Map of Saipan
& Tour Route

(1 of 122)

Location: Western Pacific
GPS:15°7'53.00",145°43'42.00"

Driving directions




Where is Saipan?
Located in the western Pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 13 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 15 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.

Your Tour!
By the time your "Saipan in a Day" Tour is over, you'll have covered just about every corner of this unique island! But there's no rush. Take your time. Spread it out over a day or twho or three! There's more than enough to learn, marvel at, pose next to and just savor as you discover Saipan!

Categories: World War II

NEXT: American Memorial Park

American Memorial Park

(2 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'57.00",145°43'12.00"

Driving directions






START HERE:

We believe the best place to begin your tour of Saipan is at American Memorial Park. American Memorial Park honors the American and Marianas people who gave their lives during the Marianas Campaign of World War II. 5,204 names are inscribed on a memorial which was dedicated during the 50th Anniversary of the Invasion of Saipan. Within the 133-acre boundary are white beaches, sporting areas, picnic sites, playgrounds, walkways, and a 30-acre protected wetland and mangrove forest.

Even if your interest is NOT World War II, the 20 minute documentary "An Island Called Saipan," will help you understand enough about Saipan, Tinian and Rota to really appreciate the indigenous history and culture, the ethnic and international mix of people, and even the natural beauty of the islands!

Once you've watched the documentary (available in English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Chamorro and Carolinian), visit the gift center then return to the app and click the "next" arrow below for our next suggestion!

Categories: World War II

NEXT: Court of Honor

Court of Honor

(3 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'59.00",145°43'18.00"

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26 Granite Panels inscribed with 5,204 names of service personnel who perished in the Marianas Campaign during World War II

Categories: World War II, Memorial

NEXT: Flag Circle

Flag Circle

(4 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'59.00",145°43'18.00"

Driving directions


Monument: "Here in this American Memorial Park, a grateful nation honors and mourns its fallen sons in the World War II Battles for Saipan and Tinian and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Their supreme sacrifice in the bright morning of their lives far from home contributed to the victory won and to the peace that followed. In solemn rememberance, their names are here forever inscribed these park grounds. The Court of Honor and the Flag Circle flying the service colors under which they bravely fought. Rededicated in humble tribute to their lasting memory." [Dedicated by the United States of America, 1994]

Categories: World War II, Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Chamorro & Carolinian Memorial

Chamorro & Carolinian Memorial

(5 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°13'0.00",145°43'14.00"

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10 granite panels inscribed with 929 names of indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians who died during World War II

Categories: World War II, Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Impact of Battle of Saipan

Impact of Battle of Saipan

(6 of 122)

Location: Everywhere
GPS:Everywhere



Your local guide can show you recent newspaper clippings like these showing the impact the Battle of Saipan continues to have on life here as well as in Japan over 75 years after the invasion--from the ongoing search for the missing to finding unexploded bombs in residences and construction sites.

Categories: World War II, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Puntan Muchot

Puntan Muchot

(7 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°13'4.00",145°42'60.00"

Driving directions


Puntan Muchot/ Ppiyal Ooláng
"An important cultural site"

"Punton Muchot is a sandy point of land that juts into the Saipan Lagoon just south of Tanapag channel. Ancient Chamorros constructed their villages in this general area in the centuries before the arrival of Europeans. In the early 19th century, Punton Muchot was the landing place of Aghurubw, the legendary Carolinian chief and navigator credited with establishing the first Carolinian settlement on the island. According to oral history, Aghurubw covered his canoe with Beach Morning Glory vines known in Carolinian as arabwal. Later, when the first village was established to the south of Puntan Muchot, it came to be called Arabwal after this plant. Carolinians referred to Puntan Muchot as Ppiyal Ooláng ("sandbar where they looked up at the sky") since Carolinian navigators often consulted the stars and weather from this beach before leaving on canoe voyages. It was and still is used as a location to perform the Carolinian ritual of fiiróurów which involves burning the possessions of a recently deceased person. This ritual marks the departure of the deceased's spirit and the official end of the grieving period. Today, this area is commonly called Micro Beach and is a popular picnic and swimming location. As a traditional sacred place, please treat this area with respect."

Heritage: This site is Garapan Heritage Trail Site 2

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Carolinian Village Site

Carolinian Village Site

(8 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°13'9.00",145°43'2.00"

Driving directions


"Carolinian Village Site"

"This point of land was the site of a Carolinian village. Arabwal or Piyal Ooláng, ("beach view of the sky"). AFter a typhoon devastated their home island in 1816, a group of Carolinians resettled here on Saipan, the northern-most reach of their culture. From this beach they could still see three-fourths of the stars in their navigational chart.

