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Historical Attractions in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville

For those with a sense of history, Bougainville holds many wartime secrets in its jungle-covered hills.  This is where the United States Marine Corps began their advances against he Japanese after a horrible battle for Guadalcanal in the nearby Solomon Islands.  Admirals Yamamoto's aircraft was shot down here and the rarely visited wreck can be found hiking in the rainforest. 

Japanese Admiral Yamamotos Plane Crash Site

About 25 kilometers north of Buil along the south of Bougainville lies the wreck of the Japanese Betty bomber whic was intercepted and shot down  by the allied forces on, 18th April 1943. 

On board that place was World War Two's most famous Japanese commander and mastermind of the Pearl Harbour Attack, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

He was on an inspection tour of forward positions in the Solomon Island when his aircraft (a Mitsubishi G4M 'Betty' bomber) was shot down during an ambush by American P-38 Lightning fighter planes.

His death was a major blow to Japanese military morale during World War II.

The site is covered in thick jungle and there are still some landowner issues, but if you arranged yourself early and got in touch with one of the local tour companies, they can get you there.

Tororikina World War II Sites

Torokina, on the West Coast of Bougainville is the site of important land and sea battles between the Allied and Japanese Forces.

You can find a lot of WWII relic here including unexploded ordinances.  There is an airstrip here and much of the road network built during WWII is still intact.

Torokina was also famous in pre-crisis days for the heavy surf that could be found there.  To get to Torokina you can charter a boat in Buka.

Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo is an underground military base that the Japanese Forces, who held Bougainville for much of WWII, wanted to resettle a larger number of civilian Japanese.

According to the locals the big white bunkers are now covered in very thick jungle and it looks like a place that time forgot.

Little Tokyo can be accessed via Buin, South Bougainville.

Nissan Island

The island of Nissan is 100 kilometers north of Buka.  It has an American WWII airstrip and other relics - even an abandoned WWII swimming pool.  There is also a guest there.  You can hire a speed boat or catch one of the regular shipping boats that travel that way. 

Time your visit well, hire a speed out there and catch the regular ship back.  This method of travel is also ideal for getting to the Carteret Islands.

World War II relics at Torokina, Bougainville.  Credit: David Kirkland 

More on:

List of Accommodation in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville 

List of Tour Operators in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville 

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