The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is located at the fork of the Honkawa and Motoyasu rivers right next to the city centre and is the spot known as the hypocenter for the world first atomic bomb to be used against an enemy.
Previously an urban district called Nakajima at the time of the atomic bombing, about 6,500 people lived in the area when the suburb vanished from the face of the earth on August 6 1945.
When Hiroshima was rebuilt the area was transformed into a 122,100 square meter park housing several monuments and museums. The park centres around the Pond of Peace, Peace Flame and the Memorial Cenotaph. These monuments are in the direct line of site from the Peace Memorial Museum to the building now known as the A-Bomb Dome.
The A-Bomb Dome was built in 1915 as the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall but later changed its name to the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. The atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 is said to have exploded directly above this building and amazingly unlike nearly every other building in the area that was reduced to nothing this buildings walls remained intact and remains as it did in 1945 and is currently on the world heritage list.
Another building that survived in the park is the rest house that was built as a kimono shop in 1929. Much of its interior was burnt out on the day of the bomb but was restored for its current use when the park was created.
As well as several other monuments to the bombing victims two museums known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall are situated in the park and are the most popular museums in Hiroshima. The museums show what Hiroshima was like before and after the bombing as well as display artefacts that were found in the ruins of the city. The Museums also serve as a reminder of Hiroshima’s wish of the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The Peace Flame that can be seen from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was lit in 1964 and will not be put out until all nuclear weapons on earth are destroyed.
The peace park is located a short walk across the river from Hiroshima city and is a must see spot for any one visiting Hiroshima.