Chiran Peace Museum

Top choice in Kyūshū

There is perhaps no more eloquent monument to the futility of war than this harrowing museum about WWII kamikaze pilots. Around 2km west of town, Chiran’s air base was the point of departure for 1036 WWII tokkō ('special attack forces', as the pilots were formally known), the biggest percentage in the Japanese military. On the base's former site, this large, thought-provoking museum presents aircraft, mementos, photographs and footage of the fresh-faced young men selected for the ultimate sacrifice.

While much of the signage is in Japanese only, it's well worth investing in the English-language audio guide (rental ¥200), which offers details about many of the individual pilots. You'll need a heart of stone not to be moved by their stories.

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