15 February 2013

Kure City

So this will be the first of my travel logs wherein I reminisce about some of the lovely parts of Japan that I have visited. First stop on this trip down memory lane is Kure city. This maritime city sits about three quarters of an hour east of Hiroshima city and was the first of many little solo adventures I took around Japan. It was a blistering summer day and I spent the afternoon darting from one shaded spot to the next trying to avoid spontaneously combusting in the glare of the sun. Being that it's a port city many of the museums and activities are based around the sea. The first place I took shelter from the sun was the Maritime Museum where they had a scale replica of the Yamato; a WWII battle ship, the biggest ever built.

So big it wouldn't even fit in a picture

The exhibits were all naval based and very interesting however what really got my attention was the gigantic room on the top floor for children to play with hands-on science exhibits demonstrating different aspects of the sea. There was also a lovely old man who there helped me make an origami boat.

Not gonna lie... He did most of it for me

Next stop on the road to avoiding spontaneous combustion was the naval museum directly across the road which had a submarine parked outside and connected to it via a bridge. I kid you not, an actual full sized, fully equipped submarine. The best part was when one of the volunteers inside directed my attention to the functional periscope through which I spied on some boats several kilometres out at sea. (Note to self: procure submarine...)

After this I walked across town, pausing under trees to rehydrate and recuperate, and strolled up the Avenue to the Art Museum one of Japan's "100 most beautiful streets". This street was mercifully lined with trees, shaded and had sculptures of varying themes on either side. Most were beautiful sculptures of people in various stylised poses.

So naturally this weird monster one was my favourite
This Avenue to the Art Museum does as the name says and leads to that destination but instead I turned in left at the top and went into a little complex of museums and old buildings called the Irifuneyama Memorial Museum

This little group of buildings, some of which were simply lifted from their original locations and plopped down here, are of course all related to the naval aspect of Kure. There is the old residence of a naval officer, a small clock tower which belonged to the naval arsenal, a small museum housing naval related artifacts, a small building, formerly used for ammunition storage, with several paintings (guess what the theme of the paintings was?) which had two electric fans that I followed back and forth for a while before moving onto the final part: a house belonging to a commander-in-chief of Kure naval station which is built in traditional Japanese style but also has a small wing designed and furnished in an extravagant European style which is quite in contrast to the other sparse and humble Japanese tatami rooms. Finally just as I was leaving the museum to make my way back to the station I took a picture of the city and an osprey flew into the shot just as I took it.

Boom! How'd ya like dem ospreys?!

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Maira Gall