"Taking advantage of prevailing winds, Carolinians launched funeral canoes from here to bury their dead at sea. "

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Japanese Pillbox

Japanese Pillbox

(9 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°13'5.00",145°43'1.00"

Driving directions


"Japanese Pillbox"

"The Japanese built this pillbox to defend the harbor against amphibious assault. On June 15, 1944, the Americans landed seven miles south from Susupe Beach to San Antonio Beach. Three weeks later, as U.S. Marines swept north, Japanese troops formed some of the last organized pockets of resistance here at Puntan Muchot (Mutcho Point) and may have fired from this pillbox. In 1944, the pillbox was probably concealed with vegetation or camouflage. The pillbox was armed with a 20-mm anti-aircraft automatic cannon (right)."

Categories: World War II

NEXT: Pre-Positioning Ships

Pre-Positioning Ships

(10 of 122)

Location: Beyond the Reef
GPS:15°13'2.00",145°42'59.00"

Driving directions



Strategic sealift ships are part of the United States Military Sealift Command's (MSC) prepositioning program. There are currently 49[1][2] ships in the program, strategically positioned around the world to support the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Defense Logistics Agency. Most are named after Medal of Honor recipients from the service they support.[2][3][4] The ships are assigned to two[5] Military Prepositioning Ship (MPS) squadrons[6] located in the Indian Ocean at Diego Garcia and in the Western Pacific Ocean at Guam and Saipan.

The MPS ships in each squadron have sufficient equipment, supplies and ammunition to support a Marine Air-Ground Task Force for 30 days. The MPS ships are self-sustaining, with cranes to unload at sea or pierside. MSC chartered the first two ship classes in the MPS role (the Corporal Louis J. Hauge Jr. and Sergeant Matej Kocak classes) from civilian shipping lines and converted them. Later ships were purpose-built. Anywhere along Beach Road as well as Mount Tapochau are good locations to see the ships. The GPS coordinates provided are from a point on Micro Beach

More information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_sealift_ships

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Hôan-den

Hôan-den

(11 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'51.00",145°43'6.00"

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“A shrine to Meiji-era education”This small shrine-like structure on the north side of the present-day Paseo de Marianas was built in 1935 and originally housed a copy of the Imperial Rescript on Education and photographs of the Emperor and Empress. Hôan-den typically were sited at Japanese elementary schools from the 1910s through 1945. The Rescript, issued by Emperor Meiji in 1890, outlined the moral principles that each national was expected to follow. The Rescript was read aloud at all important school events and students were required to study and memorize the text. This Hôan-den was built to service the elementary school for Japanese students which was located immediately to the north of this site. Following established practice, it was built of concrete and equipped with a steel door to protect the Imperial photographs from damage by fire. In the late 1980s, this structure was relocated a few meters to the east to permit the construction of a new commercial building.

Heritage: This site is Garapan Heritage Trail Site 6

Categories: Pre-war Japanese society

NEXT: Nan’yô-ji Gatepost

Nan’yô-ji Gatepost

(12 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'45.00",145°43'3.00"

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"Recalling Buddhism on Saipan"

"A single gatepost of the Nan’yô-ji (South Sea Buddhist Temple) stands on the southeastern corner of the Fiesta Resort and Spa Hotel. The Nan’yô-ji was founded in 1932 by the Reverend Kankô Aoyagi. Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the 6th Century via Korea and has co-existed and intermingled with Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan over the centuries. It is practiced in several forms or schools. The Nan’yô-ji was associated with Jôdo-shû, a branch of “Pure Land” Buddhism derived from the teachings of the Japanese monk Honen. It is the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan. The inscription on the gatepost reads "Jôdo-shû, Taho-zan, Nan’yô-ji". In 1936, at the urging of Aoyagi, the private Saipan Domestic Science Girls School was established immediately north of the Nan’yô-ji. This school was transformed in April 1939 into a public four-year Girls High School, one of two government run girls’ high schools in all of Japan. This school was destroyed during World War II. In 1976, a modern tourist hotel was built on the site of the Nan’yô-ji and the Japanese Girls School. The gatepost is the sole remnant of these sites to survive post-war development. The modern marker to the left of the gatepost reads "Taho-zan, Nan’yô-ji, Kankô Aoyagi, Founder"."

