For our final full day in Japan Josh and I decided to visit Hiroshima, specifically the Peace Park in Hiroshima. Before visiting the Peace Park I of course knew about the history of Hiroshima, but apart from an atomic bomb being dropped on the city in 1945 I really was lacking any knowledge of the city. Visiting the Peace Museum in the Peace Park was a really educating experience and I can truly say now that I understand more about Hiroshima, both before and after the bomb was dropped.
Before our visit to Hiroshima my image of the city was that black and white picture of the huge mushroom cloud that I’m sure many people have seen in text books. I was completely unaware that the city had been rebuilt and was in fact a large, thriving city. Josh and I were talking about how we had just expected a huge crater surrounded by barren land and that is the exact opposite of what you will find in Hiroshima today. A large portion of the old city has been turned into a Peace Park with various memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives and promoting peace and getting rid off all atomic and nuclear weapons. There are two main buildings of the Peace Museum, one filled with items and pictures relating to some of the many victims of the atomic bomb, and the second building is informational about the atomic bomb itself and how many bombs are around the world currently.
The main theme of the entire Peace Museum was just as its name would imply, world peace and trying to make sure Hiroshima will never happen again. It was a sobering day and experience but one I think was really important to experience. Something I found particularly interesting was how the museum used many different ways to convey the sheer horror of the atomic bomb’s destruction. I think this made the impact of the museum that much more strong and affect many people in different yet equally strong ways. Another person traveling with us commented on how an image of a woman’s kimono pattern burned into her flesh from the heat given off by the bomb was the most powerful experience he had at the museum. For Josh and myself we were particularly struck by the large models of the city both before and after the bomb was dropped, because it showed the extensive damage in almost black and white terms, there was a city and then there was nothing but rubble.
After visiting the Peace Museum and paying respect at the memorials scattered throughout the Peace Park we crossed a bridge to the A-bomb Dome which is a building that survived the atomic bomb. This building was particularly fascinating because it was so close to the drop site of the atomic bomb and yet not completely demolished. I couldn’t get it out of my head after visiting the Peace Museum how many people close to the explosion practically melted from the heat and yet a building remained somewhat intact. As Josh said when we were discussing it, “it just shows you how fragile humans really are.”
I think any trip to Japan could only be enhanced with a trip to Hiroshima, while it may not have been a fun filled day it was certainly a day I will always remember.