Hiroshima: Walking Tour Guide at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Covering an area of more than 120,000 square meters, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (—) was developed in memory of the victims of the tragic nuclear attack that took place on August 6, 1945, where more than 140,000 died in the resulting explosion and the radiation-related illnesses that followed. It was conceived in dedication to the city of Hiroshima, recognized as the first-ever city to suffer in a nuclear explosion and its enduring legacy in the goal of world peace.
Prior to the bombing, the site where the memorial park now stands used to be the city’s business and commerce. Hiroshima is often designated as a military city, due to the number of military facilities and war industries based here. This is one factor of why it was chosen as a primary target for a bomb attack. Four years after the bombing, the site was never rebuilt; instead, it was dedicated to becoming a memorial park, along with some surviving structures.
Today, the park serves as the city’s primary tourist destination. Due to its large size, you might miss some of its landmarks.
Here are among the park’s prominent landmarks, statues, monuments and other features, that may guide you in your stroll so that your experience be wholesome and complete, reminding you of one of the most pivotal events in human history.
This prominent landmark, commonly called the Genbaku Dome, Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome (原爆ドーム Genbaku Dōmu). It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. This is a ruin of the building in the aftermath of the Atomic bombings of August 6, 1945. This building, formerly known as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, was the only building left standing from near the hypocenter, about 240 meters away. It is being preserved, symbolizing the horrible tragedy that took place that morning. Whenever you see it, either at a distance or up close, you feel a distinct atmosphere, and it is impossible that you will be emotionally moved by its spectacle.
You will never fail to miss this bridge, being almost adjacent to the A-Bomb Dome. This unusual T-shaped bridge was built in 1932. It was chosen as the aiming point of the atomic bombing, due to it being easily recognizable from the air. Though the bomb missed its target (it instead detonated right above Shima hospital), it still suffered heavy damage. After the war, it was rebuilt, and later on, was replaced by a replica which is currently in use.
The longest part of the bridge crosses the Ota River, just to the north of the island connecting the district of Nakajima-cho. The downstroke of the “T” links the main bridge to the island, also serving as the main entrance to the Memorial Park. The releasing of the lanterns to mourn the victims happens every year on 6th August on the Motoyasu River.
CHILDREN’S PEACE MONUMENT
One of the first monuments of the park that was constructed, it is dedicated to the innocent kids who perished in the atomic bombing and its after-effects. At the top of the monument is a girl standing and carrying a large wire crane.
The statue is inspired by a story of Sadako Sasaki (佐々木禎子), a young girl who died in the after-effects of the explosion. She was just two when the bomb exploded, and at the age of ten, she suffered from leukemia as a result of her exposure to radiation. She believed that if she could fold a thousand paper cranes she would be healed. Paper cranes became one of the symbols in pursuit of world peace and nuclear disarmament, hence up to the present folded paper cranes are being placed at the monument.
This bell is installed with the intent of abolishing nuclear weapons and bringing world peace. Cast by bell-caster and national treasure Masahiko Katori, a world map without borders is embossed on its surface, symbolizing a single, unified world. Visitors are free to strike a bell, so feel free to do so in a prayer for world peace.
FLAME OF PEACE
Lit on August 1, 1964, this flame will continue to burn until the world gets rid of its last nuclear weapons. The pedestal was designed in the image of two hands pressed together with the hands facing the sky.
CENOTAPH FOT ATOMIC BOMB VICTIMS
Officially named the ‘Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace’, it is more commonly known as the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims. Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Kenzo Tanage, the cenotaph is inscribed with names of all those who perished in the tragedy and aftermath, with new names added every year as they are discovered.
HIROSHIMA NATIONAL PEACE MEMORIAL HALL
A building to mourn the victims of the atomic bomb and pray for lasting peace. The structure in the center indicates the exact time of bomb detonation – 8:15 a.m. Memoirs from survivors and portraits of the victims are displayed inside the memorial hall.
Before the bombing, this building was a shop selling kimono fabrics. The ground floor of this building is now a tourist information area, rest area, and a gift shop. The basement has been kept as it was after the bomb. Register on the ground floor for tours of the basement. Feel free to use the rest area free of charge.
HIROSHIMA PEACE MEMORIAL HALL MUSEUM (Overview)
The museum was opened in 1955 with the aim of conveying to the world the realities of the atomic bomb and advocate world peace and the abolishment of nuclear weapons. Divided into the East Building and the Main Building, the museum displays possessions from the victims of the bomb, photographs, and other documentation. It also explains the circumstances in Hiroshima and elsewhere that led to the bombing along with a detailed explanation of the bombing itself.
The Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound is a large, grass-covered knoll that contains the cremated ashes of 70,000 unidentified victims of the bomb.
CENOTAPH FOR KOREAN VICTIMS
One of those which we are amazed at as little we know that there are a significant number of Korean victims of the explosion. It is said that in more than 400,000 who either perished or exposed to radiation, not less than 45,000 of them are Koreans. Japan had occupied Korea since 1910, and many Koreans migrated to the Japanese home islands. Many of them were forced to either be conscripted into the Japanese military or work in the wartime industry. This monument is adorned with Korean symbols and is dedicated to the victims and survivors of the bombing that was used to be forgotten by history.
STATUE OF MOTHER AND CHILD IN THE STORM
Sculpted by Hongo Shin, which highly expresses human love. This statue was funded by the Hiroshima City Ladies Union in August 1960. The bronze statue is in the image of a mother trying to overcome difficulties while clinging to her child and covering a baby with her left hand. It is located at the front of the museum.
This is supposed to be the exact spot over which the bomb exploded and is all part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. A plaque marks the spot but since the bomb detonated several meters overhead it is not a very accurate marker.
The plaque can be found less than five minutes’ walk from the A-Dome.
From Hiroshima Station, take tram line 2 or 6 to Genbaku-Domu Mae (原爆ドーム前) station. The ride takes 15 minutes and costs 180 yen.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
- Hiroshima Castle