Kaohsiung International Airport was originally an Imperial Japanese Army Air Squadron base. Therefore it was an important base for the Japanese army and an important target for the Americans. Taiwan was bombed heavily during the later stages of the war and may have been next in the island hopping strategy to defeat Japan.
Since the air force base was an important target, the Japanese army built many of these hardened aircraft shelters or Jī bǎo 機堡 in Chinese to protect their planes. There are still many scattered around the numerous old Japanese built airports in Taiwan. There are 5 around Kaohsiung’s International Airport in Xiaogang District 小港區.
I have visited them a couple of times over the past few years so some of the pictures are old and some from 2020. So there will be some differences in the pictures.
The first 機堡 Jī bǎo is around (桂忠街82號附近). When I first found this one the area around it was used as a parking lot. Also, it was possible to enter the structure. You could see that it was used for housing after the war and probably up until the early 2010s.
I went again this year and there was a fence around it. So I am guessing that the city has taken an interest in saving it. No cars are allowed to park there and the plants are gone.
The second 機堡 Jī bǎo is around 桂忠街、桂田街口. It was used until at least 2007 as a small factory or workshop or something. As it was a Taiwanese business there was a shrine in the center section. You can see (on this awesome blog what it looked like while in action)
When I first visited it you couldn’t access it.
Now there is an opening. Glad I could get in. It’s pretty cool inside.
機堡 Jī bǎo number 3 is at 小港區青山街、廠邊三路30巷口旁. There are still people living in it. There was a grandma sitting out front so I didn’t go and bother her since my Taiwanese is quite terrible.
機堡 Jī bǎo number 4 is at 小港區廠邊二路101號旁. It is still used and I never bothered to walk around and ask for a picture of the front. I am too shy sometimes.
The final 機堡 Jī bǎo is my favorite one. The front of the plane shelter is painted with a cool camouflage design. It is still lived in but it is so cool looking that I went and asked the guy living there if I could take a couple pictures. He was more than happy to let me walk around and shoot a bit.
This one is at 明聖街120巷.
There are still many all around Taiwan. If you want to find more you can look here. In that blog, you can scroll down and see what these ones looked like in the past, too. I also want to mention the cool Lingyaliao blog that helped me find them many years ago. Also, in that blog, you can see how the top two airplane bunkers looked before I saw them.
So if you want to go and see these, just use the addresses that I posted. Or you can google 小港機堡 and find them with this super handy map. (This map says that there are six, however, one has already been demolished)
So if you are down in Kaohsiung city’s deep south go see them and say Hi!
5 thoughts on “KAOHSIUNG’S MILITARY LEFTOVERS: PART 2: 小港機堡”
You’ve done it again… gone where I was too shy, or preoccupied, or incurious to look during my 25 years in the city. Thank you. I’d’ve loved to have done the kind of stuff you do. Keep up the good work.
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Happy to share. Thanks again!
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Nice! There are similar plane bunkers on Jeju Island, too. While most of the airstrip is gone, the control tower has survived too.