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Places In Saipan: Mt. Marpi (Suicide Cliff)

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Marpi
  • Where: Saipan, USA
  • Elevation: 833 feet
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Always Open
  • More Information: Wikipedia

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Narrative

After visiting Banzai Cliff in northern Saipan, I next made the drive to the top of the 833 foot Mt. Marpi:

This mountain is more popularly known as “Suicide Cliff” due to its tragic World War II past where many Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths rather than surrender to US forces at the conclusion of the World War II Battle of Saipan.

The drive to Suicide Cliff was really nice due to the impressive views of the cliff that can be seen from the road:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

After driving below the cliffs the road begins to slowly ascend up the side of the mountain where some more nice views of Mt. Marpi can be seen:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

As I drove up the road something I was surprised to see was how much cattle was grazing in northern Saipan:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

After ascending up the eastern slope of the mountain the road then ascends the backside of the mountain towards its summit.  It is from here that some great views of some of the other jagged cliffs in northern Saipan can be seen:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Here is a closer look at one of the cliffs that had a big satellite antenna on it:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Just before driving up to the summit there is a look out that provides a spectacular view of the coastline leading towards the resort village of Garapan visible in the distance:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

I also had a view in the far distance of the highest mountain on the island, the 1,554 foot Mt. Tapochau:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Here is a panorama I took of the view from this lookout:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

After taking in those views I then drove up to the summit of Mt. Marpi:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

I parked my car and before walking over to the cliff’s edge I stopped to take a look at the various memorials constructed to the Japanese as well as Korean laborers and soldiers who committed suicide at this cliff:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

After walking to the cliff’s edge I couldn’t help, but picture the people throwing themselves off this cliff; it must have been terrifying:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

It was kind of bittersweet to be taking in such beautiful views from a place with such a tragic past.  From the view point the relatively flat land below the cliff known as Marpi Point could be seen to include the Saipan Veteran’s Cemetery (left) and Banzai Cliff (right):

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Here is a closer look at Banzai Cliff which was easily recognizable due to all of its memorials:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Scanning further to the right of Banzai Cliff, all I saw was more farmland and jungle:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

What cannot be seen today is the fact that underneath that jungle during World War II was an airstrip used by the Japanese.  Here is a panorama picture of the view looking towards where the airstrip would have been located:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Looking the east I could see the island’s garbage dump a large mesa that rose above it:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Here is a panorama of the view from Suicide Cliff looking towards the east where the garbage dump is located:

Picture from Mt. Marpi, Saipan

Conclusion

Taking in the views from Mt. Marpi should be part of any visit to Saipan.  Before visiting Mt. Marpi it is well worth stopping to see the Korean Peace Memorialthe Okinawa Peace Memorial, the Monument to the War Dead in the Mid-Pacific, the Last Command Post and Banzai Cliff as well.  Visiting all these sites gives visitors a good appreciation of the natural beauty as well as the tragic World War II history of northern Saipan.

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