Hiroshima

Beautiful Hiroshima, Sean Pavone

For most of us, Hiroshima is known as the city as the 1st ever Atomic Bomb was dropped. It was dropped at 8:15 in the morning of the 6th of August, 1945. About 70,000 people said to have died immediately and 140,000 people have died by the end of 1945 and some still suffer. The city which people believed no grasses would ever grow has now become a beautiful city with a population of 1.2 million people, the 10th largest city in Japan. It is possible to take a day return trip either from Kyoto or Osaka, but I recommend you to stay at a peaceful night on the divine island of Miyajima.

 

How to get there

From Kyoto: It is 100 mins by Shinkansen(bullet train) and will cost 10,770 yen one way on an ordinary car. Long-distance trains in Japan is not cheap, so if you are traveling to other destinations(i.e. Tokyo) during your trip, you might want to consider purchasing Japan Rail Pass before leaving your country.

From Tokyo: 4 hours by Shinkansen or 90 minutes if you fly.

 

What to see

You should spend as much time in Peace Memorial Park when visiting Hiroshima. It was built in 1955 and registered as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in 1996.  You can take a streetcar to Atomic Bomb Dome(Genbaku domu mae) Station in 10 minutes, but it might be a good idea for you to walk to the Park, going through the center of the city, so you can get the vibrant atmosphere of the present-day Hiroshima.

The 108 of 123 streetcars exited at the time became the victim of the bomb, but out of those which survived the war, there are 2 streetcars still operating today. See if you can spot Streetcar No. 651 and No. 652.

Peace Memorial Park

Address: 1 Chome-1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan (map)

Hours: Open 24 hours

Phone: +81825042390

      

Shima Hospital 

This is the Hypocenter. The Atomic Bomb was exploded 600m above this small private hospital. All 80 patients and nurses had died at once, but the doctor who was on outcall on the day survived. The hospital is still run by this doctor’s descendants.

There were four B-29 flew over Hiroshima on that morning. The first one to check the weather, the second one (Enola Gaye) to drop the bomb, and the third and fourth ones to film and measure the effectiveness of the bomb. 

Shima Hospital

Address: 1 Chome-5-25 Otemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0051, Japan (map)

Website: shimagekanaika.jp

Hours: Monday – Friday 9AM–6PM; Saturday 9AM–12:30PM; Sunday closed

 

A-bomb Dome

Atomic Bomb Dome

Atomic Bomb Dome, Shawn Harquail

Built by a Czech architect Jan Letzel in 1915, this building became the symbol of the Atomic Bomb.

It was used as the Industrial Promotion Hall of Hiroshima Prefecture at the time.  All the people in there died immediately, but the part of the strongly-built concrete building survived because the bomb exploded directly above it and did not get the heavy blast.  

There was a plan to demolish this building because many people did not want to remember the harsh memories of the war. However, a diary of one high school female student who died of leukemia contributed to change the government’s policy.

Her diary said, “Only the tragic Industrial Promotion Hall will forever continue to tell future generations of the catastrophic atomic bombing.” She was 1 year old when the bomb was dropped and died 15 years later.

A-bomb Dome

Address: 1-10 Otemachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0051, Japan (map)

Website: city.hiroshima.lg.jp

Hours: Monday – Friday 9AM–6PM; Saturday 9AM–12:30PM; Sunday closed

Phone: +81822427831

 

Aioi Bridge 

This T-shaped Bridge was the actual target of the bomb.  It, in fact, exploded 240m southeast of this bridge, over on Shima Hospital (No.1). 

Aioi Bridge

Address: Japan, 〒730-0011 Hiroshima, Naka Ward, 22, 基町1 (map)

Website: pcf.city.hiroshima.jp

Hours: Open 24 hours

Phone: +81822427798

 

Children’s Peace Monument 

Sadako Sasaki, who was 2 years old when the bomb was dropped, and developed leukemia 10 years later. She kept on folding paper cranes, believing her illness would be cured if she could make 1,000 paper cranes as cranes are the symbol of long life in Japan.  She died at the age of 12. This monument commemorates Sadako and all the children who died of the Atomic Bomb.

Often you will encounter many students on their school excursion singing for the peace in front of this monument. You can also donate your own paper cranes here.

Sadako, in fact, has folded more than 1,000 paper cranes while she was in the hospital.  You can see some of her cranes at the Peace Memorial Museum.   

Children’s Peace Monument

Address: 1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan (map)

Website: city.hiroshima.lg.jp

Phone: +81822427831

 

Memorial for Korean Atomic Bomb Victims 

There were many people of non-Japanese origins living in Hiroshima. Notably, there were many laborers from the Korean peninsula, which was a colony of Japan at the time. There is the turtle-shaped epitaph as Koreans believe spirits of the dead go up to Heaven riding on the back of the turtle. Its head is looking towards the direction of the Korean Peninsula.  

There were 12 American prisoners of war who died of the bomb on the day, but the American government did not acknowledge it until the 1980s. Mr. Obama visited Hiroshima in 2016 as the first American President and gave tributes to those 12 Americans. 

