The Memorial Ship Hakkoda Maru, located in Mutsu Bay near Aomori Station in Aomori is Japan's first railroad ferry museum.
From 1966 until 1988 the Hakkoda Maru transported trains 113km from Aomori in Honshu to Hakodate in Hokkaido. The opening of the Seikan Tunnel linking the two towns made this journey redundant and the ship was transformed into a floating museum dedicated to the history of the historic crossing.
The Seikan Ferry crossing between Aomori and Hokkaido had been in operation since 1908, with the first train ferry going into service in 1924. In 1954, five ferries including the Toya Maru were sunk in the Tsugaru Strait by Typhoon Marie, with over 1,400 deaths.
On display are models of other Japanese ships, uniforms of the crew, historic documents and panel displays showing how the trains were loaded onto the ship.
The Memorial Ship Hakkoda Maru also offers a full bar and restaurant service and the rear of the ship serves as a beer garden in summer.
The Memorial Ship Hakkoda Maru is a short walk from Aomori Station under Aomori Bay Bridge.
Other attractions in Aomori include the reproduction of Showa-era food stalls at Yatai Mura, the Aomori Prefectural Folk Museum, the Aomori Contemporary Art Center, A-Factory, ASPAM, Wa-Rasse, Aomori Machinaka Baths and the fish market in the basement of the AUGA department store.
Memorial Ship Hakkoda Maru (Official site in Japanese)
Tel: 017 735 8150
Hours: 9am-7pm; 9am-5pm November-March
Admission: 500 yen
Memorial Ship Hakkoda Maru map