Chiran Peace Museum 知覧特攻平和会館
Final departure of the kamikaze
During World War II, the Chiran Airbase served as the final departure point for hundreds of young men who had joined the Tokko-tai special attack group, better known as kamikaze pilots. The Chiran Peace Museum was built in 1975 to memorialize the sacrifice of these young men and perhaps try to understand their motivations.
How to Get There
Located near the tranquil country town of Chiran, the museum is accessible by bus or car.
Buses depart for Chiran from Kagoshima Chuo Station and the Yamakataya bus center, and the trip takes one hour and 25 minutes. There is also a bus from Ibusuki Station, which takes an hour. If driving, it is best to combine a visit to the Chiran Peace Museum with a visit to the Chiran Samurai District and Ibusuki Onsen .
Of the 1,036 pilots who died in the Battle of Okinawa, 439 were from Chiran
Two World War II planes recovered from the seabed and one plane which is a life-size elaborate reproduction are now on display at the museum
A stark reminder of the horrors of war
Exhibits include a number of Japanese fighter planes, including a Mitsubishi Zero, excavated from the seabed in 1980. You can also see paraphernalia such as Imperial Rising Sun Flags and hachimaki headbands bearing wartime maxims. Take a walk around the pilots' bunkhouse to get a feel for the everyday lives of the young men who lived here.
Moving tributes, finding reconciliation
Perhaps the most moving aspect of the museum is the large number of letters and personal items left behind by the young pilots, giving a small insight into their mindsets before they strapped themselves into their planes for the final time. A shrine and temple are also on site, providing venues for visitors to pray for peace.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.