Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Of course, the purpose of our being in Hiroshima was to visit the Peace Park and Memorial. Our hotel was just across the river and so just a few hundred meters away from the 'hypocentre' - the spot where the atomic bomb exploded 600 m over the city. Almost all buildings for mile around were either instantly destroyed or burned in the subsequent fires. However some ferro-concrete buildings were less destroyed. This building - now known as the A-dome - was almost exactly under the centre of the blast and because of the downward forces its walls continued, in part to stand. It has been preserved as a memorial. The park itself stands on a river island - the bridge across the river - the Aioi bridge, being the target for the Enola Gay, actually survived the blast although was rebuilt in the 1980's. The park has various memorials in it including the cenotaph.
There is a museum which takes a couple of hours or more to do - it is all in English and an audio guide is available. It covers the history leading up to the use of the bomb and material about the nuclear arms race since. Then, in the last room are items which survived the blast - melted iron statutes, shadows of vaporised people on stone steps, this watch which stopped at the time of the blast

and this - perhaps the most poignant of all. A three year old boy was outside riding this tricycle when the bomb hit. He was killed and his metal bike melted. His father thought he was too young to be buried away from his family so he buried him in the backyard and with him his bike and helmet for comfort. Forty years later the child's remains were moved by the father to the family grave and the helmet and tricycle donated to the museum.


Karen said...

We spent several sobering hours at Hiroshima and I think it is one of the most moving tributes I have ever been to.

Sue Dennis said...

Hiroshima is very moving, couldn't spend very long in the museum as it was so upsetting. Miajima Island is lovely. We based ourselves in Kyoto & used the fast trains.