On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was struck by the atomic bomb “Fat Man,” killing thousands and decimating the city to rubble. Ten years later, the Nagasaki Peace Park was opened as a memorial for the victims and to send the world a message for peace.
On a hill just north of the bomb’s hypocenter, the park is located in the Zone of Hopes, one of three symbolic zones in the blast area: Hopes, Prayers, and Study.
The Zone of Prayers marks where the atomic bomb exploded above Nagasaki with the Hypocenter Cenotaph. It contains other memorials and statues, including the Nagasaki Korean Atomic Bomb Victims’ Memorial and the Statue of the Praying Child.
The southern Zone of Study is where you can find the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall, and Statue in Memory of Schoolchildren and Teachers killed by the bomb.
The park’s dominant feature is the 9.7 meter tall Peace Statue which depicts a seated blue man with his arms raised in the air. His right hand points to the sky, symbolizing the threat of nuclear warfare, while his left stretches out horizontally, palm down, signifying a desire for peace.
Head to the opposite end of the park to see the Fountain of Peace. The fountain memorializes the many victims who could be heard desperately crying out for water before succumbing to their wounds. Water spouts from the fountain to resemble a dove flapping its wings. In front of the fountain sits a black plaque with the words of survivor Sachiko Yamaguchi describing her despairing thirst.
Between the statue and fountain, you’ll pass various sculptures and monuments gifted to Nagasaki from sister cities and countries around the world. These artworks not only illustrate international friendship and solidarity but are also meant to reinforce the hope for a better future and the desire to rid the world of atomic weapons.
For after the park, the beautiful Urakami Cathedral is close by and you can also walk to Sanno shrine, famous for its one-legged torii gate that miraculously survived the atomic blast.