Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima

Travel period Jan 2013

Stands as A Reminder of War’s Devastation

Visiting Hiroshima was strange, it was bizarre to realize that in this very city where an atomic bomb, dropped by the Enola Gay (B-29 Superfortress) on 6th August 1945, devastated the city and created so much human suffering.

Atomic Bomb Dome in the background.

Before the atomic bomb was dropped, destroying Hiroshima, the A-bomb Dome building was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. It was first completed by a Czech architect named Jan Letzel, who had moved to Japan from Prague in 1907.

Letzel’s creation opened to the public on 5th August 1915. The three-story brick building crowned by a copper covered dome that stood some 24 metres high, was primarily used for arts and educational exhibitions.

The 1st September 1923 Kanto earthquake caused Letzel to move back to his hometown, but he would soon pass away in 1925.

Chilling the longer one looks at it, the round and naked dome seems to have moved past any sense of shame.

A Brief History of Hiroshima

The Atomic Bomb Dome remained almost as it was just after it was severely damaged and burnt, caused by the first atomic bomb detonated on 6th August 1945.

The blast exerted 35 tons of pressure per square meter and created a fierce wind speed of 440 meters per second (almost 1,000 mph). The building absorbed the powerful explosion and heat, then burst into flames.

Collapsed walls and bare iron frame.

At the epicentre people were killed instantly. Further away there were survivors, but many of these people died within a few days, victims of  radiation sickness. Those people who lived on the outskirts of Hiroshima survived the bombing, but many of them were afflicted with cancer and other medical problems in later years.

Although it’s located at the epicentre of the devastation from the atomic bomb, the dome is believed to have survived to the extent it has, because the bomb detonated directly overhead.

We have seen Atomic Bomb Dome many times on TV. However, this was thought provoking when we saw it in front of our eyes.

The bombed structure conveyed the cruelty of nuclear weapons while being preserved as a peace monument. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. the A-Bomb Dome is a tangible link to Hiroshima’s unique past.

We saw many fascinating sites on our visit to Japan, however our visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with the A-Bomb Dome was such a sobering reminder of the past.

Every year on the anniversary of the bomb, a ceremony is held at the park; speeches are made, wreathes are laid at the Cenotaph, and a moment of silence is observed at 8:15 am, the precise moment of detonation.

Getting to The Atomic Bomb Dome:

From Hiroshima Station, take tram line 2 or 6 to the Genbaku-Domu Mae stop (15 minutes, 190 yen one-way).

Alternatively, the Peace Memorial Park is served by all three lines of the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus (Meipuru-pu) which serve all of central Hiroshima’s major sightseeing attractions. The buses are covered by Japan Rail Pass and several regional JR passes. Travelers without a rail pass pay 200 yen per ride or 400 yen for a 1-day pass.

Admission is FREE!

Note: The information provided in this post was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service.

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