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Nippon Maru – one of the last tall ships

Nippon Maru had a long career.  Launched in 1930 for the Tokyo Institute for Maritime Training, Japan’s merchant marine officers learned how to sail upon her.  During World War II, she saw service in a variety of roles.  When the conflict ended, she returned to her training.  And finally, in 1984, the ship was permanently docked at the Nippon Maru Memorial Park in Yokohama.  One of the last tall ships seems to be enjoying her retirement.

Nippon Maru at permanent dock
Nippon Maru under Yokohama Landmark Tower

I had a look at her when I went to Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden to take some pictures in 2020.  Nippon Maru Memorial Park is just over the road, so as I had some spare time, I walked over to check the ship out for the first time in many years.  She has been carefully preserved and is still a beauty. 

Nippon Maru bow
tall ship lifeboat
Nippon Maru bowsprit

It was freezing when I went, but the sky was deep blue.  The ship’s masts looked like soaring tree trunks.  While they weren’t as high as the skyscrapers, they didn’t look out of place.  In the port area, the ship looked right at home.  It’s easy to understand the popularity of tall ships.


It’s a pity Nippon Maru no longer sails.  If it appeared on the waters of Tokyo Bay, it would be a huge tourist attraction.  In other parts of the world, tall ships are incredibly popular, and I feel they hold a lot of potential here, especially as Japan is one of the great maritime nations.  Maybe someone will recognize this in the future, and we might see a change.  We have to settle with admiring her graceful form from the dock for the time being.

tallship under skyscraper
Nippon Maru at permanent mooring_1

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One day I’ll get aboard and photograph things close up. You can see the ship’s website here.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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