The plan for the other day was to go into Tokyo but at the last minute, Rob was forced to work so I just decided to find something cheap & local to do. It was way too nice a day to stay in the hotel so I went to Mikasa Park. I didn’t plan on devoting a blog post to it but then I actually took quite a few pictures.
These paintings lined the walls as you walk towards the park.
Below decks is now a museum. I took a few pictures but I didn’t see anyone else with cameras so I’m not sure if I was actually allowed to take the photos.
Here are a few of the things I learned (in no particular order):
- Japan’s victory over Russia marked the first defeat of a white race by a non-White race.
- Finland & Poland had been suffering at the hands of Russian tyranny. Japan’s victory gave confidence to rebel campaigns against Russia.
- In 1921, the decision was made to scrap the HIJMS Mikasa but Japan applied for an exception petition because of preservation movements. It was decided to preserve the ship on the condition is remain in a decommissioned state.
- The commemoration of the Mikasa as a memorial ship was held in November, 1926.
- After WWII, all equipment, structures & guns were removed from the ship and the ship was left in disrepair. In 1955, a letter was sent to the Japan Times about the condition of the ship, and information on the topic was printed. With donations from Japanese citizens, and assistance from the US Navy & Japanese government, the ship was restored. The restoration was completed on May 27, 1961.
- There was an explosion on board the ship in the shell magazine of the 15 inch gun, causing a fire and another explosion while in Sasebo Bay in 1905, causing the Mikasa to sink. The incident took place in the early morning hours, while most of the crew was sleeping, and resulted in the deaths of 339 crew members.
- In 1912, Mikasa was pulled from the front lines & became part of the reserve fleet as a Flagship.
- During WWI, Mikasa was assigned to the Second Fleet as a guard ship against the German Eastern Fleet.
- Mikasa was commanded by Admiral Heihachiro Togo and was the Flaship of the combined fleet during the Battle of the Sea of Japan against Russia, a major battle that lasted two days. The Japanese Combined Fleet sank, captured or detained 32 of the 38 ships of the Baltic Fleet, and destroyed all enemy capital battleships and armored cruisers with minimal damage done to the Japanese fleet.
Now the ship is basically one big museum from top to bottom with tons of authentic things to see. The park itself is full of flowers & fountains, and is obviously right on the water, with a view of Sarushima Island.
The park even has one of those hole in the ground toilets! Fortunately, pretty much any restroom that has these also has normal toilets. Thank goodness. This was a little too different for my taste!