Maizuru is a port city in Japan's Kyoto Prefecture (Honshu Island) located on a scenic bay (an inlet of Sea of Japan). Prefecture's capital is Kyoto. Maizuru is located on Kutsujima Island, with total area approx 342 km2 (132 ml2) and population around 85,000.
City's development was greatly spurred after 1901, when a naval port was opened. During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), here were homeported numerous Japanese warships due to port's proximity to Sea of Japan (between Japan, Korea, Sakhalin Island and mainland Russia). After WW2 (1939-1945), for over 13 years Maizuru was the key seaport for returning from continental Asia Japanese detainees and servicemen. Currently, here are the headquarters of JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force / aka Japanese Navy). National Institute of Technology (Maizuru College), Kyoto University (Maizuru Fisheries Research Station) and Japan Coast Guard School are also in the city.
In June 1961, Maizuru and Nakhodka (Russia) became sister-cities - the first ever Russian-Japanese sister towns. Since 1982 the town is twinned with Dalian (China) and since 1998 - with Portsmouth (England).
Maizuru Shipyard is part of Maizuru Naval Arsenal. The shipyard was the 4th (last) of Imperial Japan's all 4 principal naval shipyards serving the Japanese Navy. The Naval District was established in 1889 and was responsible for country's maritime defense. In 1901 was opened a ship-repair drydock, following the establishment of Maizuru Navy Base. The naval port was officially opened in 1903. Two more drydocks were opened in 1904 (dock 2) and 1914 (dock 3 - Japan's largest at the time).
In the period 1936-1945, the navy port was largely expanded, specializing in shipbuilding and production of military aircraft and weapons. Currently, Maizuru Shipyard is owned by Japan Marine United Corporation. Facility's former head office and some warehouses today function as museums. Some of the drydocks and one of the pre-war cranes are still operational.