The Cenotaph in Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima: The Hope of A Nuclear-Free World

To most people, Hiroshima recalls an ill-fated city where hundreds of thousands of people died as the result of the world’s first atomic bomb. But if you look at the city today, you won’t believe that this place was once ground zero. Within seven decades, Hiroshima has re-born into a modern, peaceful city where people around the world came to wish for a future without nuclear weapons.

Prior to that fateful day, Hiroshima (広島市) was a thriving city with a population of over 350,000. It was the political and commercial heart of the Chugoku region, as well as a center for shipping and military supplies production. Then, on the 6th of August 1945, at 8:15 AM, the atomic bomb “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, releasing hell to the harbor city.

Atomic Bomb Dome – the only structure left standing near the bomb’s hypocentre

Consequences of that Fateful Day

Within a radius of two kilometers, nearly everything was obliterated. The only building that remains standing is the Atomic Bomb Dome  (原爆ドーム) which served as a venue to promote the city’s industries. When the bomb detonated, over 70,000 people were instantly killed by the initial blast.

Another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries. By the end of the year, the number of casualties rose sharply to around 166,000 as many people from other regions traveled to Hiroshima to seek their relatives. They died as a result of being exposed to radiation.

8:15 AM – The final moment of this watch’s owner, as well as the city of Hiroshima
A “witness” of that fateful day – Found in the Peace Memorial Museum

The Resurrection of Hiroshima

After the war, Hiroshima underwent a massive reconstruction with support from the national government and the private sector. Destroyed historical monuments, such as the Hiroshima Castle and the Shukkein Garden were also returned to their former glory. Furthermore, predictions that the city would be uninhabitable proved to be incorrect. Thus, many Hiroshima citizens started returning to their hometowns.

The park reflects the hope of peace.

An expansive, leafy park was built at the heart of the city to replace the former political and economic center. Named Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, it reflects the hope of any citizen on this planet. The whole area includes several structures, such as the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Children’s Peace Monument, and the Peace Memorial Museum whose focus is on the tragic event of 6 August.

The park’s central feature is, however, the long tree-lined Pond of Peace leading to the Cenotaph, an arched tomb for 222,000 registered victims of the bomb. Also at the pond is the Flame of Peace, which is set to burn until the last nuclear weapon in this world is destroyed…

The resurrection of Hiroshima
The Cenotaph in Peace Memorial Park
A message of peace

Tips for visiting Hiroshima

  • Located on the Sanyo Shinkansen, Hiroshima is less than two hours from Osaka and Kyoto. If traveling from Tokyo, the trip takes approximately four hours.
  • Because of its large scale, the Peace Memorial Park is nearly unmissable. The nearest tram station is Genbaku Dome-mae (Atomic Bomb Dome). Take Tram 2 or 6, if starting from Hiroshima Station (180¥, one way). Pay directly at the conductor or driver, when getting off.


20 thoughts on “Hiroshima: The Hope of A Nuclear-Free World”

  1. Thanks for letting us know a little bit more about Hiroshima. I feel so sorry for the victims even though so many decades have passed.. War is never good for ordinary citizens. But sadly due to political reasons, it’s the common people who suffer the most.

    1. Sadly true 🙁 Many of the victims are children who had nothing to do with the Japanese Army. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time… I have read that the bomb not only killed people, it also traumatised a whole generation of Japanese.

  2. Thanks for sharing this awful history of Hiroshima being hit so hard in order to remind us how principal important the safeguarding of peace is for our entirely blue planet.

    1. War is never a solution. I think the one who actually win in a war is the politicians and weapon dealers/producers. The losing one is the common people, regardless which side they are on.

  3. Cám ơn loạt bài cháu viết về Nhật Bản. Có vẻ như cháu đi tự túc chứ không theo tour. Cô định sang năm sẽ đi chơi khoảng 2 tuần. Cháu có trở ngại khi giao tiếp với người Nhật bằng tiếng Anh không? Đó là một trong vài ba điều cô ngần ngại. Cô đang tự học tiếng Nhật chỉ mong sang năm là đủ sức đọc bảng hiệu xe bus, order thức ăn, biết những tuyến đường xe điện và xe lửa.

    1. Trước khi đi Nhật cháu cũng lo là mình sẽ gặp trở ngại về tiếng. Nhưng mà hệ thống chỉ dẫn ở Nhật tốt lắm cô ạ, thậm chí còn khoa học hơn ở châu Âu nhiều. Mỗi bảng chỉ dẫn đều ghi tiếng Kanji và tiếng Anh đầy đủ, còn có đánh số thứ tự để mình dễ tìm hướng đi. Mỗi tuyến tàu đều được kí hiệu một màu khác nhau. Mà cho dù có hụt tàu, ví dụ như Shinkansen, thì cứ 15-20 phút lại có một chuyến khác. Còn đi ăn thì phần lớn các quán đều có menu tiếng Anh. Mấy quán cao cấp thì waiter giao tiếp được bằng tiếng Anh. Nói chung là người Nhật họ chăm sóc tourist cũng cẩn thận lắm (ngoại trừ mấy chỗ bán hàng mà có nhiều người TQ ra).

  4. Jolene – Sydney, Australia – Jolene is a banker by trade, a writer at heart, and is a contributor to Thought Catalog. You are welcome to peek into her adventures and reflections on films and life at "SoMuchToTellYou", her ultimate love affair with words.
    Jolene says:

    In all the moments of hatred, you’ve reminded us of the beauty of peace and resilience. I’m sure the experience must have been extremely humbling. 🙂

    1. Sorrow, especially when reading the notes of the victims. I also felt a bit desperate, because there is zero chance that countries will give up on nuclear weapons. The Flame of Peace would never stop burning 🙁

  5. Bama – Jakarta, Indonesia – Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.
    Bama says:

    On my trip to Japan back in autumn 2016, a friend of mine who lives in Hiroshima actually said to me that her city is not too far from Okayama, one of the cities I went to on that trip. However, my friend and I realized even though it was absolutely doable, we decided to pay Hiroshima a visit next time we’re in Japan for we wanted to explore the city on a leisurely pace. Speaking of the atomic bomb, it’s very disheartening that despite the utter destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, today some countries still posses nuclear weapons just because they want other countries to fear them. The world will never be a better place if fear dictates international relations.

    1. Indeed. It’s a destructive cycle, if countries keep threatening each other with nuclear weapons. Peace talks might not always work, but it’s far better than a nuclear war where everyone is lost.

  6. vinneve – I believe in this quote "Life is a JOURNEY, travel it well." Wherever we may end up so long as there is LOVE we will be happy!
    vinneve says:

    Interesting! It’s good to visit places like that. The Memorial Park is beautiful.

  7. fkasara – I'm Sara, a Northern Italian with experience in Italy's travel industry and hospitality sector. Other than the classic travel tips, in my blog I mainly share cultural and lifestyle aspects of the Belpaese, that often elude tourists, yet make our country unique. Be inspired, avoid cliches and let Italy spice up your life!
    fkasara says:

    I read somewhere that the explosion was so powerful that the radioactivity sort of dispersed and hence, that’s why people can actually live there without problems (unlike Chernobyl)!? I don’t how much truth there is in such a statement.

    Thanks for sharing. I wish people would pay more attention to this kind of locations and memorials to see what we are all still risking nowadays.

    1. Sounds reasonable! Combining with the wind from the nearby sea, the radioactivity was perhaps blown away, and thus it didn’t have any long-term effect on the city.

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