Hiroshima, before and after the atomic bomb
In today’s Hiroshima little remains of the city that was before the atomic bomb as the city has been completely rebuilt. The city of Hiroshima is located in western Japan, in the Chugoku region. It is a port city located on the Ota River Delta which gives the city a peculiar charm as it is surrounded by stretches where the river passes.
Hiroshima is unfortunately known to be the scene of the first-ever atomic bombing, which took place on August 6, 1945 by the U.S. Army during World War II.
Today’s Hiroshima, it is a modern and cosmopolitan city. Even so, above all this modernization highlights the ruined building converted into a monument in Commemoration of the Peace of Hiroshima. This building, also called Genbaku Dome, was the epicenter of the atomic bomb explosion. The bomb never touched the ground, exploded while in the air, 600m from Genbaku Dome and was one of the few structures that resisted the impact.
The Hiroshima bomb was nicknamed “Little Boy.” In its explosion it destroyed 69% of the city’s buildings, killed 140,000 people immediately and many more because of radiation.
Today’s Hiroshima – Visit to the Peace Memorial Park
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a collection of monuments dedicated to the victims of the nuclear attack, to the city of Hiroshima as a symbol of peace and to the active struggle for the elimination of all nuclear weapons so that this horror never happens again.
The Dome of Genbaku is the most outstanding monument although there are also others:
- Statue of the Children of the Atomic Bomb: memorial of the children who died from the atomic bomb.
- Atomic Bomb Memorial Mount: the ashes of 70,000 unidentified victims are found.
- Commemorative cenotaph for all victims: the inscription reads “Rest in peace, for error will never be repeated“.
- Cenotaph of Korean Victims: tribute to the 20,000 Koreans killed in the attack.
- Flame of Peace: Flame that will not be extinguished until the nuclear threat leaves the planet.
- Peace Bell: Visitors can ring the bell in honor of world peace.
- Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall: 360º Hall with a walking reconstruction of how the city of Hiroshima looked just after the explosion.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: reports chronologically on events that occurred before and after the attack. There is also a miniature replica where you can see the size of the atomic bomb that destroyed the city of Hiroshima (Little Boy) and another replica of the atomic bomb that destroyed the city of Nagasaki (Fat Boy).
- Doors of Peace: we found 5 doors five meters high with the word “peace” written in several languages.
- Stories of the victims: The last part of the visit includes a section with the stories of some survivors, showing photographs and objects that were recovered after the nuclear attack. It is one of the most emotional places in the park.
Where to stay in Hiroshima?
If you are looking for a hotel in Hiroshima that is well priced and located in the city centre you have plenty of options to choose from. In my case, I stayed at the Guesthouse Poptone as it is close to Hiroshima Station and Peace Memorial Park. We can find it in booking with good references, with a score of 9 out of 10 and a price of 17-20 euros per night in a shared bedroom.
If you are looking for an even cheaper option you can also stay at the Tsuruya Guesthouse. This hostel, as of today, comes out in Booking as the cheapest accommodation in the centre of Hiroshima. It has a score of 8 out of 10 and a price of 15 euros per night in a shared dormitory.
Is today’s Hiroshima worth visiting?
At first Hiroshima was not part of my travel plans, but as I was near Onomichi I approached to see it. Without a doubt it left me more than satisfied. Whether you are one of those people who are interested in history or not, the Peace Memorial Park is worth a visit. It will help you to understand the suffering this place has gone through and to understand Japanese culture a little more.
I was surprised not to find a hint of revenge or anger during my visit to the Peace Memorial Park. In fact, you find the opposite. In today’s Hiroshima there is an enormous feeling of sorrow for what has happened and a message begging the four winds that such horror will never happen again.
Hiroshima, symbol of peace and the fight against nuclear weapons
It is admirable how today’s Hiroshima has risen from its ashes and has become a modern city, which has healed wounds, which looks to the future, but has not forgotten the past. That is why it has managed to become a symbol of peace and hope where its daily struggle against nuclear weapons is one of its main reasons to go.
In conclusion, going to Hiroshima and not visiting Peace Memorial Park is like going to Japan and not visiting Tokyo, it doesn’t make any sense. This city and its inhabitants, victims of one of the worst attacks in human history, deserve my admiration and respect. They are the clearest example of an enormous truth that Hawking so simply defined:
As long as there is life, there is hope.
Once you have finished your visit to Hiroshima, the most recommendable thing, because of its proximity and because it is worth it, is to go to Miyajima Island. There you can see the great Torii of Japan, one of the most famous venues in the country.