We all felt that our trip to Japan would not be complete without a visit to the “Peace Memorial Park”:https://peace-tourism.com/en/spot/field/spotCat/10/ in Hiroshima.
The triangular park, bounded by two rivers, covers 122,100 square metres and has 27 points of interest.
Our first sight was the A-Bomb Dome, also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. It’s the remains of the former regional government building which promoted Hiroshima’s industries. When the bomb exploded 600 metres above it on 6 August 1945, it was one of the few buildings to remain standing.
The Children’s Peace Monument, a tall concrete tripod, is topped with a statue of a young girl, Sadako Sasaki, holding a wire crane above her head. She suffered radiation poisoning as a two year old and died of leukemia ten years later. Whilst ill, she began folding paper cranes (known as a symbol of peace), and people from all over the world began send them to Japan where they’re displayed in the park. When they reach a certain number, they recycle them into paper bookmarks which are given out in the museum.
In the National Peace Memorial Hall, was a register of names and photographs of the dead as well as moving testimonial videos from victims. The circular Hall of Remembrance had a panorama of the town made from 140,000 tiles representing the numbers said to have died by the end of 1945. Here we realised a small number of American prisoners of war had been killed by the bomb (apparently this wasn’t acknowledged until the 1970s).
The Flame of Peace, which has burned continuously since being lit in 1964, was aligned to the saddle-shaped concrete Memorial Cenotaph. The flame will only be extinguished when the world is rid of all nuclear weapons. Here we saw lots of traditionally dressed newly graduated Japanese students having group photographs taken.
We spent much of our time in the Museum with its maps, photographs, videos and other exhibits which included seeing the effect of the bomb on clothing and objects. There was a replica of the actual bomb and we were all surprised how such a relatively small object could wreak so much devastation.
The Monument Dedicated to the Korean Victims and Survivors stood on a turtle shaped base and was engraved “Souls of the dead ride to heaven on the backs of turtles.” We hadn’t known that the Japanese had brought many Koreans to work in Japan through forced service or conscription
We then wandered past a number of monuments and statues before we all solemnly rang the Peace Bell before we left.