Just 30 minutes from HiroshimaStation.
1-Day Trip Plan in Kure City, the Photo-worthy Port City!

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Written by Editorial department

Kure, a port city that once flourished as one of the top military ports in the world. In addition to spots like the “Yamato Museum”, known for their clear ties to the former maritime history, this area is full of photo-worthy sights and old-world backdrops to enjoy while strolling through the city. For foodies, there’s plenty of must-try eats and famous sweets that have been adored by the local community for years. Prepare to breathe in the ocean breeze and enjoy a time out in Kure!

How to Get to Kure?

They gateway to Kure is JR Kure Station. Take a bullet train to Hiroshima and switch to a regional line that can get you there in 35 minutes on an express train. Another option is to take a 45-minute bus from the Hiroshima Bus Center near the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, or hop on one of the convenient 1-hour shuttles from Hiroshima Airport. Recently there are even more travelers who take the SEA PASEO cruise ferry from Hiroshima Port to Kure Central Pier Terminal.

etSETOra is the new sightseeing train introduced in 2020 that connects Hiroshima and Onomichi via Kure, offering breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea that you won’t want to miss.

SEA PASEO, the cruise ferry linking Hiroshima, Kure and Matsuyama. A short cruise between Hiroshima and Kure comes highly recommended.
SEA PASEO, the cruise ferry linking Hiroshima, Kure and Matsuyama. A short cruise between Hiroshima and Kure comes highly recommended.

How to Get to Kure City

  • From Hiroshima Airport: approx. 1 hr. by shuttle bus
  • From Hiroshima Station: approx. 35 min. by the express line
  • From Hiroshima Bus Center: approx. 45 min. by Chugoku JR or Hiroden Bus
  • From Hiroshima Port: 45 min. by cruise ferry

Greatest Hits of Kure, the Port City! A 1-Day Trip Plan around the Yamato Museum and More

Bright blue seas and a mountain backdrop offers a contrast of green on 3 sides. For the easiest route, we recommend a tour around the JR Kure Station area by foot. All the spots introduced below are the best and brightest of Kure, highlighting the iconic maritime history or spots like the retro streetscapes loved by locals. Get ready for a day in Kure with hot spots like the Yamato Museum and more!

Table of Contents

From Kure Station to the Yamato Museum

Step out of the ticket gates at Kure Station on the JR Kure Line and head straight across the 2nd floor walkway towards the Yamato Museum!

All the Sightseeing Tips You Need at “Kure Sightseeing Information Plaza”

If you head across the walkway you’ll find the Kure Sightseeing Information Plaza along the way, a convenient place to drop in to pick up pamphlets and other travel tips. We recommend swinging by here before heading out into the city.

There are guides to must-see spots and even a guidebook highlighting the best places to try the famed Navy Curry or Kure.
There are guides to must-see spots and even a guidebook highlighting the best places to try the famed Navy Curry or Kure.

See the 1/10th scale “Yamato” Battleship Up Close at the Yamato Museum

When in Kure, the Yamato Museum is an absolute must!
To get there, just walk about 5 minutes from JR Kure Station. If you walk along the raised walkway connected to the station there’s a perfect photo spot where you can catch the Yamato Museum and the Iron Whale Museum in the same snap!

Find the full-on, real submarine “Akishio” parked at the back of the Yamato Museum.
Find the full-on, real submarine “Akishio” parked at the back of the Yamato Museum.

Learn About Kure’s World-Acclaimed Art of Shipmaking at the Yamato Museum!

Kure was once a known around the world as a military port city. Even the “Yamato” one of the worlds largest warships was built here in secret. Inside the museum you can find a 1/10th scale model of the Yamato warship, as well as historic blueprints and documents relating to the ship. There are also displays detailing the “Kaiten” human torpedoes, exhibits of real A6M “Zero” fighter planes and memorials that emphasize the importance of peace and respecting life. You’ll find so many areas that depict the best of Kure local tourism, offering a look into the city’s history and engineering prowess in shipbuilding.

The “Yamato” battleship exhibited on the 1st floor is a 1/10th scale recreation measuring 26.3 meters long!
The “Yamato” battleship exhibited on the 1st floor is a 1/10th scale recreation measuring 26.3 meters long!

Just outside the Yamato Museum sits a wooden deck area and terrace with calm, easy views over the Kure bay waters. It’s a great spot to enjoy the view while imagining how the Navy Arsenal and Kure Naval District was founded in the same spot in 1889. Today you’ll find docks of shipbuilding and repair companies, as well as unmatched views of ships and submarines docked at port.

Loads of travel vibes and iconic views in Kure, the city of shipmaking!
Loads of travel vibes and iconic views in Kure, the city of shipmaking!
Snap a snazzy photo with this “Yamato Museum” printed white lifesaver ring♪
Snap a snazzy photo with this “Yamato Museum” printed white lifesaver ring♪

Climb Inside a Real Submarine at the “Iron Whale Museum”, aka the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Kure Museum

The next spot to visit is the Iron Whale Museum, located just down the opposite end from the Yamato Museum. You can see inside a real submarine are see historic documents that are considered extremely rare around the world. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the size of the submarine up close.

