Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial (atomic bomb) museum
During any trip to Japan, a visit to Hiroshima should not be missed. The Peace Memorial Museum, built very close to the place where the atomic bomb has exploded, houses lot of items, each one with a documented own story, showing the damages produced by the atomic bomb explosion. Hiroshima has also other attractions making the city even more interesting, and has a beautiful modern downtown.
How to get to Hiroshima?
Hiroshima is served by several direct flights from Tokyo lasting about 90 minutes, but the best way to get to Hiroshima is probably by Shinkansen train
, since the city is located along the main railway axis between Tokyo, Nagoya , Kyoto, Osaka, Kokura and Hakata, served by high speed trains. The Shinkansen is also called bullet train
, as it travels up to 300 kilometers per hour, but with the particularity to stop even in the smaller cities (thus providing service to everyone, and not only to who is so lucky to live in main cities). The ticket price of the bullet train is comparable to that of similar trains in Europe, but with the particularity to be much more flexible (no worries if you miss a train) even paying base fare.
How to get to the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima?
The Peace Museum in Hiroshima (atomic bomb museum) is easily accessible from the train station by historic tram (line 2 and line 6 - information updated to 2015), which takes about 15 minutes. Visitors must get off at Genbaku-Domu Mae stop (Atomic Bomb Dome), from where the Peace Park is within a very short walk distance.
Near the entrance of Peace Memorial Park
in Hiroshima, only 150 meters from the hypocenter of the explosion of the atomic bomb, visitors will find the Peace Memorial monument. This monument is just the remains of a palace built in 1915 and designed to house exhibitions and other important events for the city of Hiroshima. Heavily damaged (indeed almost entirely demolished) by the nuclear explosion, the remains of the building were preserved and incorporated in 1996 in the World Heritage sites by UNESCO. In 2015 the building was under restoration.
Hiroshima Peace Park
is located a few hundred meters from the hypocenter of the explosion of the atomic bomb: in 1945 the place was one of the most important and populated district of the Hiroshima, but now all the area is an immense open-air museum.
The Hiroshima Peace Park
houses a memorial that includes exhibits, photos and stories of the atomic bomb victims.
Inside the Peace Park, there is the museum that collects artifacts, photos and stories related to the explosion of the atomic bomb
. In this photo, the representation of the hypocenter over the city of Hiroshima.
In Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
there are some mannequins that show what happens to the clothes and skin after a nuclear explosion, due to the heat and the wind that follows. Artifacts and historical documents speak about skin shreds dangling from bodies of the victims closest to the hypocenter.
The atomic bomb memorial
in Hiroshima collects a large number of exhibits showing the damage caused by the explosion of the atomic bomb. In these photos, the remains of a wall, showing bricks partially melted by the immense heat generated.
Photos of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
. A robust metal door deformed by the shock wave, with the surface partially melted due to the heat.
At Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, there are many documents that explain in detail what happened on the morning of August 6, 1945. In this graph, the damage caused by the explosion of the atomic bomb, according to the distance from the hypocenter.
There are many unique exhibits that can be seen at the Atomic Bomb Museum in Hiroshima. In these photos, from left to right, the head of a sandstone Buddha statue partially burned and melted. In the middle photo, black letters were burned as they have attracted more light (and therefore more heat) at the time of the explosion. Finally, in the photo on the right, a pair of trousers of a young student who, at the time of the explosion of the atomic bomb, was located less than a kilometer from the hypocenter.
When the atomic bomb has exploded on Hiroshima, a person was sitting on the front steps of a bank, waiting for opening time. The body of the person worked as a shield for the strong rays of light and heat, which have partially cooked and melted only the bricks directly exposed. Thus, the "shadow" of the person, presumably died instantly, has remained impressed forever on the steps and on the wall.
In the museum of atomic bomb in Hiroshima, there is also an extensive collection of vintage photos that show the damage suffered by people. In the left image, a man almost completely burned, although he was at nine kilometers from the hypocenter. On the right photo, a man exposed to radiation a kilometer from the hypocenter, who died after strange subcutaneous hemorrhages have appeared three weeks after the explosion.
Photos of the spinal cord showing acute leukemia, which came 14 years after exposure to radiation produced by the explosion of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. At the time of the explosion the person was only 9 years old and died within only two months from the first symptoms of leukemia, when she was 23.
The radiations produced by the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, caused many problems with keratin and therefore with the growth of the nails. On the left picture, a malformed fingernail. On the right photo, malformed nails removed surgically.
Photo of Little Boy
. In the Peace Memorial museum of Hiroshima, there is also a full-scale replica of the bomb that exploded on August 6, 1945, named "Little Boy", only three meters long and weighing four tons.
What to see in Hiroshima?
The city of Hiroshima is not only interesting for the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum, but the downtown shows a modern architecture that is home to large shopping centers.
A place that should not be missed during a trip to Hiroshima, is Hiroshima Castle
, about twenty minute walk from the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum. The Hiroshima Castle dates back to the sixteenth century and was originally built as a feudal residence, but was completely destroyed by the explosion of the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. However, for the high historical and cultural value, the castle of Hiroshima was rebuilt in the late '50s, as a replica of the original.
Inside Hiroshima castle there is a vast museum dedicated to the history of the country, but unfortunately (at it happens in most closed spaces in Japan) it's not allowed to take photographs. On the other hand, from the top of Hiroshima Castle, there is a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
More photos of Hiroshima Castle, with a special interior in Japanese style and observation towers placed along the outside fence.
This tree in the courtyard of the Hiroshima Castle, just 770 meters from the point of explosion of the atomic bomb, has miraculously survived
and is still alive.
The tour in Hiroshima ends by going towards the railway station, walking among modern skyscrapers.