The Hikawa Maru (named after the Hikawa Jinja shrine) is a Japanese ocean liner that was built for the Nippon Yusen KK line by Yokohama Dock Co. and launched on September 30, 1929 with her maiden voyage from Kobe to Seattle on May 13, 1930.
The service provided on the ship was famous for combining splendid food and beautiful art-deco interiors. She was often refered to as the Queen of the Pacific.
Charlie Chaplin is amongst the ships more notable former passengers.
In 1941, before Japan's entry to the War the Hikawa Maru was used by Jewish refugees escaping the Nazi's via Japan.Reuben Goossens reports Zorach Warhaftig's experience on the boat Zorach together with his family left from Yokohama on the Hikawa Maru on the 5th of June 1941 for Vancouver Canada. He describes the trip as "a summer vacation and with the war seeming to be so far away" although, he said "I didn’t have a peaceful mind because of the strong responsibility I had to help the Jewish refugees with the troubles they faced." After Japan's entry to the war Hikawa Maru became a hospital ship and after the war between 1945 and 1947 she was used by the US who took the ship for troop movements. After 1947 the Hikawa Maru was returned to Japan and carried cargo between Japan and the US. This ended in 1954.
In 1954, following a refit she returned to carrying passengers across the Pacific. But falling passenger numbers led to the termination of the service in 1960.
In 1961 Hikawa Maru became a floating youth hostel and museum permanently berthed at Yokohama.
In December 2006 the Hikawa Maru museum ship was closed and doubts about her future were raised but in March 2007 the NYK Line decided to take over the Hikawa Maru and reopen her as a museum ship.
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