CONTRIBUTED BY HEATHER NORDELL
World War II ended on August 15, 1945. In Japan the day is known as Shuusen-kinenbi (終戦記念日), which literally means the “Memorial day for the end of the war”. In 1982 the Japanese government issued an ordinance that designated August 15 to be “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace”. What better way to commemorate this day than visiting the Peace Memorial Museum?
So if you can’t tell from the intro. this post was meant for last Friday. I had planned to visit the museum during the week prior and then post on it in time for the holiday. Life got in the way and we were unable to make it to the museum until yesterday. I am so glad that we took the time to visit the museum and surrounding park. The drive there was beautiful but a little long. Maps can be very deceiving. On the map it looked very close but when you are driving 40km even things that are close can take awhile to get to. I will admit that we added an extra hour onto the drive by missing the park and heading too far up the coast.
The museum and surrounding park are beautiful. The surrounding park is large and right on the coast so there are many breathtaking views of the ocean. We decided that the park itself would be worth a trip back. We could have spent the entire day roaming around the park. After spending some time exploring the park we decided to head inside to see the museum.
The museum was an amazing, thought provoking, and at times heartwrenching experience. It shed so much light on what the Okinawans endured during and after The Battle of Okinawa. I learned so much about the history of this island and the things that led up to the battle. The displays were very well done and even my 5-year-old daughter was interested in them, although she did prefer The Children’s Exhibition Room downstairs. The Children’s Exhibition Room is full of wonderful hands-on exhibits that help nurture peace and understanding.
I have been looking forward to visiting this park and the museum since we arrived on the island. I love that I was able to take my daughter and teach her more about the role this island played in WWII. I truly believe that we must learn from our past in order to create a better future.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, CLOSED Mondays and from December 29 to January 3.
Payment: Admission is ¥300 for adults and ¥150 for children.
Directions: Take highway 58 south until it becomes route 331. Continue south to the bottom of Okinawa and you will see road signs in English and Japanese leading you all the way to the park. Free parking is available.
For more information visit The Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum