Historical Landmark Sugar Loaf Hill

Sugar Loaf: The Forgotten Battle Site
Sugar Loaf Hill - Naha - Battle of Okinawa


Okinawa.Org Staff
Dec 26, 2018
While there are many battle sites around Okinawa, one seems to be the most forgotten, or unmentioned. That may be because people are too comfortable driving around it in the concrete jungle of Naha, or, have not learned this part of Okinawa's history yet.

The Battle of Sugar Loaf Hill (locally known as Kiramachiiji).

Information on the battle for Sugar Loaf Hill in Naha

Sugar Loaf (locally: Kiramachiiji) said:
On this site occurred some of the bitterest action in the Battle of Okinawa. The Japanese had fortified their defense on the northern hills of Asato. The Japanese soldiers called the outcrop suribachi, or "cone hill". The battle raged between elements of the Japanese 32nd Army and forces of the 6th Marine Division.

Beginning on May 12, [1945], the fighting at Sugar Loaf lasted for a week including one day with four charges on the peak. The Americans prevailed on May 18, with 2,662 casualties, and another 1,289 suffered battle fatigue. The Japanese forces, students and civilians, also suffered devastating casualties.

On May 27, the Command Post at Shuri was withdrawn to the southern end of the island. Although the battle for Okinawa was effectively over, the tragedy of the civilians caught in the southern battles was prolonged until the end of June.

Of the 20,195 American personnel who perished fighting in the Battle of Okinawa, 2,662 were lost taking Sugar Loaf Hill. This was a strategic point that Lieutenant General Buckner hoped would allow the U.S. to envelop Shuri and trap the main defending Japanese forces on Okinawa. That's surely something to sit and ponder about while you're on the crest of Sugar Loaf Hill.

Seating just beyond the observation deck on Sugar Loaf Hill

You would never know that driving by where this water tower, boasting 13,300m³ (3.5 million gallons) of potable drinking water, was once a battle that took place for 7 days with 11 attempts, before finally being captured by the Marines.

The water tower that now rests atop Sugar Loaf Hill Information on the Sugar Loaf Hill water tower

There are two access points to the crest of what is now Sugar Loaf Hill: One is difficult for those with walking impairments or those with small children in need of strollers, while the other is a slight hill that wraps around the water tower to an observation deck.

You can go straight up these stairs directly across from T-Galleria.

Stair access directly to the top of Sugar Loaf Hill across from T-Galleria

Or, you can turn down the side road shown above. Though, if you happen to be driving, it appears that there's no parking permitted in the area.

The side road that gives an easier access point to Sugar Loaf Hill and gets you off the busier road

However, you should be fine pulling tightly in here, as did I, without blocking the entrance of maintenance vehicles.

Sugar Loaf Hill Parking: Pull in all the way to the right on the sidewalk

Another option is that you could always park at Main Place and take a quick stroll on over to Sugar Loaf too.

San-A Naha Main Place

Naha  San-A Naha Main Place

San-A Naha Main Place is a shopping mall, centrally located in the city of Naha and near the Omoromachi monorail station.

If you choose the roadway up and cut left instead of going straight and around the boarded-up restrooms, you may find difficulties walking up and down the uneven stairways; it's advisable to just stay right if you find difficulties in walking or are with small children in strollers.

Boarded up restrooms on Sugar Loaf Hill Path to observation deck beyond the restrooms The obstacles you'll face if you turn left to the observation tower (or leave the opposite way of coming in)

Here's some more in-depth history on the battle for Sugar Loaf:

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Sugar Loaf Hill, 1 Chome-6 Omoromachi, Naha, Okinawa, Japan

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