A Whopping 76m-long x 9.9m-wide Massive Submarine Before Your Eyes!

Here is the Akishio, a submarine that once ran in commission from 1986 to 2004. When it was moved from the ocean to this resting spot it was moved across the road! This is apparently the only submarine known to have travelled across a public highway. Once inside the museum you can enjoy a rare chance to see the underside of the submarine. You’ll find that even the submarine is home to a few classified secrets, but knowing that they’re there, even while hidden for the exhibit, is part of the fun.

Snap shots of the awe-inspiring submarine, “Akishio” from all the angles you want!
Snap shots of the awe-inspiring submarine, “Akishio” from all the angles you want!

On the 1st and 2nd floor of the museum you’ll find exhibits that detail Kure’s naval fleet and maritime history, displays about safety when traveling the world’s oceans and de-mining efforts conducted by the Maritime Self-Defense Force. On the 3rd floor you can walk through replicas of a submarine interior at actual size, learn all the ins and outs of submarines, and then get ready to walk inside the “Akishio” itself! The inside is said to be pretty much untouched since its days in commission, allowing you a rare, one-of-a-kind chance to see every nook and cranny of what’s inside. The sounds of thrilled “oohs” and “ahs” are sure to be found echoing off its walls.

Living quarters of the sailors. Red lamps were used during night hours to help passengers differentiate between night and day.
Living quarters of the sailors. Red lamps were used during night hours to help passengers differentiate between night and day.
The scope used to observe the above-water surroundings. Today you can use it to see over the Kure bay waters.
The scope used to observe the above-water surroundings. Today you can use it to see over the Kure bay waters.

“Kure Naval Curry” Lunch is Go for Launch!

After checking out the Yamato and Iron Whale Museums, its time for the long-awaiting lunchtime♪ Since you’ve made it all the way to Kure you won’t want to miss the famous Kure Naval Curry!

“Kure Naval Curry”, a Local Must-Try available at Over 25 Spots Across the City!

“Friday lunches are for curry!” or so goes the saying among many a sailor. The tradition comes from a tradition that helped sailors mark a specific day when at sea for long stints. One fact to know is that every vessel was known to have its own recipe. The “Kure Naval Curry” varieties were a result of each boat fine-tuning their own original recipe until the favorite flavor was final stamped with the captain or commander’s seal of approval. As of 2021, there are 25 places in Kure where you can try it for yourself.
The tourist information center has a handful of guides showing where to try Kure Naval Curry in case you need a few pointers on where to go.

Try the same curry eaten by sailors in the submarine – but this time on land for a special treat!♪ (Photo: Soryu-Submarine Teppan Curry)
Try the same curry eaten by sailors in the submarine – but this time on land for a special treat!♪ (Photo: Soryu-Submarine Teppan Curry)

Unforgettable, Photo-Worthy Architecture at Irifuneyama Memorial Museum

Once you’ve eaten to your heart’s content, it’s time to head up the hill for a stroll towards the Irifuneyama Memorial Museum. The easy-going, relaxed atmosphere comes with breezy views over the bay waters and sounds as the distant ships go by.

Irifuneyama Memorial Museum, home of the Former Official Residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Kure Naval Station

The Former Official Residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Kure Naval Station was opened along with the Kure Naval District in 1889 as lodging for the Commander-in-Chief (currently the 2nd) on a hill that over looks the city of Kure. It also served as the commander’s office, including a western building for welcoming official figures from in and outside of Japan, as well as a Japanese style annex for the commander and his family. Together this building has been registered as a National Important Cultural Asset.

Clock tower set on the roof of the former Naval Arsenal Engineering Department now celebrating 100 years as of 2021.
Clock tower set on the roof of the former Naval Arsenal Engineering Department now celebrating 100 years as of 2021.
Make your way up the slope to find the Former Official Residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Kure Naval Station, a building registered as a National Important Cultural Asset.
Make your way up the slope to find the Former Official Residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Kure Naval Station, a building registered as a National Important Cultural Asset.

The retro-chic building just begs to be photographed! With English stained glass, and a “Kinkara” gold-embossed ceiling that changes pattern in every room there’s plenty to enjoy while looking around. Directly connected to the residence sits a History and Folk Heritage Museum that includes exhibits of the woodblocks used when recreating the kinkara gold-embossing.

A small eatery for guests. The ceiling is covered in Kinkara (gold-embossed) paper.
A small eatery for guests. The ceiling is covered in Kinkara (gold-embossed) paper.
Woodblocks used to recreate the “kinkara” gold embossing, as seen inside the neighboring History and Folk Heritage Museum.
Woodblocks used to recreate the “kinkara” gold embossing, as seen inside the neighboring History and Folk Heritage Museum.

Feast Your Eyes on Navy Ships Up Close as they Float near Alley-Karasukojima

After your foray into these deeply historic buildings, it’s time to head towards Alley-Karasukojima from the bus stop along the Prefectural Road just under the Irifuneyama Memorial Museum.

