NYK Hikawa Maru is a ship that caught my eye decades ago when I chanced upon a 1/700 scale model of the passenger ship at a department store. My meagre allowance being what it was, one could only look at but not buy the kit.
When the Internet came along and I learned that she was still afloat, I made it a point to visit Hikawa Maru.... eventually.
That visit was made on a rainy November morning in 2015 when we made our first visit to Japan. We made a stop first at the NYK Maritime Museum before heading to the Hikawa Maru.
During World War 2, five Japanese shipping lines operated in Syonan (昭南, Light of the South). These were located along the Singapore waterfront along Collyer Quay, near the present-day Clifford Pier and the Fullerton Hotel. NYK was here, along with Japanese shipping lines ISK, OSK, KKK and MBK. This WW2-era map of Syonan harbour shows their locations.
The Japanese-administered Syonan was a major port of call not just for Japanese marus. Almost every major surface combatant in the Imperial Fleet made port calls in Singapore, particularly their aircraft carriers and heavy cruisers.