Heritage: This site is Garapan Heritage Trail Site 7

Categories: Pre-war Japanese society

NEXT: Best Sunshine Casino

Best Sunshine Casino

(13 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'43.00",145°43'3.00"

Driving directions


You're probably wondering what that huge, imposing, ornately decorated building in the middle of Garapan is. Well, it's the controversial Best Sunshine casino.

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe

(14 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'31.00",145°43'3.00"

Driving directions


A commercial establishment, but still a favorite spot to visit among tourists. Hard Rock Cafe Inc. is a chain of theme restaurants founded in 1971 by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton in London. In 1979, the cafe began covering its walls with rock and roll memorabilia, a tradition which expanded to others in the chain. In 2007, Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc. was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida and was headquartered in Orlando, Florida, until April 2018, when the corporate offices were relocated to Davie, Florida.[2][3] As of July 2018, Hard Rock International has venues in 74 countries, including 185 cafes, 25 hotels, and 12 casinos. The location on Saipan opened August 18, 1998

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Latte Stone Monument

Latte Stone Monument

(15 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'32.00",145°43'4.00"

Driving directions


"A tribute to the island's ancient indigenous ancestors"

"This latte shaft (halige) and capstone (tasa) at the southwest corner of the the DFS building are from an archaeological site on the eastern side of Saipan. Latte stones served as foundations for traditional Chamorro houses at the time Europeans first arrived in the islands. This latte shaft and capstone were placed here to mark the reburial site of more than 60 ancient Chamorros whose remains were recovered during archaeological work undertaken before the DFS building was constructed. For more than 3,000 years, the Garapan area served as a residential area for the indigenous Chamorro people. Following the Spanish military conquest of Saipan in 1695, a mission village, complete with a Catholic Church, was established in the area now occupied by the Hafadai Hotel immediately west of the Latte Stone Monument. By 1750 all of Saipan's Chamorro population was forcibly resettled to Guam by Spanish authorities thus leaving the island with no permanent residents. Although construction activities over the past century have destroyed all surface traces of these ancient villages, important archaeological resources remain buried throughout the Garapan area. Please treat this site with respect to honor the spirits of the ancient ones who resided in this area for many thousands of years."

Second plaque: "Between the 10th and 15th centuries A.D. there was a Chamorro village on the grounds of what is now the DFS Galleria. Archaeologists studying the village found evidence of a settled and stable way of life based on farming, hunting and fishing.

"The skeletal remains of 65 Chamorro were buried within the settlement. Scientific analysis of the remains provided insight about the health, nutrition and cultural practices of the ancient villagers. The remains of these villages are now reburied near this monument.

"This site is dedicated to honoring and remembering those who came before and their rich cultural heritage and traditions. May the knowledge of that heritage which was gained here enrich the lives and hearts of their descendents and all others who seek to know more of them."

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Carolinian Utt

Carolinian Utt

(16 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'28.00",145°42'60.00"

Driving directions


A Project of the Carolinian Affairs Office, The images below are from the photo book, Saipan Now!You can pick up a copy at Bestseller Bookstore here on Saipan, or you can order a copy to be mailed to your home anywhere in the world, and it should be waiting for you when you get back home!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Government-Organization/Carolinian-Affairs-Office-Bwulasiyool-Refaluwasch-188706355261332/

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Christo Rai Bell Tower

Christo Rai Bell Tower

(17 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'11.00",145°43'6.00"

Driving directions


"Christo Rai Bell Tower"

"Christo Rai Church was constructed in the 1930s during the Japanese administration of the islands. The church was destroyed by the bombardment that preceded the July 1944 invasion of Saipan. After the war, a new church was built at this location. This bell tower is the only surviving portion of the former church. The tower was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

"This image shows the bell tower under construction circa 1932. The church stood a short distance south of the tower. The roof of the administration building is visible in the background. The administration building was also destroyed during the war."

Landmark Status: This site was added to the National Register of Historic Places as of October 30, 1984

Categories: Pre-war Japanese society, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Church Bell Tower

Church Bell Tower

(18 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'11.00",145°43'1.00"

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"Catholic Church Bell Tower"

"Marking the religious center of Garapan"

"In the early 1930s, a Spanish Jesuit oversaw the construction of a concrete bell tower immediately adjacent to the Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church in Garapan. The bell tower, which exhibits German Romanesque architectural features, replaced a wooden frame bell tower that had stood on the same site. The Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church, a large masonry building completed in 1893, served as the focal point of religious life in Garapan from Spanish times until it was destroyed during the World War II battle for Saipan. The bell tower is the sole surviving architectural remnant from the pre-war church. In the late 1970s, the Kristo Rai Catholic Church was constructed on the site of the former pre-war church. The bell tower is no longer in use. It serves as a local landmark attesting to the island's Catholic tradition."