Head to Alley-Karasukojima for more vibes of Kure as it Was During its Heyday.

Alley-Karasukojima is a charming red-brick district with plenty of old world vibes that once flourished in Kure’s heyday as a naval district and port city. Today it serves as a public park, known across Japan as a rare spot to see real naval ships and submarines up close as they sit at the port.

The Former Navy Arsenal built in the Meiji Era (1868 to 1912) and sitting along the brick townscape.
The Former Navy Arsenal built in the Meiji Era (1868 to 1912) and sitting along the brick townscape.
A rare chance in Japan and around the world to see the old submarine and escort vessels.
A rare chance in Japan and around the world to see the old submarine and escort vessels.
There’s a great photo spot that juts out into the ocean!
There’s a great photo spot that juts out into the ocean!

Stroll Rengadori and Discover the Local Favorites of Kure.

It’s time to board the bus again and head towards the Kure city center. Here you’ll find Rengadori, a street cheerily named that way by the locals who know this place for its shopping and Kure special regional eats!

Go for Street Eats Along Local Favorite, “Rengadori” Street.

The official name is Kure Nakadori Shopping Street. “Rengadori” is the local moniker for this 420-meter arcade and shopping street. Perfect for snack time, starting at 3pm, you’ll find a regional Kure sweet, the Fukuzumi Fried Cake. This deep fried manju is a long-staying favorite, featuring an unbelievably light bite you’re sure to love! The anko inside is only lightly sweet, making it easy to just eat a number of them at once. Some locals even swing by to buy them 10 or 20 at a time. The freshly fried cakes are wonderfully delicious, but the locals are known to enjoy them even from the refrigerator as a chilled treat.

The shop can see up to 1,000-2,000 units sold on a busy day.
The shop can see up to 1,000-2,000 units sold on a busy day.

After picking up a fried cake, you’ve got to try a wonderfully aromatic coffee from Subaru Coffee. For a take away souvenir you won’t want to miss the “Sailor’s Coffee” from the home-brewed roastery. You can buy a fresh cup of joe at the shopfront. The coffee roast changes per the season, allowing you to enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of delicious coffee throughout the year. This time we’ll show you a fresh Café au Lait. It’s made with fresh-brewed coffee that’s then mixed with milk for a sweet and creamy finish.♪ The coffee is sold in a bottle so you can easily take it along your street eats adventure.

A perfect spot to take a break along your stroll through Kure.
A perfect spot to take a break along your stroll through Kure.
Plenty of bright, clean flavor in this fresh Café au lait. It pairs perfectly with a Fried Cake!
Plenty of bright, clean flavor in this fresh Café au lait. It pairs perfectly with a Fried Cake!
Benches along the Rengadori walkway make for a perfect place to stop for a snack
Benches along the Rengadori walkway make for a perfect place to stop for a snack

Finish Off your Trip with a Sunset Kure Cruise on the Kure Kansen Meguri

To top off your trip in Kure, make sure to head over to the Kure Kansen Meguri for a leisurely cruise across the bay. The cruise will swing you by the Yamato Museum and the Iron Whale Museum before finally making it back to Kure Central Pier Terminal.

Feast Your Eyes on a Magical View as the Boat Floats Along the Sunset Waters.

The Kure Kansen Meguri cruise tour is an especially popular, absolute must that runs 4-5 times per day. This time we picked the “Sunset Cruise” that starts just before evening (must be booked at least 2 days in advance). The total cruise is about 35 minutes long, offering close up views of the submarines and ships that sit docked along the Kure bay waters.

A romantic evening cruise at sunset♪
A romantic evening cruise at sunset♪
This boat cruise is the only way to catch the shoreline views from the water!
This boat cruise is the only way to catch the shoreline views from the water!

One particular highlight of the sunset cruise is the ceremony of the Naval Fleet. It includes a special fanfare and a lowering of the naval flag with full pump and circumstance. The boats while seem almost magical under the glow of the setting sun, making for a perfect spot to shoot a video. The best part of this cruise boat is all the stops along the way, making sure you can get all the best shots without any hassle.

Shot on a near-full moon day for mystical views of the moon floating over Yasumi-yama mountain
Shot on a near-full moon day for mystical views of the moon floating over Yasumi-yama mountain

Summary

Take a Stroll Through Unforgettable Sights at Kure, the Port City with Plenty of Old-World Charm

So how was this 1-day trip plan through the many sights and charms of Kure City?
With this you can plan a full-on trip that covers more than just the standard Yamato and Iron Whale Museums. Take a break and kickback over some locally loved sweets and coffee along Rengadori Street, see the engineering prowess unfold at Irifuneyama Memorial Museum, and close off your day under the warm glow of a boat cruise at sunset. There are so many ways to explore Kure! This trip plan should give you plenty of examples of how to spend a day in Kure, but there’s still plenty more! Some sites to remember in Kure for next time include the route that connects all seven bridges, going from the Tobishima Kaido to the walking area around the Sannose Cobblestone walking area and down finally to the Mitarai Preservation District and Akinada Tobishima Kaido Cycling.
Come out for a trip that keeps bringing you back for more!