When we started planning our trip to Japan it was very important that we make the long trip south to Hiroshima. Hiroshima represents one of the darkest days in human history and we wanted to visit the infamous Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Memorial Museum. It's one thing to hear about the A-Bomb and its horrific destruction on mankind, but actually walking on the very soil and seeing the last remaining structure was something that we could not miss.
Arriving at the sight of the A-bomb dome, which is probably the most recognizable A-bomb landmark remaining in Hirooshima, you feel an errie sense of loss and calamity. The remains are surprisingly still intact, due to the fact that the bomb exploded about 600 meters almost directly above it. The heat of the blast was said to be 3000-4000 degress, literally melting everything and everyone in its path. We crossed the Aioi Bridge, said to be the target of the bomb, and entered the Peace Memorial Park.
The park and museum are a very respectful and educational way to honor the victims of the tragic event. We are not typically big on museums, but found ourselves reading everything that the it had on display. We spent hours taking in the fascinating and gut-wrenching information. The museum walks you through the events leading up to the bombing, the reasoning for Hiroshima as the target city, the aftermath of the bombing and the rebuilding effort, and the breakdown of the Pacific War and Japan's involvement.
There were many before and after models, post-bombing artifacts, and several photographs of the bomb explosion and the immediate aftermath, not for the squeamish. There were even signed letters from Albert Einstien (describing the effects that nuclear fission could have if used as a weapon) as well as telegrams from FDR, Truman and Churchill outlining the mission and giving clearance to drop the bomb... amazing pieces of history!
There is a really good virtual tour that you can take at this webite:
Hiroshima, and Japan for that matter, is a huge advocate for nuclear proliferation and global disarmament. The city is extremely involved in the global education of the Japan nuclear bombings, with the end goal that the world never forgets the Aug 6, 1945.
Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with us that day, raining for most of it. We elected to skip the other outdoor attractions and caught a late afternoon express train back to Kyoto... 310 kilometres in less than two hours with stops! Love the shinkansen!