On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the first of two blasts which ended WWll. From 1950 to 1964, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was constructed over what was once a well-developed part of the city that was levelled by the bomb. The area recovered at an astonishing pace and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is an area featuring monuments, memorials and a museum dedicated to the victims of WWll’s nuclear attack. Over one million people visit each year to pay their respects to those who were lost in this tragedy. It’s a humbling experience and gives a better insight into the long lasting effects of nuclear weapons. Be prepared to spend a couple hours exploring the park and museum, the highlights are labelled in a map to the right.
How to Get There:
Getting to Peace Memorial Park is extremely easy. The Hiroshima sightseeing bus has two stops around the park, the A-Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum. This service is free to those who have a JR Pass and you are able to hop on the bus at any of its 11 stops. There are a few other ways to access Peace Memorial Park. The easiest is walking, as any of Hiroshima’s popular hotels are within a 10-15 minute walk. There is also a tram stop beside the A-Bomb Dome which also runs beside Hiroshima Castle.
What to See:
Known as the A-Bomb Dome or Genbaku, this building was able to survive the nuclear bomb, despite its close proximity to the hypocenter. What was once a subject of controversy, with many people wishing for this building to be torn down, has since become the most recognizable landmark in Peace Memorial Park. The dome has gone under reconstruction a few times and I happened to visit during one of them. Here are a couple pictures from different angles:
Continuing across Motoyasu Bridge, you’ll come within view of the Children’s Peace Monument. This area is dedicated to Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who died of leukaemia from the bomb’s radiation. Japanese tradition states that those who fold one thousand paper crane are able to make one wish. Sadako took on this challenge and her wish was for world peace. She never reached one thousand cranes but was able to inspire people around the globe. Each year, thousands of these origami birds are sent to the Children’s Peace Monument from across the world.
Last but not least, you should visit the Peace Memorial Museum. While this building is a little crowded, it pays to be patient and view all the exhibits. The information is provided in both Japanese and English, educating guests on the artifacts and science behind radiation. Before exiting, you are able to sign a petition calling for increased efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.
Thanks for reading my article on Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and be sure to share on Facebook and Pinterest. You can also check out my Hiroshima City Guide and Japan Travel Guide.