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Lakeland University Japan Blog

Yokoamicho Park

Yokoamicho Park


Yokoamicho Park

How far a walk? 2 minutes

For LUJ students, a short walk away from the campus building is a sobering reminder of two tragic moments in Japanese history: The September 1, 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and the Great Tokyo Air Raid on March 9/10, 1945, the latter remembered as being the single-most destructive bombing in human history.

Upon entering the park’s west entrance, visitors will see straight ahead the Tokyo Metropolitan Memorial Hall, a three-story pagoda shrine first completed in 1930 to memorialize the deaths of over 30,000 people who had been evacuated to this exact area during a destructive fire stemming from the Great Kanto Earthquake.

Fifteen years later, the pagoda was destroyed again during the firebombing of Tokyo during World War II. Over 100,000 people were killed. The shrine was rebuilt in 1951, and officially renamed the Tokyo Metropolitan Hall of Repose (Tokyo-to Ireido) to acknowledge the lives lost on March 9.

Other memorials are placed throughout the park, such as a memorial for Korean victims, a statue commemorating the children lost during the two tragedies, and a monument of peace solely dedicated to the victims of the Great Tokyo Air Raid, created by modern artist Kimio Tsuchiya.

But perhaps the most striking look into the history of these two horrific moments lies in the Great Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum, a brown two-story building located in the back corner of the park.

The first floor contains small exhibits, displays, photos, and objects preserved from the Great Kanto Earthquake, such as a charred typewriter. The second floor includes a very small collection of artifacts taken from that tragic day in March 1945.

Admission is free for both the park and museum. Official ceremonies occur annually on September 1 and March 9.