SUGINAMI PEACE TRAIL (Ogikubo)
Following the Traces of War and Desire for Peace
[published May 2023]
During the Taisho and early Showa eras when Japan charged into the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45) and the Pacific War (1941-45), many of the residents in Suginami, Tokyo, became embroiled in the war due to the military facilities and factory presence, suffering damage from the ongoing air raids. After the war, a petition campaign against atomic and hydrogen bombs which is said to have originated from Suginami Ward swept across the nation and the desire for peace firmly took root.
Why not tour these related ‘negative legacy’ sites in Suginami to reaffirm the hope for peace as you contemplate on each step?
Aurora Monument (at Ogikubo Gymnasium)
Birthplace of the Petition Campaign Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs
A hydrogen bomb test conducted by the United States at Bikini Atoll in 1954 caused significant damage to fishing boats including a Japanese vessel “Daigo Fukuryu Maru” as well as marine produce.
In Suginami Ward, a group of women along with Mr. Kaoru Yasui, the then-director of the Suginami Ward Community Center, rose up to launch a petition drive to call for the prohibition of hydrogen weapons. In a matter of a couple of months, this initiative collected signatures from approximately 70% of the total population of Suginami at that time. Thereafter, the petition campaign rippled nationwide which led to the foundation of “The Japan Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs”. In the Suginami Historical Museum, a flag gifted by an Italian women’s organization to commemorate the petition movement is on display.
Flag gfted by Italian women's organization
The former site of the Community Center in Ogikubo which became the epicenter of the petition campaign is now used for the Ogikubo Gymnasium. “Aurora Monument” situated in the corner of the grounds is a testament for future generations to the nameless citizens who stood up for peace on this land in the past. In the proximity of the monument, it is also worth seeing the magnificent Nagayamon, a black gate associated with the Meiji Emperor and the library with a statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
- 3 Chome−47−2 Ogikubo, Suginami City, Tokyo
- Distance from Station:
- 8 minutes on foot from Ogikubo Station (JR, Tokyo Metro) South Exit
- 03-3220-3381 (Japanese only)
- 9:00am - 9:00pm
- https://www.city.suginami.tokyo.jp/shisetsu/sports/taiikukan/1007041.html (external link)
Prime Minister’s Villa at Which Critical War Meetings Took Place
700m away from the Ogikubo Gymnasium is “Tekigaiso” (the former residence of Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe), designated as a National Historical Site in 2016. This stately villa was where the three-time prime minister, Fumimaro Konoe, resided between 1937 and 1945. It also has significance in Japan's political history having hosted a number of critical meetings called Ogikubo Kaidan and Tekigaiso Kaidan which marked political turning points. Following the country’s defeat in the war, Konoe committed suicide in this villa.
Currently at the site of Tekigaiso, work is underway for the development of a historic park to be managed by Suginami Ward. Nearby, there are also other places of interest where visitors can appreciate Japanese-style architecture with scenic gardens such as Otaguro Park and Kadokawa Teien.
- 2 Chome-43-37 Ogikubo, Suginami City, Tokyo
- Distance from Station:
- 11 minutes on foot from Ogikubo Station (JR, Tokyo Metro) South Exit
- Temporarily Closed
- https://www.city.suginami.tokyo.jp/kyouiku/bunkazai/tekigaiso/index.html (external link)
Momoi Harappa Park
Former Site of the Factory where Zerosen Fighter Plane Engines Were in Production
During the wartime, an aircraft manufacturer called Nakajima Aircraft Company’s factory was situated in Suginami Ward. In this factory, the first Japanese-made aviation engine was developed in 1930 and later, many high-performance engines including “Sakae” which powered “Zerosen” fighter aircraft were produced and presented from here to the world.
After World War II, following many twists and turns, this site has now been transformed into a disaster prevention park which provides safety for the ward residents in the event of emergencies. This park named “Momoi Harappa Park” occupies a vast area of approximately 40,000㎡ (equivalent to the size of the Tokyo Dome) covered in lawn and is enjoyed by many joggers and dog walkers. Also in this park, fire resistant trees have been planted and disaster emergency toilets are in place. Every November, Suginami Festival, the largest event in the ward called “Suginami Festa” is held here. With the Suginami Animation Museum and the famous miso ramen shop “Hook” in the nearby area, it makes an ideal trail for a stroll.
Suginami Animation Museum
Suginami ward Official Information Website “SUGINAMIGAKU CLUB” (Japanese)
Anti-Hydrogen Bomb Movement
Nakajima Aircraft Company
Text Edits: Ikura Imakawa, English Adaptation: Minako and Ian Jackson, Photography: TFF, Additional photos provided by: Jiro Tanaka
- 3 Chome-8-1 Momoi, Suginami City, Tokyo
- Open 24 hours
- https://www.city.suginami.tokyo.jp/shisetsu/kouen/04/momoi/1007363.html (external link)