Categories: Pre-war Japanese society

NEXT: Garapan Dock

Garapan Dock

(19 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'10.00",145°42'60.00"

Driving directions


"Garapan Dock"

"An important maritime landmark"

"The Garapan Dock was originally constructed in 1900 by the German administration to serve as the government landing spot. By 1905, it had a small boat harbor and ws a popular swimming area for children. The Japanese continued to use this dock during the 1920s and added a small concrete lighthouse on the reef to help mark the narrow channel through which small boats entered the lagoon (lighthouse is still visible). Local residents, however, continued to refer to this dock as Pantalan Aleman, or the "German Pier." It was significantly expanded by the Japanese administration in the 1930s and used until being damaged during the World War II battle for the island. Following the American capture of Saipan during World War II, the Garapan Dock was refurbished and utilized for off-loading military supplies. In the early post-war years, the dock was utilized as a base of operations for the Saipan Fishing Company, a locally-owned fishing cooperative that used reconditioned Japanese tuna fishing boats. A second dock, made of coral rubble, was built by the U.S. military for use by the small tuna fishing fleet. Remnants of this dock are visible just to the south of the main Garapan Dock. From this use, the area gained its current name Fishing Base as it is called by many local residents. Today, the main dock is used by local fishermen and water sports companies."

Heritage: This site is Garapan Heritage Trail Site 11

Categories: German era, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Thursday Street Market

Thursday Street Market

(20 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'10.00",145°42'60.00"

Driving directions


If you're on Saipan on a Thursday evening from 5:30pm to about 9pm, you should definitely check out the Thursday Night Street Market in the space between Garapan Dock and Beach Road across the street from Kristo Rai Church. There'll be vendors selling local cuisine, music, cultural performers, arts, crafts and more! A great opportunity to do some people-watching of local residents as well as tourists on the island of Saipan!

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Administration Hill

Administration Hill

(21 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°12'9.00",145°43'2.00"

Driving directions


"Administration Hill"

[The information on the actual sign is incorrect. The correct content is below]
"The seats of government for Germany and Japan"

"The low hill immediately behind the Kristo Rai Catholic Church is now a quiet residential area but it played an important role during both the German and Japanese colonial administrations. In early 1900, German District Officer Georg Fritz built a handsome two-story administration building on this site. At the base of the hill Fritz constructed a retaining wall that featured concrete latte stones which, when viewed from the landing dock, appeared to support the administration building. This building was destroyed by a typhoon in 1905 and replaced by a schoolhouse. The school was damaged by another typhoon shortly after Japan took possession of the island in October 1914. Sometime in the early 1920s, the old German schoolhouse was renovated and served as Saipan Branch office of Nan’yô Cho. It was the official seat of the Japanese administration on Saipan until its destruction during World War II."

Heritage: This site is Garapan Heritage Trail Site 14

Categories: German era, Pre-war Japanese society

NEXT: Japanese Fortifications

Japanese Fortifications

(22 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°11'58.00",145°43'1.00"

Driving directions


"Japanese World War II Fortifications"

"Reminders of the Battle of Saipan"

Scattered throughout the Garapan area are three Japanese defensive positions built to protect the island from U.S. amphibious invasion during World War II. These three fortifications (from north to south) include: a small rock and concrete bunker built to house a machine gun located at the western end of American Memorial Park; a larger concrete blockhouse on the beach at the Hotel which enclosed a 20mm cannon; and a medium-sized bunker just to the south of the Garapan Dock which probably protected a heavy machine gun. Japanese defensive doctrine at the time of the Marianas Campaign called for the enemy to be defeated at the beaches and thrown back into the sea. Accordingly, priority was given to constructing coastal defenses rather than at inland locations. Most of the concrete fortifications were built by the Japanese in the last few months before the American invasion when construction materials were in short supply. Some fortifications lacked weapons at the time of the invasion. Following the loss of the Marianas, Japanese commanders switched to a defense "in-depth" which was employed during the battles of Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Heritage: This site is Garapan Heritage Trail Site 3,4 &12

Categories: World War II

NEXT: Thirteen Fishermen

Thirteen Fishermen

(23 of 122)

Village: Garapan
GPS:15°11'46.00",145°43'1.00"

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Thirteen Fisherman Monument

Inscription: "In Memory of the Thirteen (13) Fisherman Lost at Sea on September 23, 1986 during Typhoon Ben aboard M/V Olwol. Their bravey and courage will always be remembered by families and friends who knew them as great fisherman."

