Historical places in Australia and Pacific
Asan Beach was one of the landing sites for the American forces, when they retook Guam from the occupying Japanese forces in 1944. Today, the beach park includes a war memorial as well as picnic tables under the shady palm trees. As the beach itself is pretty rough, it's mostly used by locals - if any at all.
Built by the Spanish at the beginning of the 19th century, when Umatac was an important port. The fort has apparently been damaged by treasure-hunters through times, so there aren't more than three old cannons. But the view over Umatac Bay is splendid.
Gådao's Cave is named after an Chamorro legend chief and it's probably also him depicted on the petroglyphs. Look the legend up, as it's too long to be replicated here. To find the cave, park on the dirt road. There is a sign leading down a trail towards the sea. There is a cave-structure there, which you can walk through, this is however not Gådao's. Follow the path over the spiky limestone and Gådao's Cave will appear (there are two concrete steps). There is a third open cave (more of an overgang) after Gådao's with nice views. Again, just follow the path over the limestones. Only Gådao's has petroglyphs.
Hidden in a residential neighbourhood lies this WWII memorial. It's unusual that it commemorates the Japanese. The centerpiece is a 15 m tall monument that abstractly depicts hands in prayer. It was here the head commander of the Japanese forces committed harakiri as it was clear that the Americans will over run them. Walk down the stairs to the bamboo forest, where there are several caves used by the japanese. You can crawl into them, if you’re not afraid of the dark and getting dirty.
There are quite a few of these random leftovers from when Guam was a Spanish colony (1565-1898). This is an old stone arch bridge from the late 19th century. It has been damaged, but you can still walk across it.
Story of Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi is fascinating. When the Americans retook Guam in 1944, many Japanese soldiers refuse to surrender, so they hide in the jungle. Some longer than other. Yokoi managed to hide in the jungle for 28 years, but some local hunters discovered him in 1972. It turned out he knew the war was over in 1952, but explained "We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive". The real cave doesn't exists anymore, but there is a replica close to the original location in Talofofo Falls Resort Park. There isn't much explanation in English, but if you know the story, the cave is interesting.
The Japanese commander of Betio, Rear Admiral Keiji Shibazaki, was killed in this bunker along with his senior officers, when the US bombarded Tarawa the 22 November 1943. The bunker lies next to a church and is fenced off. We didn't venture into the bunker, but judged on the amount of trash elsewhere, we would guess there would be trash too. There should be a tank in the lagoon behind the bunker.
Two giant Japanese guns on the ocean side. They are of the type 8-inch Vickers, which originally were supplied to Japan by Great Britain during the Russo-Japanese war. There is also a bunker, which is half sunken into the lagoon. A similar gun stands in the far southwest corner of Betio.
Two Japanese guns stand right next to Red Beach. Today, there are also a basketball court and a dump site.
The US captured Tarawa Atoll from the Japanese in a battle which took place 20-23 November 1943. The landing sites was the long beach at Betio, which was split into three sections, Red Beach 1, 2 and 3. Nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fighting. Today, Red Beach 2 is obstructed by a new shipwreck, but at low tide, it's still possible to see a US Sherman tank on the bottom of the lagoon. There are many more shipwrecks further west.