Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima

Peace Memorial Museum


If you enter Peace Park from where the A-Bomb dome is situated, and walk through the park, at the other end you will find the Peace Memorial Museum. It was established in 1955 and parts of it were remodelled in the 1990s.

Peace Memorial Museum.

The museum holds various artefacts from the bombing of Hiroshima and the aftermath, it begins with models of what Hiroshima looked like the day before the bombing and then another model of just after the bombing.

The tear dropped shaped land between the rivers is where Peace Park is now located. The whole area had buildings crowded close together with narrow lanes, the day of the bombing there were junior high school students working in those lanes to clear fire breaks. The students all died. The t-shaped bridge (at the top of the picture) which was the original target the pilots looked for can be seen. On the right by the river bridge is the Industrial Promotions building with the dome that wasn't totally destroyed. The hyocentre (where the bomb actually exploded) is just over the bridge on the right.

After the bomb exploded all that remains are the remnants of a few buildings, the Industrial Promotions building is still standing on the right.

When I first visited the museum there was just one display with some of Sadako Sasaki's cranes, her family has since donated some more of her belongings so the display is bigger now.

A display of some of her cranes.

Her kokeshi dolls that were given to her when she was in hospital.

Some really tiny cranes she made, she folded them by using a pin to fold the paper. Fingers were too big!

This is part of an external wall, the black lines running down it are the 'black rain' that fell on the people after the explosion. I had to research exactly what the 'black rain' was, the explosion released isotopes that went high up in the atmosphere and that mixed with heat and thermal currents from the firestorms. That led to rain which mixed with the carbon (so it became black) from the fires on the way down and 30 to 40 minutes after the explosion this black rain arrived. As dark, sticky, radioactive water which stained clothing and buildings, contaminated the ground water and when ingested by breathing or drinking and eating from the contaminated water it led to radiation poisoning. There's quite a powerful documentary called "Black rain" that shows the aftermath of the bomb.

Hiroshima Peace Park and the Peace Museum are poignant sites to visit. The museum in particular as it was pointed out to me shows how many children and young people were killed or affected by the radiation. Many of the exhibits relate to children, Sadako's cranes, a lunchbox belonging to a student but no remains of that student was ever found, a child's tricycle all can be seen in the museum.

I've been to Nagasaki as well, the memorial park and the museum there are much smaller, and tends to have fewer visitors. Nagasaki isn't on the shinkansen line (the bullet train) so it does take longer to get there. Still worth seeing for anyone who is in Japan for an extended holiday.