After Kazunobu saved the day, and drove us to the airport at 4am so we could catch our flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima, we were on our way to the next part of our trip. From the plane we got to see some beautiful views of Mt. Fuji #iclimbedthat #booya
After we checked into our hostel, we headed over to the Hiroshima Peace Museum
At 8:15am on August 6, 1945, the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The bomb, originally named "the man", was 3 meters long and weighed 4 tons. Because of it's long, thin design, the name was later changed to "little boy". The A-bomb was detonated 600m in the air and all buildings within 2 km were crushed to rubble and burned.
It is estimated that 350,000 civilians and military personnel were directly exposed to the A-bomb. These included tens of thousands of Korean workers and their families, who due to the labor shortage, were brought by force to work in Japan to work in the factories. Other were students from China, SE Asia, and American prisoners of war. In addition, in the final days of WWII, students in 7th and 8th grades were mobilized to demolish buildings for firebreaks. These firebreaks prevented the spread of fire during air raids. On August 6, a large scale building demolition was scheduled in central Hiroshima so the number of casualties was increased (especially with school aged children).
People who were closest to the bomb were immediately vaporized or burned to ashes - some only leaving a shadowy imprint behind. Those who survived say the saw a bright, noiseless flash, and felt a massive intense heat, turning their clothes to tattered rags; and felt like they were being stabbed by hundreds of needles. On the day of the atomic bomb, about 6300 boys and girls who had been mobilized to be engaged in this work, died due to the atomic bombing. (I didn't know this and it was depressing to see so many items from children killed from the bomb). At least 70,000 people were killed in the initial blast, and approximately 70,000 more died from radiation exposure. It's believed that the 5 year death total may have reached or exceed 200,000 as cancer and other long-term effects took hold. #depressing
The displays are the museum are depressing and personal, it's hard to describe the overwhelming feeling that overcomes you as you look at them. They contained ragged clothes, locks of hairs, children's toys and lunch boxes of the victims. It was devastating to see, especially reading the descriptions of the children they belonged to and first hand accounts. I don't know how anyone can be in here looking at these items and not be moved to tears. It was hard to read and see, but I think it's very important for people to view - especially in today's environment, to realize the devastation that atomic bombs can have and how many people it affects. #letshopeitneverhappensagain
The pictures below show some of the items on display. On the left, a wooden sandal with a footprint burned into it, owned by a 13 year old girl Miyoko - her body was never found but her mother was able to recognize her shoe (by the fabric) 2 months later. The other display are singed locks of hair from another 13 year old girl, Teruko, who died a day later from injuries from the blast. Another is a tricycle from a 3 year old little boy that his dad originally buried with him, but later dug up to have it displayed in the museum.
President Barack Obama was the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima since the bombing. #proud #abouttime You can see what he wrote in the book below: "We have known the agony of war, let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace and promote a world without nuclear weapons" - Barack Obama, May 27, 2016 I think this is important to remember with some of the leaders in the world nowadays being a little trigger happy with nuclear weapons.... #maybeputinandtrumpshouldvisit #openyoureyes
The memorial monument for Hiroshima City of Peace below. "This monument embodies the hope that Hiroshima, devastated on August 6, 1945 by the world's first atomic bombing, will stand forever as a city of peace. The stone chamber in the center contains the Register of Deceased A-bomb Victims. The inscription on the front panel offers a prayer for peaceful repose of the victims and a pledge on behalf of all humanity never to repeat the evil of war. It expresses the spirit of Hiroshima - enduring grief, transcending hatred, pursuing harmony and prosperity for all, and yearning for genuine, lasting world peace."
While visiting the area, there were also many Japanese school children walking around. The would go up to foreigners and interview them, including Paige and I. They asked where we were from, why we were visiting, and what did we like about Japan. Paige and I were more than happy to answer these questions: California, visiting because it's important for Americans to see the devastation the atomic bomb created, and what we like about Japan - the people, the food, how clean it is, how respectful everyone is.... I could go on and on! The children were adorable and the boys told Paige and I we were pretty #flatterywillgetyoueverywhere
This is the "Flame of Peace", built with donations from all over Japan. It was competed August 1, 1964 and designed by Tokyo University professor Keno Tange. This flame symbolizes the universal desire for a world free from nuclear weapons. It stands directly below where the atomic bomb exploded and a line directly to the atomic bomb dome. The pedestal it stands on is abstract art for two hands opening upward. The flame will burn until all nuclear weapons are destroyed and no longer remain on this earth. #ihopethathappenssoon
Sadako Sasaki was exposed to the atomic bomb when she was 2 years old, but survived. 10 years later, she developed leukemia, which ultimately ended her life. She attempted to fold 1000 paper cranes since the crane is a symbol of longevity and happiness. She was convinced that if she achieved the target that she would recover. Unfortunately she died before she finished her goal but her classmates folded the rest - now countless paper cranes are sent to the monument every year. The monument was built in memory of all children who died as a result of the atomic bombing and stands at 9 meters high with a bronze statue of a girl lifting a golden crane, entrusted with dreams for a peaceful future.
