When you arrived in Hiroshima, you notice that the city is very modern and new that is because it was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during World World II and now the buildings & streets are all newly rebuilt.
One of the top attractions to visit in Hiroshima is the ruins of Genbaku Dome also known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. The ruin is the symbol of Hiroshima city, a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. Highly recommend anyone who is visiting Hiroshima to pay a visit to this peaceful park. You cannot miss out of this place while in Hiroshima, else you missed out the most important portion of Hiroshima.
Let’s dig some history of this city – On 6th August, the first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima during the final stage of World Wall II. The American dropped two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities; Hiroshima & 3 days later at Nagasaki in 1945. Over 90% of the city was wiped out and killed 80,000 people and later tens of thousands more die of radiation exposure.
Hiroshima Peace Bell
People are free to strike the bell, do take the opportunity to do so with a prayer if possible. The peace bell was done by artist Masahiko Katori. According to the artist, you need to stand directly under the bell to appreciate his work.
The Peace Park
The park is located in the busy commercial district, it contains a museum and monuments dedicated to those killed by the explosion. You will also find the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome, only the skeletal ruin left now, it was a former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. The skeletal remains of the building were preserved as a memorial of the bombing and a symbol of peace. Some locals actually wanted it to be torn down.
Metal Dome Framework
What is left after the bombing is the metal dome framework at its apex. What amazed me the most is the building did not get destroyed after the bombing. This brilliant building was originally designed by the Czech architect Jan Letzel. The design included a distinctive dome at the highest part of the building, use for Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.
Hiroshima Peace Clock Tower
Made from three twisted iron pillars, the tower symbolizes the hands of the Hiroshima citizens, united in prayer for endless peace, and these hands are holding the 2 meters-diameter clock, which symbolizes the people of the world. The clock is still running the correct time. The Peace Clock is a 20 meters tall tower designed by Shoji Ohata and built in 1967 by the Hiroshima Rijo Lions Club.
Zero Milestone of Hiroshima Prefecture
At one edge of the park is the Zero Milestone of Hiroshima Prefecture which its plaque describes as what once was “the intersection of main overland traffic routes” and “the main stop in water transport on the Ota River and formed the center of the Hiroshima Castle town”.
This monument was built to commemorate the students who had been mobilized to make up the labor shortage in Hiroshima. Many of these were killed by the bomb. This tower was built by the bereaved parents.
The wall show pictures of students being mobilized to work and make up the labor shortage after the bombing.
Paper Cranes Origami
These colorful paper cranes origami have become a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times.
Children’s Peace Monument
This statue here was built by the schools in Japan dedicated to sick children who suffered from nuclear radiation. School children will bring folded origami cranes and place them here. It was believed by folding origami one is expect to survive from the illness and get recover.
“heiwa” meaning peace
Artwork by kindergarten Children showing “heiwa” meaning peace.
Hiroshima Peace Park has a lot of monuments and each represents something; victim of the war and tribute to peace. Take time to walk around and spend time at the different memorial sites in the park. It is the most important place to visit in Hiroshima to learn about history. You need an hour to two to spend in this park. The Peace Memorial Museum is also located nearby and worth a visit. But if you are bringing younger children, you may want to give the museum a miss as there are many war photos and video which could be hard to handle for younger children.