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On March 11, Japan???s Council for Cultural Affairs submitted a report to the nation???s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology recommending that the moored museum ship Hikawa Maru be designated as an Important Cultural Property. Hikawa Maru will be the first transoceanic liner to receive this designation.

In the report, Hikawa Maru was highly evaluated for the following points:


  •   The role the ship has played in Japan???s society and economy

Cargo-passenger ships were the primary means of international transport for the first half of the 20th century, and during those years Hikawa Maru provided a service between Japan and Seattle, the main route of that time. In World War II, the ship served as a hospital ship, and after the war concluded Hikawa Maru was used to transport demobilized soldiers and repatriated citizens.


  •  The value of the ship to shipbuilding and industrial art

 When the ship was completed in 1930, its very large diesel engine was the most advanced of its time. In addition, the ship???s beautifully designed interior was the first import of Art Deco architecture to Japan.


On April 23, an event to celebrate the ship???s 86th ???birthday??? is scheduled to take place on board. Admission will be free in commemoration of the ship???s upcoming designation as an Important Cultural Property. For detailed information, please visit the ship???s website. (

NYK will continue its efforts to stimulate interest in the maritime industry and its ships by providing current and future generations with a link to Japan???s maritime history.


Hikawa Maru history

1930 Completed and set out on maiden voyage

1941 Japan-Seattle line suspended; requisitioned by the navy and refitted to be a hospital ship

1945 Started being used to transport demobilized soldiers

1947 Launched regular service in Japan

1949 Resumed non-regular overseas voyages

1951 Assigned to Japan-New York line

1952 Assigned to European line

1953 Returned to Japan-Seattle line

1960 Set out on final voyage

1961 Moored at Yamashita Park, Yokohama, Japan

2003 Named as a Tangible Cultural Property of the city of Yokohama

2008 Reopened as NYK Hikawamaru

2015 Welcomed two millionth visitor


Hikawa Maru principal particulars 

Type: Cargo-passenger liner

Built by: Yokohama Dock Company Ltd.

Completed: April 25, 1930

Overall length: 163.30 m

Width: 20.12 m

Gross tonnage: 11,622 tons

Max. speed: 18.38 knots

Engine: B&W double-acting four-cycle diesel; two engines and two propellers