Tōkyō WWII Sites
Most of the Pacific War was in the southern islands of Okinawa and Kyūshū. Tōkyō was utterly destroyed in the Firebombing of 1945. Unbeknownst even to locals, there are still a handful of spread out ruins in the Greater Tōkyō Metropolitan Area.
war tourism, heritage tourism, historical tourism, battlegrounds, WWII, WWII Japan
World War II in Asia ended with dramatic assaults from the South Pacific up to Okinawa and eventually Kyūshū. The Tōkyō Air Raids devastated the seat of government of the Japanese Empire as well as impoverishing Asia’s most prosperous and modern city – then there were two nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Prior to 1945, this level of mass destruction was unprecedented in human warfare. Most of what is preserved in popular memory here is family stories and 7 decades of historians trying to make sense of it. Unlike Europe, where battlegrounds still exist, very little remains north of Okinawa in Japan. Even less remains in Tōkyō. That said, if you want to devote a whole day to it, we can probably hit up about three spots in the Greater Tōkyō Area.
I’m currently working on two more WWII-related tours. As it looks now, I’m thinking about a two night/three day excursion and another much more involved two week tour. These WWII tours are in development, so if you have questions or suggestions about this, please contact me.
- Tōkyō Station
Recently restored, but this station bore the scars of war until 2012 when the façade was restored to its 1914 glory. Dutch-influenced dome artwork was lost in the war and is now visible again!
- Kamakura Bridge
This is the only concrete bridge with bullet holes that remains in the capital.
- Tachikawa Airfield Power Station
This is quite far outside of the city; Occupation Era ruins exist, but are not easily accessible; dramatic signs of aircraft-launched ordinance is still visible.
- Yasukuni Shrine
There’s a revisionist history “museum” called Yūshū-kan which, for better or worse, gives a certain point of view of WWII. To this day, a small but hawkish, right-wing element of society honors this shrine.
- Chōfu Airfield WWII Hangars
Three hangars for WWII fighter planes remain.
- NHK Broadcast Museum
See the actual vinyl recording of Emperor Hirohito announcing Japan’s surrender to the country, a recording that was almost lost in a last minute military coup.
- Tōkyō Air Raid and War Damage Center
I highly suggest centering your entire tour around this museum.
- Yoshimi Tunnels
Originally a cluster of burial chambers from Japan’s Kofun Period (300-600), we can also see a network of tunnels created to hide arms and ordinance factories built for a last stand against a US land invasion that never happened.
- I’m more than happy to bring you to a fun restaurant.
- As you can imagine, WWII isn’t a popular subject in Japan. Most people just want to put that part of history behind them. Other than dinner or karaoke, I have no add-ons to suggest.
Starts at ¥35,000
LIMITED INTRODUCTORY PRICE