One of the most interesting high schools I have come across in Japan is the Kayo Highschool (or its full name of Ibaraki Kenritsu Kaiyo Koto Gakko, 茨城県立海洋高等学校), founded in 1934 and located just by the harbor of old Nakaminato City in Ibaraki Prefecture. Originally the school was a Fishing Experiment Station training center, and is now Japan’s only high school specialized in deep sea science and fishing. It is most well known for having a pool that is 10m deep, much deeper than most and therefore a preferred training pool for everything from marine civil engineering to rescue divers. As I didn’t actually visit the school all I did was sneak a few photos from the edge of the baseball field, but I would love to someday see the famous pool! The school also has a state of the art fishing vessel at their disposal and a training ship placed well out of the water. It reminds me of the tsunami when such sights were common place but this ship was put here by no accident.
The school is open to both male and female students, but not surprisingly all female students focus on the seafood products or marine science programs rather than the technical programs.
I think that if I could go back in time and be a high school student in Japan I would pick this school!
Being a huge fan of boats (I know that Japan is more into trains, traditionally) I could not resist walking around the tiny commercial harbor of old Nakaminato City (in present day Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture). All the boats were in very good condition – I wonder if this is due to them having been recently replaced after the tsunami in 2011? My favorite from this harbor though was the Nakakaze CL82, Craft Large class patrol ship of the coast guard. Clocking in at 20m in length and weighing 26 tons it is one of the smallest regular patrol ships of the Japanese navy and coast guard. This boat was commissioned in 1996 so it definitively survived the tsunami. It belongs to the 3rd Regional Coast Guard (there are eleven), covering the Kanto are coastal prefectures of Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Tokyo, Chiba and Ibaraki. The 3rd Coast Guard even has a section on their homepage where you can download and build your own paper models of their bigger ships. Since many of the southernmost islands in Japan formally belong to Tokyo the 3rd Cost Guard has to cover a huge territory, far south of even the Ogasawara Islands. Their work must be tremendously interesting!
The harbor in Hitachinaka City (ひたちなか市) is famous in Ibaraki prefecture north east of Tokyo, for its fine produce and fresh seafood. The city itself was formed when the two neighboring cities of Nakaminato (那珂湊市) and Katsuta (勝田市) merged in 1994. For most young people it is better known for its rock festival taking place every year since 2000. Since I love harbors and boats of all kinds it is a given that I visit the harbor rather than the city itself when I travel in Japan. At the time of the big earthquake in 2011 all of the things you can see in these photos were wrecked by the tsunami but four years later the is absolutely no damage to be seen in the harbor itself. The fish market is especially interesting, but I arrived too late in the afternoon to do anything more than have a quick sushi lunch before the fisherman packed up their shops for the night. However if you have a big family and want to score a deal I can recommend being the last customer at the market, I saw a few big boxes of fish going pretty cheap!
I love harbors and I love big ships and if there is one place to really see them up close it is at the International Port of Yokohama, the Osanbashi Pier. Last year I saw the gigantic MS Asuka II (飛鳥II) at port. It is the largest passenger vessel in Japan right now, at 241m. It has a crew of 545 and can take 960 passengers. I usually use this site to track the position of large ships but I already knew that the Asuka II is currently in port at Hakata/Fukuoka on the north coast of the island of Kyushu, in southern Japan, where it arrived about half a day ago.
The ship was launched in 1989 and is currently sailing under Japanese flag (which is unusual in this day and age of “Flag of Convenience” maritime traffic.