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Hiroshima

Hiroshima Prefecture, Chugoku Region, Honshu, Japan

 

Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chugoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. When the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the city became known worldwide for this unenviable distinction. The destructive power of the bomb was tremendous and obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius. After the war, it was rebuilt as a "peace memorial city". Destroyed monuments of Hiroshima's historical heritage, like Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden, were reconstructed. In the center of the city a large park was built and given a name that would reflect the aspirations of the re-born city: Peace Memorial Park.

Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome is one of the commonly used names for what is official is known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Domu). Another informal name for the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome is the A-Bomb Dome. Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome is Hiroshima's best-known symbol and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome is located just across the river from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

The A-Bomb Dome is the skeletal ruins of the former Industrial Promotion Hall. It is the building closest to the hypocenter of the nuclear bomb that remained at least partially standing. It was left how it was after the bombing in memory of the casualties. The A-Bomb Dome, to which a sense of sacredness and transcendence has been attributed, is situated in a distant ceremonial view that is visible from the Peace Memorial Park's central cenotaph. It is an officially designated site of memory for the nation's and humanity's collectively shared heritage of catastrophe.

The Children's Peace Monument is a statue dedicated to the memory of the children who died as a result of the bombing. The statue is of a girl with outstretched arms with a folded paper crane rising above her. The statue is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who died from radiation from the bomb. She believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes she would be cured. To this day, people (mostly children) from around the world fold cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed near the statue. The statue has a continuously replenished collection of folded cranes nearby.

The Peace Flame is another monument to the victims of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, but it has an additional symbolic purpose. The flame has burned continuously since it was lit in 1964, and will remain lit until all nuclear bombs on the planet are destroyed and the planet is free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Hiroshima Castle (sometimes called Carp Castle) - a ferroconcrete reconstruction of a 16th-century Japanese castle originally built in 1589 by the powerful feudal lord Mori Terumoto. Although much prettier outside, the inside has some interesting bilingual exhibits on Hiroshima's history, Hiroshima Castle, and Japanese castles in general and, upstairs, some beautiful Japanese swords.

The view from the top is nice, but there are better views to be had in the city. The castle grounds also house a monument to Chinese workers killed by the atomic bomb, which was not allowed into the Memorial Park for political reasons. Hiroshima Castle was an important seat of power in Western Japan. It was spared the destruction that many other castles met during the Meiji Restoration, and survived into the modern era. Unfortunately, like the rest of the city, Hiroshima Castle was destroyed in the atomic bomb blast of August 6, 1945. For many years, it was believed the castle structure was blown away by the explosion that destroyed Hiroshima, but newly discovered evidence suggests the explosion only destroyed the lower pillars of the castle, and the rest of it collapsed as a result. Rebuilt after the war, Hiroshima Castle's wooden exterior makes it a reconstruction with a considerable semblance of authenticity. Hiroshima Castle is five stories tall and its grounds are surrounded by a moat. There is a shrine on the grounds, as well as one main gate. Hiroshima developed as a castle town, whereby the castle was both the physical center of the city and the source of its prosperity.