Camp Zama is home to the U.S. Army Japan (USARJ), I Corps (Forward), U.S. Army Aviation Battalion Japan, the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion, the Japan Engineer District (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), the 78th Signal Battalion, and the Bilateral Coordination Department and 4th Engineer Group of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
Camp Zama is close to the Sagami River near the foothills of the Tanzawa Mountain Range, Kanagawa Prefecture. The installation falls in the Zama City limits while the two housing areas, Camp Zama and Sagamihara Family Housing Area (SFHA), are located in the adjacent Sagamihara City. Once considered rural, this area has transformed into an urban area. New housing developments and communities along with shopping centers have increased the population and made traffic extremely congested. Traveling from Tokyo and outlying U.S. military installations to Camp Zama averages from 1.5 to 3 hours depending on the time of day. However traveling from other parts of Kanagawa was made easier with the opening of the nearby Sagamihara/Aikawa Interchange which connects with the Ken-Ō Expressway in May 2012. The recommended method to travel to Camp Zama during times of peak road traffic is via the extremely reliable local public transportation train system. The closest train station to Camp Zama is the Odakyū Line’s Sōbudai-mae Station.
Camp Zama is located on the former site of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, which was named “Sōbudai” by Emperor Showa. Camp Zama is the earliest barrack in Japan. The camp faced so many changes which was as a result of the defeat suffered by the Japanese in World War II. Route 51 is the road to Camp Zama that was specifically built in order for the Emperor to travel to review the graduating classes from Machida Station. The Emperor Showa visited Camp Zama in 1937. Camp Zama also houses an emergency shelter for the Emperor, and to this day, it has been maintained by the U.S. Army Garrison Japan. The Camp Zama theater workshop is one of the few remaining buildings from the pre-occupation era. It is a large hall that was used for ceremonies by the Imperial Japanese Army. Additionally, the former recreation center still stands currently used by the Camp Zama Tours and Travel Office and Boys Scouts, along with others.
Tagged: History - Camp Zama
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