Japanese Bombing Site

Redwood along the trail

  • Easy
  • 1.6 miles round trip
  • 100 feet elevation gain

In the darkest hours of World War II, after Pearl Harbor and the retaliatory night bombing of Tokyo, a Japanese submarine surfaced off the southern Oregon Coast. Sailors rolled an airplane from a waterproof hangar on the wave-swept deck, attached a pair of wings, loaded two incendiary bombs, and launched the aircraft by catapult. With his family’s 400-year-old samurai sword strapped to the seat to give him courage, pilot Nobuo Fujita flew inland, determined to undermine the U.S. war effort by starting a forest fire.

It was September 9, 1942. Fire lookouts spotted an unknown plane over Wheeler Ridge and scrambled through the dense redwood forest. They found a cluster of shattered trees and easily put out a few small, smoldering fires. Fifty years later, Nobuo Fujita returned to the Wheeler Ridge bomb site, this time as an ambassador for peace. He had already presented his ancient samurai sword to the city of Brookings as a token of reconciliation. Now he hiked a short path across the ridge to plant a redwood seedling where his bomb had fallen.

To find the trail, …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range.

Japanese submarine with airplane