"May you rest in peace for you are forever in our hearts."

Sadly, the bodies of the fishermen were never found, but the wreckage of the Olwol was found shortly after the storm.

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Japanese Tank & Bunker

Japanese Tank & Bunker

(24 of 122)

Village: I Liyang
GPS:15°10'53.00",145°42'49.00"

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This popular site features a Japanese tank atop a bunker and marks the northern-most landing beach (Red Beach) of the American invasion of Saipan.

Categories: World War II

NEXT: Red Beach Night Attack

Red Beach Night Attack

(25 of 122)

Village: I Liyang
GPS:15°11'12.00",145°42'58.00"

Driving directions


"Red Beach Night Attack"

"Near here about 1,000 Japanese infantrymen joined 44 tanks in a powerful counterattack against the Marines holding Red Beach. This was the first large-scale tank battle of the Pacific War. At first light the next morning, Marines counted 31 tanks burning on this battlefield. Two days’ fighting on this beachhead cost the U.S. 2nd Marine Division 3,500 casualties."
"On the night of the 16th June, we carried out a large-scale night attack. One battalion broke through a portion of the enemy’s line…but we suffered great losses."-- Captain Taisa Shimamura
The battle evolved itself into a madhouse of noise, tracers, and flashing lights. As tanks were hit and set afire, they silhouetted other tanks coming out of the flickering shadows. --Major James Donovan


Categories: World War II

NEXT: Red Beach landing

Red Beach landing

(26 of 122)

Village: Chalan Lau Lau
GPS:15°10'19.00",145°42'39.00"

Driving directions


"If They Would Only Stop"

For three days before any Marines came ashore on this invasion beach, battleships, heavy cruisers, and destroyers—part of a 500-warship fleet—pounded targets near the beaches and inland with their heavy guns. More than 200 American warplanes strafed and bombed Saipan before the June 1944 landings.
Caught in…naval gunfire, the wounded and dead…increase[d]…most feared… was the naval shelling, which…reach[ed] the obscure mountain caves where… CPs were located. …The feeling of everyone is ‘if they would only stop the naval shelling.’ -Unknown Japanese prisoner of war
"At 05:00 there was a fierce enemy air attack. I have at last come to the place where I will die. I am pleased to think that I will die calmly in true samurai style. Naval gunfire…was too terrible for words.…Toward evening the firing died down, but at night naval gunfire continued as before."--Diary of an unknown Japanese soldier


Categories: World War II

NEXT: WWII Soldiers Memorial

WWII Soldiers Memorial

(27 of 122)

Village: Oleai
GPS:15°10'14.00",145°42'39.00"

Driving directions


English content pending

Categories: World War II, Memorial

NEXT: Invasion Beaches Landmark

Invasion Beaches Landmark

(28 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'46.00",145°42'26.00"

Driving directions



"Invasion Beaches National Historic Landmark"

"Capture of the Marianas became an objective during WWII partially because the islands could provide air bases for long range B-29 bombers that were capable of reaching targets on the Japanese home islands. It was hoped that intensive bombing by land-based bombers would bring about an end to the conflict without an invasion of the home islands. The Invasion Beaches National Historic Landmark commemorates the location where American forces came ashore on June 15, 1944. The invasion was supported by naval artillery and naval and Marine Corps carrier-based aircraft. Aircraft also bombed airfields on Rota and Pagan to prevent their use against the invasion. Defense of the Marianas was so critical for the Japanese that they dispatched a large naval task force to destroy the invading force. The Americans were aware of the approach of the Japanese fleet because they had been able to de-code some Japanese communications. The resulting Battle of the Philippine Sea was a serious defeat for the Japanese, particularly for their naval air power.

"The invasion beaches extend from Agingan Point in the south all the way north to near Quartermaster Road, a distance of approximately 7,000 meters. A total of 66,000 Marines and Army soldiers participated in the invasion. They were opposed by approximately 30,000 determined Japanese defenders, most of whom died resisting the invasion. The island was declared secured on July 9, 2944. More than 3,000 Americans, as well almost all the Japanese and Korean servicemen and hundreds Chamorro and Carolinian civilians lost their lives during the battle. The Invasion Beaches National Historic Landmark was established on February 4, 1985.

