Every middle school student is aware of the tragic history of Hiroshima, Japan and its place in world history. It was the first (and only one of two) city to ever face a nuclear attack in the world. But the city’s history, people and sites are far more than its unfortunate distinction. It is a beautiful metropolis of beautiful people, monuments and architecture in Asia. Here’s an abbreviated list of some places you may wish to see if you are ever fortunate enough to visit this beautiful city.
1. The area that encompasses Peace Memorial Park was once the political and commercial heart of Hiroshima. Because of this it was ground zero for the atomic bomb drop that leveled everything within a two-square mile radius during World War II. Today, Peace Memorial Park is the most visited locations in the city. The park covers over 120,000 square meters and features beautifully manicured lawns, trees and walking paths. Four years after that fateful day, as Hiroshima was being reconstructed, it was decided that ground zero would be rebuilt in a similar manner as the rest of the city. It would be dedicated to monuments of peace. The Peace Memorial Museum, the A-Bomb Dome, and the Cenotaph are featured prominently within the park.
2. Peace Memorial Museum consists of two buildings and documents the history of Hiroshima and the creation of the atomic bomb. It is the center point for August 6th activities commemorating the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Some of the exhibits document human suffering on a scale that remains unmatched to this day.
3. If you would like to take a walk 17th century feudal Japan look no further than Shukkei-en Garden. This miniature landscape garden was restored after its destruction in during World War II.
4. Car enthusiasts might want to swing over to the Mazda Museum. Founded in 1920, MazdaMotor Corporation Headquarters is a prominent feature in the history, economy and society of Hiroshima. But if you really want to take a trip back in time then you should take a guided tour of the Mazda Museum. Though not as large as Toyota, Mazda has been on the cutting edge of Japan automotive manufacturing almost since its incorporation. The company became the first and only company to win the prestigious Le Mans Grand Prix in 1991. Reservations for the 90 minute tour can be made up to a year in advance and offers insight into the company’s history, the technology its autos incorporate and future automotive development.
5. Hiroshima Castle (also called Carp Castle) is one of the most prominent pieces of architecture in the city. Built by feudal lord Mori Terumoto in 1589, Hiroshima castle was once the physical and economic epicenter of the city and an important power base in Western Japan. The main keep is five stories tall and the grounds are encapsulated by a moat. Like most of the city, Hiroshima Castle was destroyed in 1945 but was later rebuilt.