One of the most infamous dates in American history is the December 7, 1941. At 7.55 a.m. Japanese aircraft made a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet that led directly to America’s entry into World War II. Visit the memorials and museums of the naval base and see where the war with Japan started and ended.
Begin your historical journey in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. View photographs, personal memorabilia and artifacts of the battle. Listen to recorded testimonies by those who witnessed it and watch the short documentary film in the Memorial Theater.
The most visited attraction at Pearl Harbor is the USS Arizona Memorial. The 184-foot (56-meter) long white structure is built over the wreckage of the USS Arizona. The battleship sank in less than 9 minutes with the loss of 1,177 crew. Examine the memorial shrine inscribed with the names of all those who died. Look down into the water where the ship’s rusting hulk is clearly visible. The floating memorial is reached via a shuttle boat.
While the USS Arizona symbolizes the start of the Pacific War, the USS Missouri, which is moored close by, represents its end. Climb aboard to see where the Japanese signed their unconditional surrender.
The war also took place under the water. Learn about the deep-sea battles by exploring the USS Bowfin, one of the submarines that saw action in the Pacific during World War II. Walk through the vessel to see the engine room, torpedo room and sleeping quarters.
Pearl Harbor’s memorials and historic vessels are approximately a 40-minute drive from downtown Honolulu. There are free parking lots at the Visitor Center. Alternatively, you can take public transport as the harbor is on two bus routes.
Pearl Harbor is the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet and an active naval base. Strict security restrictions are in place and visitors are not permitted to bring any type of bags with them including fanny packs and camera bags. A storage facility is available at the Visitor Center and there is a charge per bag. Cameras and camcorders are allowed.