Cobia Interpretive Center

Use your imagination in a mock up of a submarine control room.  Act like a sailor and steer the boat! Listen to interviews by World War II veterans.  Also enjoy a short introductory video about the 28 submarines built in Manitowoc during World War II and USS Cobia.

Bon Voyage Hikawa Maru

Hikawa Maru, an 11-foot, highly intricate model of a Japanese passenger liner, is returning to its home country after gracing the Wisconsin Maritime Museum for the past 34 years. On Thursday, December 12, the 1,680-lb. Hikawa Maru will be carefully packed for its 6,000 mile journey to the NYK Maritime Museum in Yokohama, Japan, where it will join its full-size namesake, which is now a floating museum.

“It’s been our privilege to be caretakers of this iconic model for more than three decades,” says Rolf Johnson, CEO of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. “We want to let the public know that Hikawa Maru will be leaving the community shortly but there’s still time to bid the model bon voyage. We’ve created a special goodbye card and encourage everyone to write a message or add their signature. Copies of these ‘goodbye wishes’ will be shared with our Japanese colleagues at their museum.”

The Hikawa Maru ship was built in 1930 in Yokohama for Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) as both a cargo and luxury ocean liner, sailing between Yokohama and Seattle. During WWII, she was converted into a hospital vessel and later distinguished herself as Japan's only large passenger liner to survive the war. Afterward, she resumed ocean liner service until retiring in 1961 to her home port of Yokohama, where she became a museum ship maintained by NYK and the NYK Maritime Museum. In 2003, Hikawa Maru was designated as a Yokohama cultural asset.

“NYK is honored to have the Hikawa Maru model return to Japan, where it will become an important part of our collection at the NYK Maritime Museum. We are very grateful to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum for the great care they have exhibited with the Hikawa Maru. The model is of great historical value to our company and we are eager to put it on display. We know that visitors to the museum will appreciate its beauty and enjoy comparing it to the full-sized Hikawa Maru,” says William Payne, president, NYK Line North America, Inc.

Executives from NYK North America Group are traveling to Manitowoc to accompany Hikawa Maru on her trip home. On December 12 at 10:00 a.m., the Wisconsin Maritime Museum will host an official transfer ceremony and press event to mark the change in ownership of the model, which is one of the best examples of this type of model in the world.

“While we’re sad to see Hikawa Maru go after so many years of being on display here, we know she’s going where she really belongs, and will now delight the many visitors to the actual Hikawa Maru museum,” says Johnson. “With her departure, we’ll gain a significant amount of exhibit space to showcase our WWII era submarine, the USS Cobia. Expanding our Cobia Interpretive Center has been a long-term goal of ours, so we’ll now be able to showcase artifacts, letters and photographs from the men that served aboard Cobia – items the public has never seen before. It’s interesting because the two museums will both be more complete than they were before. The NYK Maritime Museum is gaining a model of its signature ship and we’re gaining space that we can dedicate to our signature sub.”

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is located at 75 Maritime Dr., Manitowoc. The museum is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.