Japan Travel Destinations: Hiroshima Peace Museum

The Peace Museum in Hiroshima, dedicated to the promise of peace that Japan made after the devastation of World War II, is a beautiful park and museum that serves as a reminder of the horrible deaths that Hiroshima residents experienced in the nuclear bombings. The Peace Museum is also a reminder of the beautiful war-free history that Japan has preserved since that terrible experience.

The Museum

There are two main areas of the museum. The East building contains information about Hiroshima before the attack, the attack and atom bomb itself, and the strive toward peace after the nuclear demolition. The main building is dedicated to what survived the attack - both artifacts and people. Survivors of the Hiroshima bombing drew and painted numerous pieces depicting their experiences on August 6, 1945 that are now displayed with captions telling their memories of that day. Special exhibits also alternate throughout the year.

The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the rest of the year (except August when it closes at 7 p.m.). Admission ends half an hour before closing time. Check the website ( http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/top_e.html ) for holiday hours.

The Park

At one end of the long park are the very tall "Gates of Peace" that contain the word "peace" in a myriad of languages. Continue from there to the large "Fountain of Prayer" that is constantly shifting and stands in front of the museum. Beyond the museum are several rectangular pools and a monument with an eternal flame dedicated to the victims. The magnificent Ota River marks the outer boundary of these pools. Across the Ota River stands the one building that survived the bombing, now known as the A-Bomb Dome. Every year on August 6, a ceremony is held at the A-bomb Dome to commemorate those who suffered. Throughout the park there are many memorials and monuments to individuals and groups affected by the bombing.

In the spring, the park in Hiroshima comes alive with cherry blossoms, and the A-Bomb Dome is surrounded by cherry trees, their blossom reflecting on the Ota River, giving visitors a bitter-sweet and serene atmosphere for some reflection of their own. It is a beautiful park that has sprung from the ashes of a now buoyant city, and a beautiful endeavor for peace that has sprung from the ashes of a shattering war.

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