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Back home in the UK now and back on the forum after spending most of May touring Japan, from Wakkanai in the north of Hokkaido, to Chiran in the south of Kyushu. My wife and I visited places we hadn’t seen when we visited Japan in 2008, with a bit of time spent again in Kyoto and Tokyo. I thought I’d post a few photos and comments about some of the places visited this time around.


Nagasaki
There are a couple of bric-a-brac shops near ‘Spectacles Bridge’. One had a few militaria items, and I picked up a printed cotton IJN rising sun flag for 1500 yen, and a couple of undamaged sake cups for 500 yen.


Kagoshima
The “Museum Of The Meiji Restoration” is worth visiting, and there is an English language headset available for the two presentations in the theatre.
In the “former Shuseikan Machine factory Museum” next to the Sengan-En (Iso Garden), there are a few projectiles and artillery pieces from the mid-19th century, and a most unusual unmarked European style musket. Unusual because it must have been (at a guess) about 7 feet long, and had a bore of around an inch. For use on a ship maybe? Unfortunately photography is not permitted. In the neighbouring annex there is a matchlock supposedly used at the battle of Sekigahara.


Chiran
There is a bus from Kagoshima to Chiran.
The “Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots”, has aircraft, personal effects, letters, and memorabilia as well as photos of the 1036 kamikaze pilots that died during the kamikaze operations of Okinawa . Moving stuff indeed, an English commentary headset is available that gives descriptions at 35 of the museum’s exhibits. The room at the back of the museum has displays of uniforms and arms, I noticed a couple of bayonets unlike any I’d seen before. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the museum, but the book “The Mind Of The Kamikaze” published by the museum (priced 500 Yen) which is available in English at the entrance counter does include photos of the hien and hayate that are on display. Outside there is the replica hayate that was built for the film “For Those We Love”.

Kyoto
The Ryozen Museum Of History, in Kyoto tells the story of the Meiji restoration. Unfortunately photography is not allowed, and few exhibits have an English explanation.
Upstairs there is a cabinet containing a typical long Japanese matchlock, an unmarked European style percussion sporting gun with fixed sights, and a Japanese matchlock called the “Lightning Gun” that had what appeared to be a mechanism for repeat priming.
Ryoma’s S&W revolver is supposedly displayed, but this appears to me to be a top quality replica.
Downstairs there is a matchlock and a Gewehr behind Perspex, that the public can lift to feel the weight. As these are next to where you can be photographed alongside a cutout of Ryoma my camera pointed the wrong way. Oops.

There was a flea market in Kyoto when we were there, a few items of militaria, but nothing exciting. Two stalls did have antique firearms, one stall holder allowed me to photograph her guns, the other stallholder waved me away so I took a snapshot from a distance. One interesting item on the second stall was a European style percussion sporting gun that had a shortened single barrel, and the stock cut off behind the trigger guard wrist tang, making it into a whippet gun.

Tokyo
If you want to see what a Japanese gunshop looks like, both the Hamada and Meiji gunshops are easy to find. Staff in both shops only spoke Japanese, but where much friendlier than the gunshop I visited in Sapporo.
The Sunday flea market at the Yasakuni shrine was almost rained off, but I found a Japanese gunpowder flask in wood, mine for 2500 yen, and I was given a nice little WW2 sake cup when my wife bought some jewellery from another stallholder.
 

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very neat thread. guess will have to incorporate these suggestions in a future trip. can't believe they were selling these at a flea market...are they real or repros? guessing the prices weren't "flea market" tho....
 

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Great info. Trust you had the chance to go through the museum at the Yaskuni shrine. As I will be heading over to Tokyo mid-July and would like to visit the gun shops you mention but unable to find any details on the web. Would appreciate any info you can give as to location or nearest train station etc. Thanks for any assistance
 

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thanks for posting. i have a rifle brought back from Hakaido direct from the vet. He can't remeber exactly where he was when he got it. He said it was a large military place like our west point? Any ideas?
 

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very neat thread. guess will have to incorporate these suggestions in a future trip. can't believe they were selling these at a flea market...are they real or repros? guessing the prices weren't "flea market" tho....
They are all real.
In the first picture the prices are top 650,000 JPY (about US$7,000), middle 500,000 JPY (about US$5,400), the pistol at the bottom 350,000 JPY (about US$3,780).
In the second picture you might notice the white cards attached to the guns, these are the registration documents.
 

