A symbol of Hiroshima that focuses on praying for world peace.

On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m., the first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb Dome was just below the explosion, but somehow it was not completely destroyed, and the remnants of the building still remain today. Hiroshima residents decided to keep the tragic reminder of the war intact.

The site was designated a World Heritage Site in 1996. The Atomic Bomb Dome, the Atomic Bomb Victims Monument, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall for a deeper understanding of the suffering caused by war and nuclear weapons and the true value of peace.

Basic information about the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall

The Atomic Bomb Dome with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in the distance

① Why did Hiroshima became the target of the atomic bomb?

In order to accurately measure the power of the bomb, the United States selected a potential target city as a city center with a diameter of more than 3 miles (between 4 to 5km). On May 28, bombing of potential US target cities was halted to keep the city intact. On July 25, an order was issued to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, and Nagasaki. One reason for this decision was that American planners believed that no American prisoners of war had been arrested in Hiroshima. The atomic bomb had to be dropped using visual targeting. On August 6, the sky in Hiroshima was clear, so targets were visually identified, and bombs were dropped.

The Atomic Bomb Dome is completely destroyed, but the building shows the cruelty of the explosive waves.

② Why was the Atomic Bomb Dome not completely destroyed while so close to the ground ?

The atomic bomb exploded at a height of 600 meters and 160 meters southeast of the Atomic Bomb Dome. At the time, the building was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. At the moment of the explosion, the explosion applied a pressure of 35 tons per square meter, causing a violent wind speed of 440 meters per second. The building was engulfed in flames by a powerful explosion and absorbing heat. Interestingly, because the impact of the explosion came almost overhead. The outer wall and steel dome were not completely destroyed. However, the people inside at that time died immediately, and the interior of the building was completely engulfed in fire.

The recent repair of the Atomic Bomb Dome was completed in 2016.

③ What are the challenges of preserving the Atomic Bomb Dome for future generations?

Unlike other heritage buildings, the atomic bomb dome must remain in the exact state of destruction caused by the bomb. This is important for understanding its relevance and importance as a World Heritage Site. However, recent efforts to combat deterioration and make the site earthquake-resistant show that the best way to maintain the original building for years to come will be a challenge. This challenge to protect the dome carefully using the best methods and techniques for site conservation is essential for future generations.

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Valuable buildings have been left to remind the world of what happened here and to pursue world peace.

① Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall (Atomic Bomb Dome)

At that time, the atrium of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Development Center was located just below the center of the bomb. The building suffered heavy damage, but it was possible to avoid complete destruction.

The turning point to preserve the atomic bomb dome in its current state was the heartbreaking diary of a female student called Hiroko Kajiyama. Hiroko died of leukemia at the age of 16 due to exposure to the bomb's radiation as a toddler. It serves as a reminder of strength and immense suffering, symbolizes the struggle to rid the world of nuclear weapons and bring world peace.

The radiation symbol is embossed at the point where the wooden beam hits the bell.

② Peace Bell

It was installed to abolish nuclear weapons and bring peace to the world. A borderless world map created by Masahiko Katori, a professional bell caster and national treasure, is displayed on the surface of the bell to symbolize one unified world. People can hit the bell freely, so take the opportunity to do so while praying for world peace.

It was built to commemorate the lives of young people lost to the atomic bomb.

③ Children's Peace Monument

The monument was built to commemorate Sadako Sasaki and the thousands of innocent children who died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Sadako Sasaki was a young girl who died of leukemia 10 years later after being exposed to the radiation of the explosion when she was two years old. Sadako, who continued to fold paper cranes due to her long illness, carried a wire crane over her head. It can be seen from the top of the monument holding it. Even today, folded paper cranes symbolizing the pursuit of peace arrive at monuments around the world.


④ The Flame of Peace 

The flame, which was lit on August 1, 1964 in the hope of a world without nuclear weapons, will continue to burn until nuclear weapons are abolished around the world. The pedestal is designed with the image of two hands pressed together with palms facing the sky.


⑤ Monument to the Victims of the Atomic Bomb

Officially named the “Hiroshima Monument to the City of Peace”, it is more commonly known as the Monument to the Atomic Bomb Victims. The names of all those who lost their lives, regardless of nationality, are inscribed in a central stone vault.

Every year a new names are added to the list. The monument was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kenzo Tange.

It was built for the pursuit of world peace and a world without nuclear weapons.

⑥ Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall (Overview)

The museum was opened in 1955 to inform the world about the reality of the atomic bomb and to advocate for world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. Divided into the east building and main building, the museum exhibits belongings, photographs, and other documents of the bomb victims. It also describes the situation in Hiroshima and other regions that led to the bombing, as well as a detailed description of the bombing itself.

Read memoirs of survivors who experienced the bomb to gain a deeper understanding.

⑦ Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall

A building that mourns the victims of the atomic bomb and prays for eternal peace. The structure in the center indicates the exact time of the bomb explosion (8:15 a.m.). Memoirs of survivors and portraits of victims are displayed inside the memorial.

Other buildings related to the bombing

Of all the people in this building at the time, there was only one person in the basement at the time.

① The Rest House

Before the bombing, the building was a shop selling kimono fabric. The first floor of the building is now a tourist information center, rest area, and gift shop. The basement was kept as if it were after the bomb. Register at the reception to explore the basement. Rest area is free to use.

Phoenix trees are still carefully cared forthe appearance of green shoots every spring.

② Phoenix Tree

Close to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, there is a "phoenix" tree that withstood the atomic bomb stands on the north side of the East Building. Seedlings grown from seeds harvested from trees have been distributed and cultivated in Japan and around the world as part of Hiroshima City's peace promotion activities. The project is known as the “Second Generation Bombing Phoenix Tree”.

The actual center is located slightly southeast of the bridge.

③ Aioi Bridge

This bridge, which crosses the point where the Otagawa River and Motoyasu River diverge, is one of the bridges connecting the Atomic Bomb Dome to the Peace Park. It is easy to spot and locate in the air, and the bridge is thought to have been used to target atomic bombs. When the bomb exploded, a crowd of people on or around the bridge died immediately. River lanterns are light up every 6 of August to mourn the victims of the bombing.

The view from the “Hiroshima Hill” observation deck on the top floor.You can see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and other tourist attractions from above.

④ Hiroshima Orizuru Tower

The Orizuru Tower, named after the famous paper crane, which is a symbol of peace, is located on the east side of the Atomic Bomb Dome, a World Heritage Site.

From the rooftop observatory, you can get a panoramic view of Hiroshima city, and if the weather is nice, you can even see Miyajima.
In one section, you can learn about the changes in the cityscape of Hiroshima before and after the bombing, and still instill the importance of hope and peace today.

On the first floor, there are cafes and shops selling Hiroshima specialties, making it an ideal place for shopping or relaxing.

Reference document “Let's go to the World Heritage Site” (Gakken Publishing) (sekai isan ni ikou)
Reference website “weblio Dictionary” (weblio) “World Heritages Online Guide” (sekai isan online guide) “Travel Book”

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