JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Most viewed - Suo-Oshima island 周防大島
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Suo-Oshima is the third largest island in the Seto Inland Sea and slightly smaller than the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Population is almost 20,000. The island looks like a goldfish and easily accessible by bus/taxi from the mainland via Ohashi Bridge.311 viewsClosest train station is Obatake Station not far from Iwakuni.
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Approaching Obatake Station. Suo-Oshima island is in sight from the train.211 views
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Photos of when Battleship Mutsu was salvaged during 1970-1978. About 75% of the ship was recovered.198 views
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Model of the Mutsu.193 views
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Bow from Battleship Mutsu.189 views
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There is bus transportation from Obatake Station, but they run once an hour or so. If you want to visit the museum, you can take a nori-ai taxi (a small van) at Obatake Station costing 400 yen to the museum. The ride is maybe 10-15 min. or so.184 views
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Propeller on the right.181 views
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Sketch of what the Battleship Mutsu looked like on the sea bottom.178 views
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Large pieces of the Battleship Mutsu were also displayed outside.177 views
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Binoculars from Battleship Mutsu.175 views
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Replica of bunk beds on the Battleship Mutsu.166 views
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Personal articles of the crew are included.161 views
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Gun from the Battleship Mutsu.161 views
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JR Obatake Station platform.159 views
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Many exhibits inside Mutsu Memorial Museum. When the Battleship Mutsu sank, 1,121 sailors died out of 1,474 crew. They hold a memorial service annually on June 8.158 views
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Crossing Oshima Ohashi Bridge.157 views
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Porthole from Battleship Mutsu.151 views
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The museum is a large, two-story, Japanese-style house donated in 1997 by the family of Fukumoto Choemon (1881-1970) who emigrated to California and became successful and rich enough to build this house after returning to Japan. The museum opened in 1999.142 views
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Suo-Oshima island, Yamaguchi manhole140 views
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Swords and pistols from Battleship Mutsu.138 views
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Crossing Oshima Ohashi Bridge.137 views
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The Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii.137 views
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Piece of the bow that is displayed. Other gun turrets and parts from the Mutsu are displayed at the Etajima Naval Academy in Hiroshima, Yamato Museum in Kure, and Yasukuni Museum in Tokyo.132 views
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Suo-Oshima Town Hall was one of the stops of the nori-ai taxi.129 views
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To me, the most significant thing about Suo-Oshima is that about 3,900 island residents emigrated to Hawai'i during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.129 views
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Monument for Battleship Mutsu.128 views
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Crossing Oshima Ohashi Bridge.127 views
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Bus schedule. Very few runs.124 views
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He knew immediately that I was from Hawai'i. That made me feel good actually, to know that I still haven't lost my Hawaiian traits even after living in Japan for many years.121 views
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People from Suo-Oshima were among the first boatload of Kan'yaku Imin immigrants to Hawai'i in 1885. They emigrated due to dire economic conditions on the island.120 views
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Go right for the front entrance.119 views
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Museum Web site119 views
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The scrapbooks and other delicate materials should be digitized though, something which they haven't done yet.119 views
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Mutsu Memorial Museum exhibits articles recovered by Battleship Mutsu that mysteriously exploded on June 8, 1943 and sank 3 km off the coast of Suo-Oshima. 陸奥記念館119 views
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Bus stop closest to the Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii.118 views
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Mutsu Memorial Museum first opened in 1972 in a previous location. The museum reopened here in 1994.118 views
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I enjoyed my day trip to Suo-Oshima. I want visit again and see their Hawaiian festival in summer and the southern coast. Suo-Oshima tourist Web site117 views
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About Battleship Mutsu116 views
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Area where Battleship Mutsu sank.116 views
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View from Oshima Ohashi Bridge.114 views
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Cross the bridge over the river.112 views
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Old directory of all Japanese and Japanese-Americans living in Hawai'i. Never knew about this book.112 views
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The museum is a spacious Japanese-style house.111 views
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It also has this Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii (日本ハワイ移民資料館) which was the main reason for my visit. 110 views
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Bus schedule. Buses don't run that often.110 views
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From the bus stop, cross this bridge over a river.108 views
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Museum up ahead.108 views
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Anchor from Battleship Mutsu which was world's most powerful battleship when it was built in 1921. The museum is open 9 am to 4:30 pm. Admission 420 yen.108 views
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The museum staff person there could immediately tell that I was from Hawai'i even though I had said little more than "Hello" in fluent Japanese.107 views
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The museum also has two rooms full of Japanese school stuff. One room is full of books, scrapbooks, etc., donated by Ichisaburo Nakamura. He was a member of the Hawaii Kyoiku-kai (education council) which developed and published Japanese school textbooks.107 viewsOne of his scrapbooks had group photos of the Hawaii Kyoiku-kai who met every summer. I could recognize some of the faces. They were mainly Japanese school principals/teachers in Hawai'i. I spent a good amount of time in that room alone. Another room displayed old Japanese school textbooks including those published in Japan. I remember some of them from Japanese school and UH Manoa. Amazing to see all of them in one room.