"Today, the tranquil appearance of the beach and lagoon provide no indication of the events that occurred on this spot over a half century ago, but a recent archaeological survey of the lagoon indicated that the aftermath of the battle is preserved below the surface."

Landmark Status: This site was added to the National Register of Historic Places as of February 4, 1985

Categories: World War II

NEXT: Veterans Memorial

Veterans Memorial

(29 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'45.00",145°42'25.00"

Driving directions


English content pending

Categories: Memorial

NEXT: Sherman Tank in Lagoon

Sherman Tank in Lagoon

(30 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'42.00",145°42'21.00"

Driving directions


"Of the sixty-eight tanks in the first wave [of the invasion of the Battle of Saipan], all but three arrived safely. One burned. One was swamped on the reef, and one received a direct hit from an antitank weapon firing frm the shore at about 25 yards range."--from The War in the Pacific Campaign in the Marianas by Philip A. Crowl, Published by the Center for Military History, Washington DC. Chapter V(5): Invasion. page 84


Categories: World War II

NEXT: Guma Sakman/Boat House

Guma Sakman/Boat House

(31 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'42.00",145°42'22.00"

Driving directions


Guma Sakman is the home of the 500 Sails Project. The name "500 Sails" was inspired by the arrival of the Spanish galleon San Pedro at Guam in 1565, when it was met by the Chamorros in their sailing canoes. Our goal is to reclaim the maritime tradition in the Marianas by getting 500 traditional Chamorro and Carolinians proas on the water in the Marianas again. By matching the number of proas seen on the water in 1565, we will have restored our maritime traditions. The target date to accomplish this is 2030.

The 500 Sails Guma Sakman (canoe house), opened in June, 2017. Programs conducted at the Guma Sakman include:
• Proa Sailing
• Water Safety (including open-water swimming)
• Boating Safety
• Cultural Programs (including maritime history, language and navigation)

More information: http://500sails.org

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: DCCA Boat House

DCCA Boat House

(32 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'35.00",145°42'22.00"

Driving directions


This unique project sponsored by the CNMI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs (DCCA) seeks to preserve the unique canoe-building and celestial navigation tradition within Pacific island culture. Expert boat builders and master navigators have been brought in to share their knowledge and skills with the local population and youth in that effort. Here you can see an actual canoe in process, and you may get to meet one of the master builders if you know when to visit! Ask your local guide!

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Joeten-Kiyu Library

Joeten-Kiyu Library

(33 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'28.00",145°42'16.00"

Driving directions



You never know what you'll find at Saipan's public library: free Chamorro language classes, Ukelele lessons, art exhibits, writer workshops, and books in different languages and by local authors to read on the beach during your vacation! There's also a cellphone charging station!

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Saturday Sabalu Market

Saturday Sabalu Market

(34 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'35.00",145°42'22.00"

Driving directions


You have to get up early for this one! Starting at 6:00am every Saturday morning at Kilili Beach Park in Susupe, you'll find local farmers offering a variety of fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables as well as some flown in from Rota, plus some local dishes as well as house plants for sale. Get there early! The best selection goes quickly!

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: CNMI Superior Court

CNMI Superior Court

(35 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'35.00",145°42'23.00"

Driving directions


Yes, it seems like an unusual place for a tourist to visit, but if you're looking for local culture, you'll find an actual latte stone on the courthouse grounds as well as a fascinating display inside the building featuring photographs of Pacific island culture from the over a hundred years ago!

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Reburial Site

Reburial Site

(36 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'34.00",145°42'22.00"

Driving directions


[Directly in front of Superior Court Building

Categories: Chamorro/Carolinian/Pacific Culture

NEXT: Sat Flea Market @ Nauru Bldg

Sat Flea Market @ Nauru Bldg

(37 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'26.00",145°42'19.00"

Driving directions


The Saturday morning market at the Marianas Business Plaza parking lot in Susupe features dozens of vendors selling new and used items ranging from tropical fish to electronics, as well as a small selection street vendor food.

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Susupe Park

Susupe Park

(38 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'19.00",145°42'5.00"

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This park is a favorite spot for barbecuing and family gatherings and also features a playground and war relics.

