Yokosuka's Mikasa Park is not a usual park… It is situated just behind the U.S. Naval Base, and has become increasingly popular in the summer time. Mikasa is also a hub of Japanese Naval history!
Inside Mikasa Park is a ferry leading to Sarushima Island, commonly known as Monkey Island in English. Although the name may refer to a monkey, rest assured that there are no monkeys on the island. It is a popular spot for picnics as well as fishing.
Mikasa Park wouldn’t be what it is without the famous Battleship Mikasa. Mikasa is one of the three Great Historical Warships of the World, ranking with the H.M.S. Victory of Portsmouth, U.K. and the USS Constitution of Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. Mikasa was the flagship of Admiral Heihachiro Togo, the Commander -in-Chief of the Japanese Grand Fleet during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). It was always at the head of the battle line and fought valiantly in every major naval engagement of her time. One can actually go aboard this great battleship and see various locations on the ship such as the gun decks and the tub where Admiral Togo would bathe. MIKASA has been docked since 1926, but was not restored until after World War II when she was stripped down in accordance with the demilitarization of Japan and was eventually forgotten by most people. But luckily her restoration was completed in 1961 with the aid of the U.S. Navy.
Upon heading ashore, you will see a path. It is adorned by a gorgeous flowing brook. In the spring time it has cherry blossoms on both sides of the path. The path will lead you to a musical amphitheater. There are usually musical events scheduled throughout the year. These events usually begin at the top of the hour, with the schedule of events posted near the amphitheater. Summer is the best time to watch the show up close! You may want to think twice about watching it during the winter since the sea breeze may chill you to the bone!
Near the waterfront you will see an 18 meter tall metal arch, which is also known as the Peace Arch, which changes colors as the sun strikes its metal beams. Underneath the Peace Arch is a map of all of Yokosuka’s sister cities.
You can finish off your tour of Mikasa Park either by purchasing some Yokosuka Curry from the shop just outside the gate or by buying curry in a box to send home!
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