutes on foot after getting off
- Kure Bay Ship Tour (呉湾艦船めぐり / Kure wan kansen meguri)
- Business hours:
- Ship#1 departures at 10:00
- Ship#2 departures at 11:00
- Ship#3 (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) departures at 12:00
*No operation on weekdays
- Ship#4 departures at 13:00
- Ship#5 departures at 14:00
*Please come to the reception desk 20 minutes before departure. Also, the Yukure Cruise is a special service that departs 15 minutes before sunset. Departure time varies depending on the day, so please contact for exact time.
- Closed: Tuesday
*No service on bad weather days such as typhoons. Contact for details
- Price: Adults 1,500 yen, elementary school students 500 yen
- Departure location: Kure Chuo Sanbashi (Central Pier) Terminal: 4-44 Takaramachi, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture
*Please complete boarding procedures at the reception desk on the 1st floor at least 20 minutes before departure.
JMSDF Kure Curry is prefect for souvenirs and lunch of Kure Sightseeing!
In order to maintain the health of the members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel, many units eat curry for lunch every Friday. To eat like a local, how about tasting the same curry as the members do at various restaurants?
At the Kure Haikara Shokudo close to the Yamato Museum, you can taste the curry actually eaten by the members of the submarine in "Soryu" class. Curry that you can choose from two types of roux, a lot of garnishes, and for some reason (!?) milk is served in iron plate containers that were once used for school lunches in Japan. For the roux, you can choose between the mellow and rich soryu (そうりゅう) curry and the addictive sweet and spicy submarine (潜水艦 / sensuikan) curry, so you can choose according to your preference! There also sell pre-packaged JMSDF Kure Curry that make prefect souvenirs.
Kure City is known as a city that created a beautiful sea and the history of Japan's modernization. Enjoy the history and culture of Japan through various spots and gourmet foods in the city.