Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
If there's one thing you see in Hiroshima, it should be this.
Located in downtown Hiroshima, the Peace Memorial Park is a place for remembrance – commemorating the city and the nearly 140,000 victims lost to the world’s first atomic bombing.
Easily accessible from Hiroshima Station on a 20-minute tram ride, the closest exit is “Genbaku Dome-mae”— where the symbol of this memorial site becomes instantly visible. The partially spared remains of the Genbaku Dome (more commonly known as the A-bomb Dome) serve as a haunting reminder of the tragedy that unfolded on August 6, 1945.
A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the ruins of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall have been safeguarded as a bridge between the past and present, illustrating the destructive impact of that moment and exhibiting a loud warning message for the future.
A four-minute stroll from the Genbaku Dome lies the Children’s Peace Monument, where a bronze statue of Sadako Sasaki is immortalized with outstretched arms. Also called the Tower of a Thousand Cranes, the monument not only remembers the life of Sadako – a 12-year-old girl who died of leukemia after radiation exposure – but also the thousands of child victims of the atomic bombing.
Inspired by the legend of a thousand paper cranes (Senbazuru), Sadako was determined to fold one thousand origami cranes, continuing to create these symbolic birds until her death. To this day, people from all over the world bring hand-folded paper cranes to be placed under the monument as a wish for peace.
Near the center of the park is a stone arch that covers a chest holding all the names of bomb victims. This Memorial Cenotaph aligns perfectly with the Peace Flame and the Genbaku Dome, while the design of the arch represents both a shelter for the souls and recalls the ancient burial mounds of Japan.
Every August 6th, a peace memorial ceremony is held in front of the Memorial Cenotaph to reflect on the lives lost through war and to pray for peace.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum provides a sobering insight into the events leading up to the bombing as well as its brutal aftermath. Photos capture the before and after while other exhibits display actual belongings from victims. On a positive note, you can trace the chronology of Hiroshima’s reconstruction all the way to the present-day – the vibrant, beautiful “City of Peace”.