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Great info. Trust you had the chance to go through the museum at the Yaskuni shrine. As I will be heading over to Tokyo mid-July and would like to visit the gun shops you mention but unable to find any details on the web. Would appreciate any info you can give as to location or nearest train station etc. Thanks for any assistance
I'll post the exact addresses after I've checked through my notes.
Hamada is next to the McDonalds near Suehirocho station. (Or take a stroll down from Akihabara)
Meiji Gunshop is a short walk from Shinjukusanchome station.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Glad to know you had a great time in Japan.
Thanks, it really was great. So much to see, so beautiful, and so friendly. My wife wants us to go back again in a couple of years time. Just a pity that the GB£ is so weak. I got 140JPY for £1 this time, two years ago I got 198JPY for £1, so everything is much more expensive for me even though the prices in Japan don't seem to have changed.

Thanks again also for the gunshops link you posted earlier in the year. Very useful. http://www.charme-co.com/LINKS/link.html#Anchor-26600
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great info. Trust you had the chance to go through the museum at the Yaskuni shrine. As I will be heading over to Tokyo mid-July and would like to visit the gun shops you mention but unable to find any details on the web. Would appreciate any info you can give as to location or nearest train station etc. Thanks for any assistance
Didn't go to the museum at Yasakuni this time around as we had been to the museum on our last visit. We went there this time for the Sunday flea market.

Here is the gunshop info.

Meiji Gunshops website is here http://www.shinjuku.or.jp/meijigun/ There is a map and the address in Japanese at the bottom of the page at the bottom of the page. Follow the street signs towards the Koban (Police box) and the shop will be on the lefthand side of the road.

Hamada & Son website is here http://www.hamada-and-son.com/ Walking down from Akihabara to Suehirocho on the righthand side of the road after you reach the road junction at Suehirocho you will see McDonalds, the Hamada shop is just next door.

The photos show the outside of the buildings.

One other store I went to visit whilst out and about around Tokyo was the Samurai Gallery at Gaienmae, http://www.japanese-guns.com/ but I couldn't find it and after asking in one of the local shops I was told it is now closed. I didn't have time to contact the company to ask if they have relocated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
do you by chance have any pictures of the Yasukuni market?
No sorry, we didn't take any photos of the market. The weather was quiet wet on the Sunday and there were few stalls. I'd say less than a dozen.
Varied items for sale, jewellery, crockery, badges, screens, ornaments, and other bric-a-brac. Not much militaria on show, a few sake cups, two wood rifles for bayonet practice, lots of tsuba, wartime magazines, little else that was wartime or martial. The traders had parked under the shelter of trees along the approach road and put up some overhead cover. Much of their stock remained in their vehicles.
 

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Hope it is ok to ask this? I wanted to ask how Americans are treated in Japan nowdays? I have heard they are treated very well but seems as if all countries dont have much use for Americans as of late.
 

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Hope it is ok to ask this? I wanted to ask how Americans are treated in Japan nowdays? I have heard they are treated very well but seems as if all countries dont have much use for Americans as of late.
I haven't seen the Japanese treat anyone with anything but respect and courtesy. There were certainly lots of Americans visiting Tokyo and Kyoto and I think we would have noticed if there was any ill feeling.
I think most Japanese expect caucasian tourists to be Americans, we were frequently asked where we were from, and there was often surprise when we answered England.
 

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Last visit to Yasakuni Jinja

Thought I would share some pictures taken when in Tokyo for sakura viewing this past April. Pictures were taken in the Yasakuni Jinja museum entry area. Unfortunately I faiiled to get a picture of the Zero decriptiove placard which gave the story of this particular plane.

As for the question about how Americans are treated, I have never experienced any negative reaction to Americans during my many travels to Japan. I have found that people are friendly and often curious about the states which leads to some interesting discussions.
 

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Nice photographs. We visited the museum in 2008, but didn't take any photographs inside the building due to the no photography signs.
Below left is the kamikaze pilot commemoration statue taken outside the Yushukan museum (Yasakuni) in 2008, and below right, the kamikaze pilot memorial taken at Chiran Kamikaze Peace Museum this year.
 

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Yasakuni museum

Had seen the statue of the Kamikaze pilot several times but for some unknown reason never took a picture of it. Have posted a few more pictures of the Zero, field guns and steam engine taken back in Sept '07 and thought some might be interested in seeing them. Was lucky to get these pictures without people in them as pictures were taken on a Friday afternoon close to closing time and most visitors had already left the building.

Whenever I visited the museum, taking pictures in the entry area of the museum was permitted. Only after buying a ticket and going up the escalator into the museum exhibition area proper did we find signs prohibiting picture taking. Although signs were posted some people (both locals and foreigners) were taking pictures with cell phones and cameras.

Another good museum to see is the Tokyo museum of Maritime Science in Odaiba which has a collection of WW I & WW II IJN ship models as well as an 18 inch gun from the battleship Musashi.
 

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