A symbol of Peace: Himeyuri Peace Museum and Cenotaph.
by Louise Dupuy
Himeyrui Peace Museum
South of Naha, nestled between shops and restaurants, you will find a very unassuming park. At it’s entrance, a small booth with a kindly lady sits, selling small, pretty bunches of flowers for 200 yen. However, these are not meant as a token of love for your significant other, but as a respect to be paid within the park. This is Himeyuri, the grounds of which house a Cenotaph (war memorial) and a Peace museum. Visitors purchase a bunch, rest it on a platform in front of the Cenotaph, and say a prayer for peace.
The park itself is small but tranquil, designed to allow visitors to not only pay homage, but to reflect on the consequences of war, and the sacrifices made by those involved. Himeyuri Peace museum, a short walk from the Cenotaph, is dedicated to the some 200 schoolgirl victims mobilised as nurse assistants during the Battle Of Okinawa in 1945. They were known as the Himeyuri Student Corps. The museum is home to photos, personal effects and reconstructions of shelters, as well as testimonies from survivors on the desolation of war.
Entrance fees apply to the museum, but not the Cenotaph. It’s 400 yen for adults, less for children and students. It has bathroom facilities, the surrounding area has shops and restaurants, as well as vending machines, so plenty of options if you get peckish or thirsty.
Visitors of all ages are welcome, but be mindful that it is a memorial, and keep young children from running around.
Overall, a beautiful sentiment, and well worth a visit. A worthy history lesson from the other side of the War.
Price: 400 yen per adult, less for children and students
Accepts: Yen only