Hiroshima is a city in the South of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. Approximately 1.2 million people live in Hiroshima and the city is an important player in the production of high-end products.
What to see and do in Hiroshima
Hiroshima’s historic and tragic past
Yet, most people will know Hiroshima from WWII, when the first atomic bomb in history was dropped and detonated 600 meters above the city. A devastating event, instantly taking the lives of 80.000 people and 120.000 more in the aftermath… The bomb vaporized everything in a circle of 1.6 km from the hypocenter center.
Despite it’s tragic history, Hiroshima is not a sad city, far from it. The people of Hiroshima remember and commemorate their past. However, the main focus is on promoting worldwide peace, instead of placing the blame of things that happened in the past.
Nevertheless, it’s strange to walk in a city which was completely destroyed only 70 years ago. But, as you stroll along the leafy green and wide boulevards, you’ll find that Hiroshima has a lot to offer. You can both learn about its past and enjoy the modern and pleasant city Hiroshima is today.
The history of Hiroshima
Walking around the Memorial Park is a moving experience, still, visiting places like these is important. To learn from the past and to remember the innocent victims of war.
The Atomic Bomb dome Hiroshima Japan
All the memorial buildings in Hiroshima are impressive and tell their own story, but the building which impressed me the most was the Atomic Bomb Dome. This used to be the Industrial Promotion Hall, on the information sign in front of the crumbling structure you can see what the building looked like before the bomb was dropped.
The A-bomb dome was one of the few buildings in Hiroshima left standing after the explosion. The reason why this building is still standing and why it’s called the A-bomb dome? The atomic bomb was dropped exactly above this building and exploded directly above it. Therefore, the vertical columns of the Industrial Promotion Hall could withstand the vertical downward force of the blast.
Even though the building is still standing, the melted iron dome is a vivid reminder of the destructive power if an atomic bomb. I hope this symbol will remind everyone who visits that war is awful and there are no winners…
Children’s Peace Monument Hiroshima Japan
The Children’s Peace Monument is dedicated to all the children who died in or after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The story behind the statue is a heartbreaking one…
Picture of the Children’s peace memorial monument
In Hiroshima lived a little girl named Sadako Sasaki, shortly after the atomic bomb she (like many other children and adults) developed leukemia. Sadako decided to fold one thousand paper cranes, because in Japan the crane bird symbolizes longevity. Sadly, the little girl passed away before she reached her goal.
However, this is not the end of the story because Sadako’s classmates decided to finish the thousand cranes for her. Until this day, children send paper cranes from all around the world to Hiroshima, to honor and commemorate Sakado Sasaki and the other victim of the bomb…
The Peace Memorial Hall
In the Peace Memorial Hall, you can listen to the harrowing stories of people who survived the bomb. It’s not easy to listen to these stories, but it helped me to better understand what happened and how peoples’ lives were affected by the bomb. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to comprehend the amount of suffering and utter destruction caused by one single bomb.
Picture of memorial cenotaph
Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum
In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum, you can read more about the science behind an atomic bomb and about the effects of such a bomb on the human body. Throughout the museum there are displays with molten glass and metal, demonstrating once again the force of an atomic bomb and the impossibly high temperatures which vaporizes everything in its vicinity.
Hiroshima, a modern city with a great atmosphere
After this heavy morning, you can spend the afternoon discovering the other side of Hiroshima. Hiroshima is a very green and walkable city, you can cover all the main sites on foot. Stroll along the Ota river and through Central Park, you’ll soon arrive at the grounds of Hiroshima Castle.
Picture of Central Park
Japan is famous for its wooden castles and Hiroshima Castle is a fine example of this style. The original castle was destroyed by the bomb, but in 1958 Hiroshima Castle was meticulously reconstructed. Like you could expect anything less than perfection in Japan!
There is a museum inside the Castle walls, where you can learn all about the history of Japan, the history of Hiroshima and about Japanese Castle building.
Be sure to climb to the top of the Castle, you’ll have a beautiful view over the city! Within the castle park you’ll also find the Gokoku Shrine. Surrounding the grounds are the Ninomaru, the castle’s second circle of defense.
Picture of the Ninomaru
Other places in Hiroshima to visit are the Shukkei-en (a historic Japanese garden) and the Mitaki-dera (historic Japanese temple).
How to get to Hiroshima?
If you plan to travel around Japan by train, it’s worth looking into the Japan Rail Pass. Be sure to do this before going to Japan, you cannot buy the card once you are in Japan. There is a Shinkansen train (Japan’s famous bullet train) station in Hiroshima, travel time is about 90 minutes from Shin-Osaka.
The shinkansen is a very comfortable way to travel around Japan. Seats are quite big, the bathrooms are sparling clean, there are small changing rooms and you can charge your phone/laptop in the sockets under the seats. Plus, you’ll be traveling at 320 kilometers per hour!
Guest author Bio
My name is Lotte, born and raised in the Netherlands and trying to explore as much of the world as possible! Up until now I lived in Barcelona, London and Amsterdam and visited 38 countries.
I am a banker turned blogger and write about my adventures on Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog (www.phenomenalglobe.com). It’s my mission to inspire other people to travel and help them plan their trips! In 2017 my husband and I are making a round the world trip, we don’t know where we’ll end up and how long we’ll be traveling. Probably until the money runs out;-).