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The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum - Visitor Guide
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The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum - Visitor Guide

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is the most famous attraction in the city of Hiroshima and a great place to explore the city’s dark history.

Table of contents:
Background to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
What to See at Hiroshima Peace Park
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Tips for Visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Visiting Hiroshima Peace Park with the JR Pass

Most international travellers have heard of the city of Hiroshima, making it a popular destination for them when they travel the country. Hiroshima’s fame is tied to the incredibly tragic day that the city was devastated by an atomic bomb deployed by the US in the World War II. This moment in history forever changed the city and course of history, so there is really no reason why you would miss Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a landmark dedicated to the effect of this moment.

While the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is the main attraction in the centre of the city, some visitors don’t realise just how much there is to see here. To help give you a sense of what to expect and show you why you absolutely must visit, here’s what you need to know about visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with your Japan Rail Pass.

Background to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

In case you’re not familiar with the history and meaning behind the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, here’s a little refresher for your benefit. On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima, becoming the first city to ever undergo a nuclear attack.

The devastation and death toll was unimaginable, so the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was established in 1954 to remember its victims and document the events that took place. The location of the Peace Park was once the living centre of the city and the target for the bomb, making it an obvious site for the memorial.

Several structures in the park are the remains of buildings that weren’t wholly destroyed by the bomb, while others have since been added to help remember the dead and share the dream of peace. The Peace Park was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 due to its great historical and cultural importance.

What to See at Hiroshima Peace Park

Since it’s one of the main things to do in Hiroshima, it should come as no surprise that there’s quite a bit to see at the city’s Peace Park. That said, many will still be surprised at just how large this 29 acre park is and how many different landmarks there are to find.

A-Bomb Dome

Perhaps the most famous and instantly recognisable landmark of the Peace Park is the A-Bomb Dome. What remains of this building is a visual reminder of the destruction unleashed on the city and it was one of only two buildings in the area left at least partially intact. The building, which is now little more than a husk, was previously the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. Rather than restore the building, the A-Bomb Dome has been left exactly as it was after the bombing to properly reflect the carnage of the day.

Children’s Peace Memorial

The next most common memorial for people to visit here is the Children’s Peace Memorial. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of the children who died during the bombing or as a result of the radiation exposure. Its design is tied to the story of a girl Sadako Sasaki who died from her leukemia caused by the radiation. Sadako was known for continually making paper cranes throughout her illness and her likeness can be seen with a crane in hand at the memorial. Paper cranes are brought to the memorial on a daily basis and placed by the statue.

Rest House of Hiroshima Peace Park

Besides the A-Bomb Done, the other building in this area that predates the bombing is the Rest House. While everything above ground was completely destroyed and everyone inside killed, the basement managed to stay intact and shielded the one survivor inside it from the devastation. While upstairs has been rebuilt to house a tourist information centre, the basement remains just as it did then.

Additional Landmarks in and Around the Park

It’s worth taking a wander around the park to find other landmarks and memorials dotted about the Peace Park. Other notable landmarks within the park include The Peace Bell, the Flame of Peace and the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims. Then there’s the Aioi Bridge over the confluence of the Ōta and Motoyasu Rivers, which enjoys a good view of the A-Bomb Dome by the river’s edge.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Those looking to learn more about the Hiroshima bombing and its long-lasting impacts, should make their way to the park’s Peace Memorial Museum. Spanning the two main buildings of the park, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum takes guests through the history and human suffering of this infamous historical event.

Exhibits cover the factors leading up to the war, Hiroshima’s role during the war and plenty of personal details relating to the awful effects of the bombing. Some displays include incredibly unfiltered and blunt photographs related to the aftermath of the bombing, which some visitors may find upsetting. But these exhibits are not done for the sake of shock value but as a reminder and deterrent to the horror caused by the use of nuclear weapons.

Tips for Visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

  • While the park has no opening hours, entry to the museum is possible from 8:30 to 18:00, with hours extended to 19:00 in August and reduced to 17:00 from December to February.
  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is closed only on December 30 and 31.
  • The admission fee for the museum is 200 yen for adults.
  • For travellers interested in experiencing more of what Hiroshima has to offer, we suggest you look at these articles on the Mazda Museum and Okunoshima.

Visiting Hiroshima Peace Park with the JR Pass

As Hiroshima Peace Park is quite centrally located in the city, it is an especially easy place to reach. However, your JR Pass will only help you reach the city of Hiroshima by taking the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen or the Sanyo Line. Once in Hiroshima, the easiest way to get there is with the #2 or #6 tram from Hiroshima Station, although this isn’t covered with your pass.

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