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All the books in the museum are in open stacks where you can pull it out and read freely. Great for AJA researchers. 106 views
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Oshima Ohashi Bridge106 views
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The sign points the way.105 views
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Oar from the Hokule'a signed by Nainoa Thompson when they visited Suo-Oshima in May 2007. That was a big event for the island and the Hawaiian community in Japan. I saw the Hokule'a only when they arrived at Yokohama.105 viewsThe Hokule'a is a traditional canoe where they use only the stars, wave motions, and bird observations for navigation like they did in ancient times. Nainoa was a pioneer in resurrecting and mastering this ancient form of navigation. You can read about their adventures on Suo-Oshima here, from May 20:
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View of Suo-Oshima from the 2nd floor of the museum. The island is quite well populated with houses and fishing ports in many locations.105 views
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Bus fares.104 views
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On the island, I also visited the town of Kuka where there is a Hawaiian restaurant called Aloha Orange (unfortunately closed when I was there).102 views
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Area where Battleship Mutsu sank.101 views
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I took the bus back to Obatake Station in Yanai. It was about 25 miles.101 views
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I saw a few small whirlpools.100 views
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The museum is full of panel exhibits, mementos, artifacts, old books, and scrapbooks. It had a lot more than I had expected. 99 views
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Intersection at the end of Ohashi Bridge.98 views
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Mutsu Memorial Museum dedicated to Battleship Mutsu. Museum Web site here98 views
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Also see my list of other Japanese-American and nikkei museums in Japan here..97 views
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After seeing the nikkei museum, I tried to catch the taxi van to the bus terminal, but missed it. The museum staff kindly asked his friend to drive me to the bus terminal. Souvenir shop near Ohashi Bridge.96 views
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Bus terminal in central Oshima near Ohashi Bridge. Kind of run-down, former souvenir shop on the 2nd floor.96 views
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Kuka Folk History Museum 96 views
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Because of this, the island has a sister-city relationship with Kauai and holds an annual Hawaiian festival in the summer.95 views
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Crossing Oshima Ohashi Bridge.94 views
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Then turn left as the sign says.94 views
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We couldn't enter the plane, probably because it was off-season.93 views
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Didn't have time to see the Nagisa Aquarium adjacent to the Mutsu Memorial Museum.93 views
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Another place I got off the bus was here at Mutsu Park and beach. This is at the top tip of the gold fish tail if you look at a map of the island.90 views
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Bus stop89 views
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Approaching Towa88 views
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From the bus terminal, I took a bus running along Suo-Oshima's northern coast. Turned out to be quite scenic.87 views
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And a few white-sand beaches.86 views
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Kuka also has this history museum called the Kuka Folk History Museum (久賀歴史民俗資料館). Open 9 am to 4:30 pm (enter by 4 pm). Closed Mon. Admission 400 yen.85 views
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Nagisa Park is also a camping ground.85 views
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Oshima Ohashi Bridge. Across the bridge is Yanai.84 views
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The main road runs along the northern coast for the most part. Just wanted to see what the island looked like.83 views
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Nagisa Park had this retired sea plane from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.83 views
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Kuka Folk History Museum is part of the learning village.82 views
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Hachiman Continuing Education Village has a folk history museum, meeting rooms, hall, cultural facilities, and a small cafe. 八幡生涯学習のむら81 views
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The Kuka Folk History Museum included this small exhibit on the island's emigrants to Hawai'i. It shows some of the stuff the emigrants brought back with them when they returned to Japan.81 views
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Centipede80 views
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Nishi Ihota bus stop80 views
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Got off here at Suo-Hachiman stop in Kuka.79 views
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The museum has exhibits of local fishing and farming.79 views
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Map of the Hachiman Continuing Education Village. It's basically a community/cultural center. They even hold hula and ukulele classes here. 八幡生涯学習のむら78 views
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Towa Sogo Center, a community center in Towa.78 views
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Snow coats.76 views
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There are a few small islands near Suo-Oshima, uninhabited.75 views
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About the Hachiman Continuing Education Village in Japanese. Web site here75 views
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Suo-Oshima is famous for mikan tangerines. You see them often on the island.74 views
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Jizo statues72 views
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Old stone bath70 views
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Old stone bath, Important Cultural Property.70 views
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Once in a while, we saw a white-sand beach.69 views
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Fishing nets.69 views
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Here are two of the Kannon statues near the stone bath.68 views
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Back on the bus to ride further east on the northern coast.67 views
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The island has many small fishing ports and towns.67 views
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Sazanseto Towa tourist souvenir shop.66 views
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Rural bus stop65 views
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The stone bath is the oldest in western Japan, built in the 12th century.65 views
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Water to extend your life.65 views
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Kansha (thank you)64 views
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Pillows64 views
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Next to Mutsu Park was Nagisa Park.64 views
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Around this area are 33 Kannon statues. 63 views
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Small beach at Mutsu Park.63 views
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Many of the immigrants returned to Japan after their 3-year labor contract expired. They brought back all kinds of stuff even this heavy baking oven.62 views
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Japan-America goodwill baseball games.61 views
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Jizo statues on Suo-Oshima island, Yamaguchi.61 views
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Certificate of Appreciation from 1927. 56 views
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