The inscription on the stone block under the monument reads "This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world." On the surface of the bell hanging inside the monument , the phrases "A thousand paper cranes" and Peace on earth and in the heaven" are carved.
We saw the Bell of Peace - "may it ring to all corners of the earth to meet the ear of every man" and stand as a "symbol of aspiration let all nuclear arms and wars be gone and the nations live in true peace"
The Aioi Bridge was built in 1932 in a "T" shape and was the apparent target of the atomic bomb since it was easily spotted from the air. The blast and pressure from the bomb made the bridge thrash like a leaf spring being snapped back and forth but it survived and was used for 35 more years. They had to rebuild it due to its age.
We saw the infamous Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, built in 1915. The atomic bomb exploded at an altitude of 600 meters about 150 meters southeast of the hall. The blast instantly killed everyone inside and is left there as a reminder to the entire world of the horrors of the atomic bomb and a symbol of global peace.
After an intense tour of the devastating effects of the atomic bomb, we grabbed some lunch and went to go check out the Hiroshima Castle, also known as carp castle. It was originally built in 1591 by Terumoto Mori but was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. This replica was built in 1958.
The Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine (広島護国神社) is on the grounds of the Hiroshima Castle. The original shrine was built in 1869, the first year of the Meiji period, established to mourn the Hiroshima-Han victims of the Boshin War. The shrine was also destroyed during the atomic bomb but rebuilt after.
On the walk back to our hostel we saw the Old Bank of Japan Hiroshima Branch, built in 1936. This building is significant because, although it was 360 meters from the site of the atomic bomb blast, it retained it's original structure almost perfectly. Unfortunately, the inside was completely destroyed and all 42 people inside died. This is also the area where the steps with the man's shadow on them is from, on display at the museum.
Paige and I were pretty tired after getting up early for our flight and exploring the beautiful city of Hiroshima all day, so we headed back to the hostel for some afternoon naps. #ilovenaps We had a tasty dinner at a little izakaya half a block from our hostel - dinner with some gyoza, spring rolls, fresh sashimi, and ramen with a little sake on the side #mmmm
We headed back to our hostel to enjoy a few drinks after dinner. We met some guys from Australia who were trying to watch a boxing match - so we went off to find a local bar playing it. It proved unsuccessful so we were just going to have a few beers at a local bar. The boys were being indecisive so I asked some locals if they knew a good spot for some beer and maybe sushi. They misinterpreted my question a bit but I ended up inviting them to come have beer with us as well. They took the task of trying to find a local bar very seriously and in the end, to save time, we just went to one near our hostel. The Australian boys were over it but that didn't stop Paige and I from enjoying the random experience to have some beers with some locals. They didn't speak much English but we made do and had a fun night! Kanpai!
Tune in for the next blog about our day trip over to Miyajima!
Follow in our Footsteps:
Santiago Guesthouse Hiroshima – Hostel (decent hostel, good price for the money and good location)
4-18 Nakamachi Nakaku, Hiroshima, 730-0046 Japan
Peace Memorial Museum
Japan, 〒730-0811 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Nakajimacho, １−２
Hours: 8:30am - 5pm (Dec - Feb); 8:30am - 6pm (Mar - Nov); 8:30am - 7pm (Aug)
Fee: 50 yen (adults), 30 yen (children)
Peace Memorial Park
Japan, 〒730-0811 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Nakajimacho, 1丁目
Atomic Bomb Dome
Japan, 〒730-0051 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Otemachi, １−１０
21-1 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0011, Japan
Hours: 9am-6pm (Mar-Nov); 9am - 5pm (Dec- Feb)
Fee: 360 yen (adults), 180 yen (children)
Old Bank of Japan Hiroshima Branch
5-16 Fukuro-cho, Naka-ku Hiroshima City , Zip code 730-0036
Yakitori Gyoza Kushikatsu Gayagaya (local izakaya)
5-9 Naka-Ku Nakamachi Dai-1 Shimo-Nakamachi Bldg. 1F, Hiroshima 730-0037 Hiroshima Prefecture
TripAdvisorYakitori Gyoza Kushikatsu GayagayaYakitori Gyoza Kushikatsu GayagayaYakitori Gyoza Kushikatsu Gayagaya
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!