Yokoamichi Park – Tokyo Air Raid MemorialFeb 5th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Featured Articles, Museums, Tokyo and Vicinity
In the shadow of the Ryogoku Kokugikan, better known as Tokyo’s Sumo Stadium, and near the Edo Tokyo Museum you will find Tokyo Metropolitan Yokoamichi Park. This is a small park and doesn’t get mentioned in many Tokyo guidebooks but is an interesting stop for those interested in the history of Tokyo during and after WWII.
While the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many other places in Japan suffered wartime attacks as well. As the largest city, Tokyo was the subject of many air raids which resulted in fires that devastated the city and the loss of many lives. In Yokoamichi Park, you will find a museum and monuments that offer visitors a chance to learn more about the effects of WWII from a different perspective.
At first glance the bronze statue pictured above looks like children playing but upon closer inspection you will get a sense of distress – it depicts school children reacting to the air raids and resulting fires in Tokyo. It was donated by the the classmates of those killed in the attacks and is quite a somber reminder of the effects of war.
Directly across the plaza is a memorial monument titled “Dwelling of Remembrance” that was created by Kimio Tsuchiya and bears the following inscription (dated March 2001):
“During the Second World War, repeated air attacks on Tokyo by the American forces starting on April 19, 1942 and continuing until the end of the war on August 15, 1945 inflicted untold damage on the city and cost the lives of a vast number of its people, who were mostly civilians.
This monument was erected so that the memory of these air raids and their victims will not fade but live on to remind succeeding generations that today’s peace and prosperity was built on the sacrifice of many precious lives. It embodies the hope that this peace will be everlasting.”
Lastly, there is a small indoor museum and an open air museum, which provides a visual reminder of the devastation that the fires caused in Tokyo. The unrecognizable lumps of melted metal below were once large items like cars, engines and factory machinery.
The temple on the grounds has seen better days, but the surrounding exhibits and monuments offer a some insight into the effects of war.
Yokoamichi Park is directly above the Edo-Tokyo Museum on this map of Ryogoku and is easily located. Just look for the spire of the large pagoda as you head in that direction. The Kyu-Yasuda Tien is also a nice garden in the area that you may to wander through if you have time.
Image Credit: Personal Collection