There is a beautiful and vast park in a place 30 minutes by subway from central Tokyo. This park is named Hikarigaoka Park, and it is a place of relaxation from children to old people. There are libraries, gymnasiums, baseball stadiums, track trucks and tennis courts in the park, and it is a place where sports are popular. This park was a military base which plays the air defense of Tokyo in the past.
Japanese government, surprised by the famous Doolittle Raid, built Narimasu Airport as an air base for air defense in a place slightly away from the center of Tokyo. After that, the attack by the US Army shifted from the attack by the shipborne plane to the bombing from the high altitude by the B-29.
There are few aircraft in the Japanese Army that can fight at high altitudes, and units at this base were placed to shoot down bombers on a ramming. However, such tactics could not demonstrate great effect, and the air defense was taken over by the US Army due to Japan defeat.
Grant Heights Construction and Return
The US military confiscated the airfield did not place a military base in this place and set it as a place to build an family dormitory. The dormitory was named Grant Heights after Grant of the 18th President. Originally an airport, Grant Heights was a large site area.
730 buildings (houses and shops, chapels, hospitals, schools, cinemas, officers clubs, officer clubs, etc.) were built in this place, and 1,200 households moved in. In the 1950s when Grant Heights was built, Japan is a poor country, and it is recorded that many people longed for the wealthy American life beyond the fence.
In the 1960s, the movement to seek return of Grant Heights became active. Following the active exercise, negotiations between the US and Japan governments continued, land and buildings could be gradually returned. Ultimately in 1973 all land and buildings were returned to the Japanese side.
Hikarigaoka after return
The place where Grant Heights was returned was named Hikarigaoka, and it was decided to make half of the site a park, half to be a residential building and a shopping center. A large number of huge high-rise apartment houses were built in the residential area, and now about 30,000 people live.
The trace of a military base built 74 years ago is a wide promenade which is also in the above video. This promenade is a place where there was a runway and it is also a remains to convey the war of the past. However, now Hikarigaoka is a peaceful town, and few people know that this was an air base.