Yokohama Part 2: The Hikawamaru

Being a famous harbor city, naturally Yokohama has some harbor-themed activities. Not the least of which is a tour of the retired ocean liner Hikawamaru:IMG_0920.JPG

Now a floating museum, the Hikawamaru was originally a luxury cruise liner in the 1930s. It would regularly make trips from Yokohama to Seattle. It a had a worldwide reputation for impeccable service and beautiful art-deco interiors (most of which are fully preserved today:IMG_0883IMG_0886IMG_0887IMG_0888

Many famous people travelled on the ship, including Charlie Chaplain, Kano Jigoro (the founder of Judo), and the Japanese Imperial family. The most famous passengers would stay in the luxury suite rooms.IMG_0891IMG_0892

Before Japan’s entrance into the war, the ship also transported hundreds of Jewish refugees out of Europe and into America. Their accommodations weren’t quite as nice, however.IMG_0919

Almost every inch of the ship was available to tourists, from the deck (which boasted excellent views of downtown Yokohama, and the harbor)…IMG_0896.JPG

…down to the very bowels of the engine itself.IMG_0908IMG_0914IMG_0911

It’s difficult to appreciate the scale of the interior from these pictures, but it was cavernous. The above photo encompasses an area about the size of a three-story house.

Even the wheelhouse and the communications center were free to peruse:IMG_09061024px-Wheelhouse_of_Hikawa_Maru_DSCN7982_20091029It was really cool seeing all the navigation equipment, machinery, and maps from the 1930s.

There was also plenty of english available so we were able to really understand a lot of what we were seeing.


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