Been living in Tokyo for nearly 10 years but only recently managed to visit Yokosuka last Saturday - inspired to go after member punynari joined dannychoo.com and watching something on Yokosuka on the TV the other day.
Photo was taken in the afternoon-ish in Dobuita street at Yokosuka. A bunch of men carrying a Mikoshi which we talked about in the Japanese Festivals photo article. Video taken below on the Lumix LX3.
Zooming back a few hours after arriving at Yokosuka - the Shoppers Plaza is ideal for parking and immediately shows up after punching in the phone number into the car navigation.
Here they have a few cars on display which we take a gander at.
Feel like some Thai food so its outside to the parking lot.
Here we see folks lining up for tickets for a cruise around the harbor to see the military ships. The last cruise is at 2pm I think (?) and lasts about 45 mins.
Reading up on the history of a location before visiting it will give you an enlightened view of the area. Some Yokosuka facts plucked from Wikipedia below. The adventurer William Adams (inspiration for a character in the novel Shōgun), the first Briton to set foot in Japan, arrived at Uraga aboard the Liefde in 1600. In 1612, he was granted the title of samurai and a fief in Hemi within the boundaries of present-day Yokosuka, due to his services to the Shogun. There he founded a family with Oyuki, the daughter of Magome Kageyu, a noble samurai and official of Edo Castle. William and Oyuki had a son called Joseph, and a daughter, Susanna. A monument to William Adams (called Miura Anjin in Japanese) is still visible in Yokosuka.
In 1853, United States naval officer Matthew Perry arrived in Tokyo Bay with his fleet of Black Ships and came ashore near present day Yokosuka, leading to the opening of diplomatic and trade relations between Japan and the United States.
Yokosuka became the first modern arsenal to be created in Japan. The construction of the arsenal was the central point of a global modern infrastructure, that was to prove an important first step for the modernization of Japan's industry. Modern buildings, the Hashirimizu waterway, foundries, brick factories, and technical schools to train Japanese technicians were established.
Yokosuka was to become one of the main arsenals of the Imperial Japanese Navy into the 20th century, in which were built battleships such as Yamashiro, and aircraft carriers such as Hiryū and Shōkaku. Major naval aircraft were also designed at the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal. The only preserved pre-Dreadnought battleship in the world, the Mikasa in Yokosuka.
Between 1938 and 1945 more than 260 caves in more than 20 separate tunnel/cave networks were built throughout the base. There are 27 kilometers of known tunnels on the base. Many more tunnels are scattered throughout Yokosuka and the surrounding areas. During the war, these tunnels and caves provided areas in which work could be done in secrecy, safe from air attacks.
A 500 bed hospital, a large electrical power generating facility, and a midget submarine factory and warehouse were among the many facilities in caves around the base. During the war, more than 800 personnel actually lived in these caves. Each naval base department was ordered to dig its own caves, which accounts for the lack of an overall organization to the cave and tunnel system. In 1992, a complete survey of all known caves was conducted, and all the caves except for three still in use were sealed up for safety reasons. The cave that is currently used as a command bunker by the US military was used for several years after the war to grow mushrooms, which were sold in the commissary for three yen per box.
The base has been used by the US Navy since 1945, and is the largest naval facility in Japan.
Yokosuka now is home to one of the biggest military seaports shared by the United States Navy and the Maritime Self-Defense Force of Japan. The US Navy nuclear powered USS George Washington is currently in its home port at Yokosuka Naval Base. On October 28, 2005, the US Navy announced that in 2008 the USS Kitty Hawk will be replaced by the USS George Washington, a nuclear powered Nimitz class carrier.
A US Navy spokesman said the decision was a mutual agreement between the United States and Japan. Hiroyuki Hosoda, a top spokesman for Japan's government, said, "We believe that the change (of the carriers) will lead to maintaining the solid presence of the U.S. Navy and contribute to keeping Japan's security and international peace into the future." This would be the first time a U.S. nuclear powered ship would be permanently based in Japan.
Dobuita street. According to Wikipedia, A river called Dobu Kawa used to run down here but was an obstacle for vehicles. A military factory provided some huge steel plates to cover up the river this the naming "Dobu-Ita" where "Ita" means a "plate like object."
The plates and river was removed after a while.
These days one can find military goods and souvenirs. I saw a few belts and pouches that would have looked good with stormtrooper armor but wifey stopped me in my tracks ^^;
For those who have wondered about these cats - they are called "Maneki Neko" and are thought to bring good luck to the owner. Wikipedia has an interesting cultural note:-To Americans and Europeans it may seem as if the Maneki Neko is waving rather than beckoning. This is due to the difference in gestures and body language recognized by Westerners and the Japanese, with Japanese beckoning by holding up the hand, palm out, and repeatedly folding the fingers down and back up, thus the cat's appearance.
Some Maneki Neko made specifically for Western markets will have the cat's paw facing backwards, in a beckoning gesture more familiar to Westerners.
After walking for a while, we came across some indoor shopping arcade. Here they had some examples of house prices.
This place was built a few years ago and costs 29800000 yen and comes with 200 square meters of land.
Also comes with a view of the sea and Mt Fuji. Rather nice and costs less than half what our house cost - maybe nice for retirement folks but probably difficult for those who need to commute into Tokyo every day for example.
Some Wiki Wisdom below. Mikasa is a pre-Dreadnought battleship, formerly of the Imperial Japanese Navy, launched in Britain in 1900. She served as the flagship of Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō during the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, as well as several other engagements during the Russo-Japanese War.
Currently, she is preserved as a museum ship at Yokosuka. Mikasa is the last remaining example of a pre-dreadnought battleship anywhere in the world. She was named after Mount Mikasa in Nara, Japan.
More about the Mikasa from Wikipedia. Shortly after the peace treaty with Russia was signed, Mikasa sank after a fire and magazine explosion took out a section of hull while in harbor at Sasebo on 1905-09-11. The accident killed 339 crewmen, or approximately three times the number killed in combat during the war and injured some 300 more.
The ship settled in 11 metres (36.1 ft) of water. Extensive efforts were made to salvage the ship, and after repeated attempts, she was re-floated on 1906-08-08 and towed to Maizuru Naval Arsenal for repairs.
After two years of repairs which included the replacement of her badly-corroded 12-inch 40-calibre main guns by newer longer and hence much more powerful 12-inch 45-calibre guns, Mikasa was re-commissioned and restored to active service in 1908
Sweet pic of an elderly couple taking a stroll which reminded me of my grandparents.
I watched one of my grandparents die infront of my eyes.
Many of her internal organs failed and they couldn't do anything else for her so the family decided to bring her home from the hospital to die. Never will I forget that day as we watched her struggling to breathe until gave her last breath.
I think that this experience with death is one of the reasons why I truly appreciate and value the short time we.
Even if we don't have our lives cut short, our time will be up before we know it. I encourage all to appreciate life and make the most of it. Dont die with the last thought going through your mind as "if only I..."
The drive back to Tokyo only took about an hour and with the new highway discounts only cost 400 yen instead of 1200 yen.
Had a lovely day at Yokosuka - will go back and take along the DSLR. Want to see more of the military ships on that boat cruise.
More places to visit in Tokyo and other parts of Japan listed up below.