Guide to Hiroshima

Memorials and other good attractions

Atomic Bomb Dome is one of Hiroshima’s biggest hallmarks.

Guide to Hiroshima

There was peace and tranquility in Hiroshima the morning of August 6, 1945. No one took notice of the B-29 bomber that at 9:15 am, at an altitude of just under 9.5 kilometers, unleashed the 4.5 ton heavy “Little Boy” atomic bomb.

The bomb flew for 45 seconds before it exploded at an altitude of just under 600 meters with a force equivalent to 12,000 tonnes of Trotyl.

Seconds later, 80,000 of the city’s total 350,000 inhabitants had died and 12 km2 of the city center was as good as gone.

In the weeks and months following the bombing, another 60,000 died of their burns, internal bleeding and organ failure caused by the radioactive radiation.

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On the inside of the Memorial Monument for Hiroshima is written all the names of the victims of the 1945 atomic bomb – a total of 290,000 names. New ones come every year. In the background you can see the Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Dome

As the history books describe, the Japanese surrendered 3 days later after Nagasaki had also been bombed.

However, for most people Hiroshima stands as the symbol of the atomic bomb and it is also this city that most tourists choose to visit, as part of what is popularly called “Dark Tourism”.

Other good experiences in Hiroshima

The main attractions of Hiroshima are pretty much all on a curved line from Hiroshima Station and to Peace Memorial Park 3 km away.

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Peace Memorial Park with A-Bomb Dome in the background

Memorial Cathedral for World Peace

Memorial Cathedral for World Peace is a 10-minute walk from Hiroshima Station.

The church is the largest Roman Catholic church in Asia and is an interesting piece of architecture. It was built in 1954 and is the result of donations from many countries. Thus, the church bells and organ are from Germany, while the altar is a gift from Belgium.

Opening hours: Not known
Admission: Free

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Shukkei-en Garden

After another 10 minutes walk you arrive at the beautiful park which was founded in 1620 and belonged to Emperor Meiji. The park is in typical Japanese style with lakes, tea houses and cut trees.

After the destruction in 1945, the park reopened in 1951.

Opening hours: 9am to 6pm
Admission: 260 Yen

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Like all Japanese parks, Shukkei-en Garden is beautiful and relaxing to walk around

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle is a 10-minute walk from Shukkei-en Garden. The castle was originally built in 1590, but was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945 which exploded almost straight across.

The current castle is a (slightly sad) copy of the original castle and is primarily interesting because of its history.

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Hiroshima Castle has been rebuilt while the granite foundations around the park testify about former buildings

From the top floor of the castle there are fine views of parts of Hiroshima city. The surrounding park is partially re-established and gives an impression of the greatness of the past.

Opening hours: 9am to 6pm
Admission: 370 yen

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From the upper floors of the castle there are fine views of Hiroshima

Hiroshima Museum of Modern Art

Right next to Hiroshima Castle is Hiroshima’s art museum with paintings by Picasso, Monet, Renoir etc. and a number of well-known Japanese artists.

Those of you who have read my other articles know that I don’t spend much time at art museums, nor have I visited this one …

Opening hours: 09: 00-17: 00
Admission: 360 yen

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Atomic Bomb Dome

From the art museum there is a 10 minute walk to the Atomic Bomb Dome which is probably the most famous and photographed building in Hiroshima.

Although the nuclear bomb exploded just above the building, it was one of the few buildings in Hiroshima that weren’t destroyed by the bomb. Perhaps because it’s built of bricks unlike most of the city’s other buildings, which were made of wood.

In 1996, the A-bomb Dome was added to Unesco‘s World Heritage List.

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Atomic Bomb Dome is Hiroshima’s most photographed building

The atomic bomb exploded almost directly above the building and it’s believed that this was contributing to its survival. Unfortunately, the people who stayed in the building were not so lucky …

Peace Memorial Park

On the other side of the river is Peace Memorial Park, which houses a number of monuments, including the Peace Flame which has been burning continuously since it was lit in 1964.

The park usually buzzes with schoolchildren who come from all over Japan to learn about this part of the country’s history.

Opening hours: 24/7
Admission: Free

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Peace Memorial Park er altid fuld af japanske skolebørn som skal lære denne side af deres lands historie at kende

Peace Memorial Museum

The Peace Memorial Museum is definitely worth a visit, but it is packed with people.

In addition to the museum having a wide range of effects from the fatal day, there are also eyewitness descriptions from August 6, 1945 and in the time after.

Spend a few hours making sure to watch it all. Avoid weekends and come either early or late to avoid the crowds.

Hours: 08: 30-18:00
Admission: 200 yen

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At the Peace Memorial Museum, you can get a detailed review of the bombing on August 6, 1945 and beyond

Mazda Museum

In the south of Hiroshima, the Mazda factory is located and there is also a Mazda Museum, with exhibitions of both new and old car models and a story of the company’s history.

The museum was supposed to be quite interesting, but unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to visit it myself.

Opening hours: Guided tours start at 10:00.
Admission: Free
Online registration is required.

Transportation in Hiroshima

Almost all the attractions in Hiroshima can be reached via a 3-4 km walk from Hiroshima Station.

If you want to save energy, you can use the “Hiroshima Meipu ru-pu” bus, which is a so-called Loop bus that runs in the ring from the station and around to the various attractions.

If you have a Japan Rail Pass it’s free and otherwise you can buy a day pass for 400 Yen.

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There are so-called Loop buses in regular scheduled service between the various attractions

Many more guides are coming in English – stay tuned…

Guide to Miyajima
Guide to Koyasan
Guide to Nara
Guide to Osaka

Artiklen er opdateret d. 5. marts 2020