Categories: World War II, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Susupe Park Bunker

Susupe Park Bunker

(39 of 122)

Village: Susupe
GPS:15°9'17.00",145°42'0.00"

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The bunker on the beach at Susupe Park is one of the larger WWII structures on island. With a Sherman tank visible in the lagoon and the Pre-positining ships beyond the reef, this site may offer the best visual cues of what the American troops saw as they landed on this invasion beach during the Battle of Saipan.

Categories: World War II

NEXT: Japanese shrine @ Mt Carmel

Japanese shrine @ Mt Carmel

(40 of 122)

Village: Chalan Kanoa
GPS:15°9'2.00",145°42'9.00"

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English content pending

Categories: Memorial

NEXT: Sugar Dock

Sugar Dock

(41 of 122)

Village: Chalan Kanoa 2
GPS:15°9'3.00",145°42'10.00"

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Under the direction of Haruji Matsue, the Nanyo Kohatsu Kabushiki Kaisha (NKKK) established the sugar industry on Saipan. All three major plantations: As Lito, Chacha (Kagman) and Marpi Point provided tons of cane that were processed in the sugar mill and taken to Sugar Dock to be shipped to Japan. After the capture of Saipan during World War II, Sugar Dock was used by the U. S. military. Several intact Japanese Zero ghter planes were taken to Sugar Dock for shipment back to the United States. One of the planes is now on display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. Today, Sugar Dock, launches boats and is a favorite swimming area for island residents.

Categories: Pre-war Japanese society, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Mount Carmel Cathedral

Mount Carmel Cathedral

(42 of 122)

Village: Chalan Kanoa 2
GPS:15°9'5.00",145°42'9.00"

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Built by community and surplus building materials supplied by the U. S. military, the present Mount Carmel Cathedral sits on the pre-war Japanese sugar mill (NKKK) site. With beautiful stained glass windows and avor all its own, Mount Carmel Cathedral has been serving as the religious and social center of the island since 1949. The Bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, directly appointed by the Pope at Vatican City, holds weekly services here. Visitors are asked to respect the Cathedral grounds by remaining silent and well-mannered.

Categories: Pre-war Japanese society, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Lake Susupe

Lake Susupe

(43 of 122)

Village: Chalan Hagoi, Susupe
GPS:15°9'10.00",145°42'36.00"

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This fresh-water lake is the only lake in Saipan and is located in the village of Susupe. It is home to a few species of birds found only in the Marianas. One of the endangered birds, the Mariana common moorhen, has a Saipan population of 30-40. It is unknown what natural trees grew here because they were cleared in the 1930s to make room for sugar cane fields and the native fish died when the tilapia was introduced in the 1960s. Today, large ironwood trees grow and, in some places, very thick 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) reeds. There are also 17 little ponds around the lake. The ponds and even the lake are home to very large fancy-tail guppies. The lake is often visited by birds from Asia which migrate to Lake Susupe during the winter.

You'll be walking through private property to get to the water's edge. If there is someone there, please be respectful, courteous and ask for permission before proceeding and feel free to show your appreciation.

Categories: Nature

NEXT: Camp Susupe

Camp Susupe

(44 of 122)

Village: Susupe,Chalan Kanoa
GPS:15°9'3.00",145°42'6.00"

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Two Years in the Camps

"Camp Susupe was awful just tents with sand for floors...I saw my Japanese mother only once after my arrival.…She was very weak and… died not long after that. Because I was a girl I was allowed to stay with my Chamorro family, but because Japanese law prohibits a male child to be adopted by non-Japanese, my brother was repatriated to Japan." --Sister Antonieta Cepeda Ada
"When the big guns fell silent in July 1944, the hardships were not over for Saipan’s civilians. Hungry, wounded, exhausted, and traumatized, some 18,000 survivors—half of them children—were gathered into three makeshift shantytowns that sprawled over the neighborhoods near here."

"Chamorros and Carolinians lived behind barbed wire in rough conditions in the tents and shacks of these camps for two years. Saipan was the first place that the U.S. military was responsible for feeding and sheltering thousands of civilians during the Pacific War, and the pre-invasion preparations were inadequate. Supplies were always short
The Japanese civilians, the Okinawans, and the Koreans were inside another camp...But, in late 1945, they were sent back to their countries." -Herman Reyes Guerrero


Categories: World War II

NEXT: Bird Watching

Bird Watching

(45 of 122)

Location: Everywhere
GPS:Everywhere





Keep your eyes open! Saipan is home to a variety of sea and land birds. During your tour, you're likely to hear then see the unmistakable bright blue and white Kingfisher or the Pacific Reef Heron while you're on the beach!

