the fortress of the abandoned island is now a tourist attraction

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In the middle of Tokyo Bay is a harmless man-made island shaped like a boomerang. It is a former artillery battery base, built over a century ago by the Meiji government for the protection of the capital Tokyo and called “Sea Fort No. 2”.

The last few years have seen the start of tours of the island for the general public, drawn by the history of the precious military remains.

Maritime Fort No. 2 is located approximately four kilometers west of Cape Futtsu in Chiba Prefecture and has a total area of ​​approximately 41,000 square meters. Its construction, which would have been “the most important and difficult civil engineering project of the Meiji era [1868-1912]”, began in 1889 and lasted 25 years.

The sea in this place is about 12 meters deep, and the island was built by transporting rocks by boat and throwing them on the seabed to form a foundation, then pouring earth and sand over it. the top. In the end, a turret cannon base was built and during the war its operators kept a close eye on foreign ships entering Tokyo Bay.

After World War II, the fortress became obsolete. As it began to deteriorate, the island was declared off-limits to the general public.

It remained inaccessible for decades, until the creation in 2018 of the Tokyo Bay Maritime Fort No. 2 Tourism Organization, jointly created by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the cities of Futtsu and Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture and others, with the aim of using the historic island as a tourist resource.

In 2019, tours of the island began in cooperation with private travel agencies, including one departing and returning to Tokyo Station.

One day in November, around 40 people were seen on a tour of Yokosuka Port, following a guide who described the history of the turret cannon base, its observation deck and other aspects of the island.

“This facility was built with the main civil engineering technologies of the time,” said tour guide Takeo Tomizawa, 70. “Coming to this island and looking at the area around it, visitors will surely understand why a fortress was needed at a place like this.”

The visitors were impressed. “To have such a massive fortress in the middle of the bay is amazing,” said a 49-year-old woman from Saitama Prefecture.

The Washington Post


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