Memorial for Korean Atomic Bomb Victims

Address: 1-1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan (map)

Hours: Open 24 hours

 

Memorial Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims 

Memorial Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims

Memorial Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims, Victor Lee

The cenotaph in the image of an old Japanese clay house houses all the names of 324,129 individuals who died of the atomic bomb and related illnesses until today(August 2019). It includes the names of 12 American soldiers, and the names are added every year.

The cenotaph is written in eight different languages, and the English translation reads: “Let all the souls here rest in peace: For we shall not repeat the evil.” 

Memorial Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims

Address: 1 Chome-1-89 Higashisendamachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0053, Japan (map)

Website: hiroshima-navi.or.jp

Hours: Open 24 hours

 

Peace Memorial Museum 

The museum is in two parts.  The first part focuses on the personal account of people who died and survived, and the second part is about historical and scientific information. The entrance fee is ¥200. You can rent an excellent recorded guide in several languages for ¥400. (An English one is a best-recorded guide I know of and well worth the money, even though all the exhibits are explained in English as well.) Give at least 90 minutes to look at the exhibition thoroughly. You can leave your bag at lockers on the entrance floor free of charge. 

You can see two paper cranes folded by Mr. Obama on the opposite side of the museum shop where you can go in for free. The museum is open throughout the year except December 30 and 31.  It opens at 8:30 but the closing time changes in different seasons, so please check their website. If you arrive early, you might be able to arrange a free volunteer guide. Also, survivors and their families can give you talks by prior arrangement. At the moment, the entry to the museum is limited and prior bookings only. You must book at least 3 days before your visit.  

Peace Memorial Museum

Address: 1-2 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan (map)

Website: pcf.city.hiroshima.jp

Hours: Monday – Sunday 8:30AM–6PM

Phone: +81822414004

 

Peace Watch Tower

On the side of the two entrance hall, there is this digital plate to tell us the number of the days since the 1st Atomic Bomb was dropped and another plate to show the days from the last nuclear test was experimented on. The clock is designed to break automatically if this planet becomes on the verge of its destruction.

Do you know which country was the last country experimented with Nuclear Test? It is not North Korea, but the answer is the USA on February 13 in 2019. 

There are many other places you can explore in Peace Park (i.e. Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims, Peace Bell, and Atomic Bomb Monument Mound where unidentified victims were buried.) Also, there are many trees, benches, coffee shops, and toilets throughout the park, so you can have a relaxing day reflecting upon the past.   

Peace Watch Tower

Address: 1 Nakajimacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0811, Japan (map)

Hours: Open 24 hours

 

Shukkeien Garden

Shukkeien Garden

Shukkeien Garden, Rog01

This so-called contracted view garden was originally built in the early 17th century by a regional samurai lord. It was destroyed during the war but restored to its original splendor with a guard-shaped pond and a beautiful stone bridge. The fee is ¥260 to enter.

Shukkeien Garden

Address: 2-11 Kaminoboricho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0014, Japan (map)

Website: shukkeien.jp

Hours: Monday – Sunday 9AM–5PM

Phone: +81822213620

 

Hiroshima Castle  

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle, Joe Hsu

Originally built in the 16th century, but the present one was built in 1958, symbolizing the rebirth of the city from the devastation of the War. It is nicknamed as Carp Castle, a carp being the symbol of the Hiroshima-based baseball team. It is a small castle, but if you are not visiting other castles, this might be the one to check out.

One of the reasons Hiroshima was chosen to drop the bomb was that it had many military bases. You can see some of the sites of the military headquarters in Castle Park. This is also where the 12 American POW’s were bombed. Hiroshima People are enthusiastic about their local baseball team Hiroshima Carp. You will probably see a lot of reds in the city as it is their team color.  Hiroshima-based automobile company Mazda provided its baseball stadium.

Hiroshima Castle

Address: 21-1 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0011, Japan (map)

Website: rijo-castle.jp

Phone: +81822217512

 

Things to Eat

Hiroshima-yaki

Hiroshima-yaki

Hiroshima-yaki, clvs7

One thing for you to try in Hiroshima is Hiroshima-yaki. It is a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. Unlike Osaka-style okonomiyaki, it does not use as much butter and use a lot of thinly-cut cabbages.  Try both styles, so you can compare two different types of okonomiyaki and decide which style you like for yourself, Hiroshima’s or Osaka’s okonomiyaki?

 

Nagataya

Nagataya

Nagataya, Jose Hernandez

One place to recommend is Nagataya near Peace Park. It is conveniently located between the Hypocenter and the Atomic Dome. They can deal with vegetarian and gluten-free. Very popular among tourists, so avoid lunchtime and prepare to queue.  

Nagataya

Address: Japan, 〒730-0051 Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Otemachi, 1 Chome−7−19 重石ビル 1F (map)

Website: nagataya-okonomi.com

Hours: Monday, Wednesday – Sunday 11AM–8:30PM; Tuesday closed

Phone: +81822470787

 

Okonomi-mura

Okonomi-mura

Okonomi-mura, throgers

Another place is Okonomi-mura. 

There are 24 okonomiyaki stalls you can choose from within one building (the second to the fourth floor). It is located in the center of the town between the Peace Park and Hiroshima Station.

Okonomi-mura

Address: 5-13 Shintenchi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0034, Japan (map)

Website: okonomimura.jp

Hours: Monday – Sunday 11AM–9PM

Phone: +81822412210

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