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Places In Saipan: Chalan Kanoa

Basic Information

  • Name: Chalan Kanoa
  • Location: Saipan, USA
  • Founded:
  • Population:
  • More Information:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Narrative

When I first began planning my trip to Saipan I did plenty of Internet research before settling on a hotel to stay at.  I decided to stay at the Kanoa Resort in the village of Chalan Kanoa because of the competitive price and mostly good reviews the hotel had received online.  I also liked the fact that it was not located in the main tourist town of Garapan that can be congested with everything that goes with being a main tourism center.  Chalan Kanoa on the other hand feels more like a normal village despite having a handful of resorts in it.  One morning I decided to get up and do a long walk along the beach that borders the village.  Here is the view of the morning sunrise from my room that borders this beautiful beach:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

After eating breakfast at the hotel I began my walk north up the beach in front of the resort

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

It was a beautiful day out as most days on Saipan seem to be.  One of the most striking things seen on the beach is not the beautiful sand or trees but instead a World War II era American tank still visible after all these years:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

A total of three US Sherman tanks that were disabled during the 1944 Battle of Saipan can be seen lodged in the reef and rusting away just off the Chalan Kanoa shoreline.  I was pretty amazed by how well preserved the tanks were after all these years.  A short distance north I noticed a memorial just off of the beach.  I walked up to the memorial I saw that it was dedicated to the men and women who have fought in the American armed forces:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

From the memorial I continued to walk up the sidewalk that led further north:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Along the way I had some really good views of Saipan’s highest peak, Mt. Tapochau looming up above me:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

You can read more about my prior hike up Mt. Tapochau at the below link:

As I continued down the sidewalk I then ran into a signboard that explained how the beach here at Chalan Kanoa was the major landing site during the Battle of Saipan in June 1944:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Looking at the beach today it is hard to believe that so much death and destruction happened here all those years ago:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

I then came to another signboard that explained how this coastal plain between Chalan Kanoa and Garapan was the site of the biggest tank battle in the Pacific theater during World War II:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

This section of the beach was called “Red Beach” by the Marines that had landed here.  In effort to drive the Marines back into the sea the Imperial Japanese launched a nighttime counterattack with 1,000 infantrymen and 44 tanks.  By the next morning 31 of those tanks could be seen burning with hundreds of Japanese soldiers dead around them.  In recognition of this tank battle one of those destroyed Japanese Type 95 tanks is on display near the beach:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

After taking pictures of the tank I then turned around and headed back towards the Kanoa Resort.  Once I was back at the resort I decided that I was going to go ahead and walk passed the resort and check out the beach to the south.  As I walked passed the resort I happened to notice this Japanese memorial on the Kanoa Resort property:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

I have no idea what this memorial is for, but I assume it is probably here in memory of the Japanese servicemembers who died defending the island during World War II.  Further evidence of World War II could be seen just a few meters from the resort when I spotted this large bunker:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

I can only imagine what a hell it must have been to be the Japanese soldiers manning this bunker and being bombarded constantly by naval gunfire while simultaneously having a large landing force approaching you.  From the bunker I was also able to spot another American tank still standing after all these years in the reef:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

As I walked further to the south the old Kanoa Pier came into view:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Near the entrance to this pier I saw this shrine to Jesus which shows the strong Catholic beliefs that are still held on this island from its past Spanish colonial period:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

This pier is where the bags of sugar refined at the sugar mill that was once in Chalan Kanoa would have gone for export:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Saipan had a robust sugar economy established by the “Sugar King” Haruji Matsue who founded the industry during the Japanese colonial period in Saipan’s history following World War I.  The sugar industry industrialized the island which caused it to thus become the site of the first urban combat in the Pacific theater during World War II.  After the war the mills and most of the machinery from the sugar industry was destroyed.  Despite some how surviving the war the Chalan Kanoa pier has no use today other than as a diving board and fishing spot for local fishermen:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

The pier however did not withstand the war completely intact.  Towards the end of the pier there is possible war time damage:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Here is the view from the pier looking northeast towards Mt. Tapochau in the distance:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Here is the view of another American Sherman tank rusting away off shore from the pier:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Here is the view from the pier looking southeast towards more of the Chalan Kanoa coastline:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

In the distance to the south from the pier I could see the island of Tinian looming which is where the B-29s with the atomic bombs dropped on Japan that ended the war took off from:

Picture from Chalan Kanoa, Saipan

Conclusion

After taking in the views from the pier I then proceeded to walk back to the Kanoa Resort.  In total I walked five miles along the beautiful Chalan Kanoa coastline and was able to experience a little bit more of Saipan’s World War II history while also taking in the island’s beautiful scenery.

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