Categories: Nature

NEXT: Chalan Kanoa Village

Chalan Kanoa Village

(46 of 122)

Village: Chalan Kanoa
GPS:15°8'44.00",145°42'5.00"

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Prior to Japanese administration, the Chalan Kanoa area served as a large coconut plantation for the copra trade and cattle husbandry that served as one of the five Spanish crown deeds. It bears a name from a long line of water troughs for the cattle. In 1916, two Japanese firms attempted to establish sugar industry on Saipan. One failed, stranding about 1,000 imported Japanese laborers with their barracks in Chalan Kanoa. The second, headed by Haruji Matsue, succeeded and Chalan Kanoa became the site of a mill town for hundreds of laborers who worked in the nearby sugar mill. Only Japanese and Okinawans resided in Chalan Kanoa in the pre-war years. Following the battle of Saipan, the village was used as a civilian camp where Chamorros and Carolinians were provided emergency shelter and food. Following the closure of the Camp in July 1946, Chalan Kanoa became the largest residential village on Saipan. Historical remnants from the Japanese administration can be seen throughout the village including two well-preserved wooden residences.

Categories: Pre-war Japanese society, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: CK Round House

CK Round House

(47 of 122)

Village: Chalan Kanoa
GPS:15°8'45.00",145°42'8.00"

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Chalan Kanoa Round House

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Categories: Pre-war Japanese society, Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Garment Factory District

Garment Factory District

(48 of 122)

Village: San Antonio
GPS:15°8'19.00",145°41'58.00"

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Saipan was home to a thriving garment industry from the mid 1980s until the last garment factory closed in 2009. From a high of 36 factories back in the mid to late 1990s, the last factory closed on January 15, 2009.Tourism had traditionally been a vital source of the island's revenue and economic activities. But in the 1980s, garment manufacturing became one of the main economic driving forces in Saipan when the U.S. government agreed that the CNMI would be exempted from certain federal minimum wage and immigration laws. While one result of these changes was an increase in hotels and tourism, the main consequence was that dozens of garment factories opened and clothing manufacturing became the island's chief economic force, employing thousands of foreign contract laborers (mostly young Chinese women) at low wages. The manufacturers could legally label these low cost garments "Made in the U.S.A." and the clothing shipped to the U.S. market was also exempt from U.S. tariffs. By 1998, the Saipan garment industry exported close to $1 billion worth of apparel products to the mainland. The working conditions and treatment experienced by employees in these factories were the subject of controversy and criticism.

In addition to many foreign-owned and run companies, many well-known U.S. brands also operated garment factories in Saipan for much of the last three decades. Brands included Gap (as of 2000 operating six factories there), Levi Strauss, Phillips-Van Heusen, Abercrombie & Fitch, L'Oreal subsidiary Ralph Lauren (Polo), Lord & Taylor, Tommy Hilfiger, and Walmart.

Over the years since January 2009, when the last factory ceased operations, many of the sites like the one shown here have deteriorated. Here is what MGM Factory looked like then, and what it looks like now (2020).

More information: http://www.saipanfactorygirl.com

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Yellow Beach

Yellow Beach

(49 of 122)

Village: San Antonio
GPS:15°7'31.00",145°41'37.00"

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"Bitter Combat on Yellow Beach"

Heavy Japanese fire pinned down the three regiments of the U.S. 4th Marine Division that stormed this beach on the morning of Thursday, June 15, 1944. To make their way up the first 12 yards of Yellow Beach took the Marines a full hour of heavy fighting.

By sundown of D-Day, about 40,000 Marines were ashore, holding onto a 1,000-yard-deep beachhead that was 10,000 yards long. To take this tiny sliver of Saipan on the first day of battle cost the blood of nearly 2,000 Americans.

Categories: World War II

NEXT: Voice of America

Voice of America

(50 of 122)

Village: Agingan
GPS:15°7'15.00",145°41'36.00"

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Voice of America (VOA) is a U.S. multimedia agency which serves as the United States non-government institution for non-military, external broadcasting. It is the largest U.S. international broadcaster. VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in more than 40 languages which it distributes to affiliate stations around the globe. It is primarily viewed by foreign audiences, so VOA programming has an influence on public opinion abroad regarding the United States and its people.

Categories: Contemporary CNMI life

NEXT: Agingan Point