Pearl Harbor
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Pearl Harbor: Tours & Tickets

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Remembering Pearl Harbor in 5 facts

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was the 9/11 of its day, remembered as a defining moment of the Second World War. But Pearl Harbor is about much more than its most tragic moment. Here's a brief history to prepare you for your tour!

It was once a sacred site

It was once a sacred site

The large bay was originally called Wai Momi, or "Waters of Pearl." According to Hawaiian legend, it's home to the shark goddess, Kaʻahupahau.

It's been expanded twice

It's been expanded twice

First by the Ewa chief, Keaunui, who reshaped the estuary to make it accessible. Then, in 1869, the US deepened the waters leading into the harbor while Hawaii was still a kingdom.

Hawaii wasn't part of the US when it was attacked

Hawaii wasn't part of the US when it was attacked

The kingdom made way for the Republic of Hawaii in 1893, which let the US establish a naval base at the harbor six years later. It didn't become the 50th state until 1959!

A surprising excuse for incompetence?

A surprising excuse for incompetence?

US intelligence is rumored to have expected the "surprise" attack, but either way, the naval base was woefully unequipped to defend against any kind of air-raid.

It's still an operational naval base

It's still an operational naval base

The Pearl Harbor attacks killed 2,403 Americans and Hawaiians, and sunk much of the US' naval might. Defiantly, it's still home to the bigger-than-ever US Pacific Fleet!

Our insider tips

What are the opening times?

The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open daily from 7:00AM to 5:00PM, except for Thanksgiving Day, December 25th, and January 1st. Expect it to be busy at any time! If travelling on a budget then arrive early to snap up one of the free walk-in tickets, otherwise it's recommended that you book in advance!

How to get there?

Pearl Harbor can be accessed by City Bus and taxi, but the former is slow (up to 2 hours) and the latter expensive. Many cheap, quick transportation services don't have clearance to the tourist site itself, so the best way to reach Pearl Harbor is undoubtedly with a certified tour company.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    7:00AM - 5:00PM
  • Is it expensive?
    Walk-in tickets are free, but best to guarantee access by purchasing an all-inclusive tour package.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It will definitely help.
  • How to get there
    Best to go in a private van with a tour company.
  • Additional information
    Get out your fanny pack! Backpacks and other large bags must be checked at the storage area.

What people are saying about Pearl Harbor

Overall rating
4.6 / 5
based on 1,005 reviews

Nice overview of Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial

Our driver from Royal Hawaiian Limos arrived right on time. We were his first pickup. After visiting a few hotels and the airport to pickup additional guests, we headed out to Pearl Harbor. The van was nice and the air conditioning was appreciated. After arriving at the National Monument, Jake briefed us on meeting times and places. We then all entered the Park together. Some of the guests (us included) had our tour headsets included and Jake gave out the vouchers for these. We then had a little over an hour to visit two museums on our own before meeting at the theater to view a movie about the attack. We then boarded the Navy ship which took us around the harbor and the memorial. The Arizona memorial was still under repair so we could not go onto the memorial. There was a sign saying it should be open again in May, 2019. We had 50 minutes afterward to explore. The included city tour on the way back to town was very good. Overall, a great tour!

Very satisfied - pickup on time - very friendly driver

Was very pleased - only problem we had was the van that we had had a very high step to get into it and we had three people that had a very hard time getting in. If he would have had a small step stool it would have been perfect. Took us on a city tour and slowed or stopped when we wanted to take pictures and was very informative. Would definitely book again with your company.

It covered all my questions with the movie and the tour.

Wish I could have walked through the Arizona but the dock will not be fixed until December they say. Clerks at the souvenir shop stilling asking for donations for the dock, as well as, charging for a bag for your overpriced purchases. Nickel and dime you!

Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial Tour with Pick-Up Reviewed by

Very informative tour, it was long but very informative!

For a long tour like this one it is necessary to have a knowledgeable experienced guide. We had one, Captain Shorts. The food was very good! We recommend this very special tour to anyone!

Ultimate Pearl Harbor and Circle Island Tour Reviewed by

Pearl Harbour and city tour great experience

Really enjoyed this tour. The Pearl Harbour complex is really well done. So glad to also have time to see the USS Bowfin. Tour of Punchbowl was also good.

Things to do near Pearl Harbor