Chiran (知覧) is in Kagoshima prefecture, part of Kyushu in Japan.
Tome Torihama and the Tomiya Shokudou
During the final period of the war when Japan was sending hundred of young pilots to their deaths on kamikaze missions, Tome Torihama ran a military eatery where many of the boys took their last meals. She became famous for the love that she showed to the pilots, and many stories have been written about her. Perhaps the most well-known story is the following incident, which Tome and her daughter always swore to be true until their respective deaths in 1992 and 2005.
After dinner at the restaurant on the eve of his suicide mission, Sgt. Saburo Miyagawa, Tome and her high-school age daughter Reiko were walking when they came upon some fireflies, at which point Miyagawa suddenly told the women that he wanted to come back and visit them the next day, promising to return to the restaurant in the form of a firefly at 7pm. "Promise me you'll sing for me when I come," he said, and they promised.
At 7pm the next day, Tome and her daughter were sitting in the dark restaurant listening to war reports on the radio, when Tome got up to go outside and found a firefly hovering just outside the door, as if waiting to get in. The insect flew in and flew straight to the apex of the building, flashing rhythmically. "It's Saburo-kun. He's come back!", she said. In the dark there, she and Reiko sang an old war song for the young sergeant, and then the firefly flew out and disappeared into the night.
This story, relayed in book form by Reiko's daughter, and in movie form as part of the semi-fictional 2001 film Hotaru, is responsible for a boom in Japanese tourism to Chiran.
Kagoshima Kotsu operates a bus from the Yamakataya department store in Kagoshima via the Kagoshima-Chuo (JR) and Hirakawa (JR) station to Chiran. Bus timetables can be found here. There is also a bus to going from Chiran to Ibusuki via Kiire station (JR), with the time-tables posted here. You can save some money by taking the JR train part of the way to the stations mentioned above and then taking the bus, though the bus could be filled up during Japanese tourism season (especially cherry blossom season).
Chiran is about one hour from Kagoshima by car.
Walking from the Samurai gardens street to Chiran Peace Museum is about 30 minutes uphill through an uneventful residential area. Both buses (Chiran - Kagoshima, and Chiran - Ibusuki) run in between these two destinations.
Ibusuki - A town famous for its sand onsen.