The Kure Maritime History and Science Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館 Kureshi Kaiji Rekishi Kagakukan), also known as Yamato Museum (大和ミュージアム), is located in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture. Its central exhibit is a 1/10 scale model of the IJN battleship Yamato. The Yamato was built at the location of the current museum, which depicts the history of the Kure Naval Base, founded in 1889, and the Kure Naval Dockyard, established in 1903. The museum opened its gates in 2005, but severe space constraints meant that many of its 230,000 exhibits had to be stored in other warehouses. A 6.8 billion-yen renovation project launched in November 2022 will add a new warehouse facility that will be completed by 2025 and open to the public by 2027.


Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)

The museum's first floor depicts the history of Kure, a town incorporated on 1 October 1902. From 1889 until 1945, Kure served as the headquarters of the Kure Naval District. During the Second World War, Kure was the most extensive naval base and arsenal of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Kure Naval Arsenal built the world's largest battleship, the Yamato (大和), launched in 1940, which served as the Combined Fleet's flagship until 1943. On 7 April 1945, the Yamato was sunk 290 kilometres southwest of Kyūshū, taking most of her 3,300-strong crew with her.

The museum's lobby holds a model of the Yamato on a 1/10 scale, measuring an imposing 26.3 metres. The model was based on original drawings, photos, and underwater images from submersible surveys.

Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)


Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)


Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)

Also, on the first floor, the Large Objects Exhibition Room displays a Mitsubishi A6M Zero model 62, a Kaiten human torpedo, a Kairyū-class submarine, as well as several 16-inch and 18-inch shells and shell replicas of Japanese battleships.

Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)

The museum displays a Kairyū (海龍, "Sea Dragon") midget submarine produced in 1945. These submarines were meant to engage the invading American naval forces upon their anticipated approach to Tōkyō. The Kairyū was the world's first winged submersible, developed to dive, travel, and surface underwater as agile as an aircraft. Kure Naval Arsenal carried out the development and the experiments while the submarine was constructed mainly at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal and the Naval Training Academy.

Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)

The later, mass-produced type was conceived for underwater suicide missions, packing 600 kilograms of explosive charges in its bow and smashing into its main target after releasing its torpedoes mounted on either side. The Kairyū exhibited at the Kure Naval Museum sank after being struck in the stern by a rocket fired from a US navy plane at Ajiro Port in Shizuoka in 1945. It was retrieved from the sea floor in May 1978.

Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)


Kairyū (海龍, Sea Dragon)


Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)

Other museum facilities include a section on shipbuilding technology with a ship-handling simulator, a library, a citizens' gallery, a gift shop, an observation terrace on the fourth floor where people can view Kure Harbour, and the Yamato theatre, showing film footage related to the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)


Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)


Kure Maritime Museum (呉市海事歴史科学館)

Right across the street lies the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum (海上自衛隊呉史料館) displaying the retired JMSDF Yūshio-class submarine Akishio (SS-579).

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum (海上自衛隊呉史料館)


Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum (海上自衛隊呉史料館)


Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kure Museum (海上自衛隊呉史料館)


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Address: 5-20 Takaramachi, Kure, Hiroshima 737-0029; phone: 0823-25-3017.

Access: about 32 minutes from JR Hiroshima Station by JR Kure Line Rapid Liner. The museum is some 300 metres southwest of JR Kure Station. The museum parking lot has space for 67 cars (100 JPY/hour).

Opening hours: open daily 09:00-18:00 (last entry 17:30) except Tuesdays. If Tuesday is a public holiday, the museum will be closed the following day. The museum library is open Library 09:00-17:00.

Admission: 500 JPY (adults), 300 JPY (high school students), 200 JPY (elementary and junior high school students). Group discounts are available.
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