During World War I, Japan participated on the side of the Entente Powers, seizing some of Germany's Asian and Pacific colonial territories, as well as prisoners of war. Around one thousand German soldiers were held at Bando Camp outside central Naruto, where they were allowed to live rather freely, working within and developing friendships with the local Japanese community.

After the war ended, the friendships continued on, eventually resulting in a sister city relationship between Naruto and the German city of Lueneburg. The German House (ドイツ館, Doitsukan) was built as a gesture of goodwill, and houses an excellent museum on the lives of the Bando Camp prisoners. A variety of models and photographs are on display with descriptions in Japanese, German and English.

A ten minute walk south of the German House lies the German Village Park (ドイツ村公園, Doitsu Mura Kōen), a small, somewhat neglected park with a memorial that lists the names of the German prisoners who died during their imprisonment.

Access

By train

Take a train from Naruto Station to Ikenotani Station and transfer to another train to Bando Station. The entire one way trip takes between 30 and 45 minutes, costs 260 yen and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass). There is about one connection per hour. From Bando Station, it is about 1.5 kilometers to Doitsu Mura Koen (about 20 minutes on foot) and an additional ten minute walk to the German House.

By local bus

Buses between Naruto Station and Itano Station (Oasa Line) stop at Doitsu Mura Koen along the way. Some of the buses also stop at the German House, which is located a ten minute walk north of Doitsu Mura Koen. The one way trip from Naruto Station takes about 30 minutes and costs 350 yen. Buses operate only once every two hours.

By highway bus

The German House is a ten minute walk from Naruto Nishi bus stop along the Takamatsu Expressway. The stop is served by highway buses from Takamatsu bound for Tokushima, but note that buses in the opposite direction (from Tokushima) do not allow travelers to get off at the Naruto Nishi bus stop.

How to get to and around Naruto

Hours & Fees

German House

Hours

9:30 to 17:00 (admission until 16:30)

Closed

4th Monday every month (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 28 to 31

Admission

400 yen