Hiroshima Peace Memorial Atomic Bomb Dome

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Atomic Bomb Dome

A symbol of Hiroshima and a focus for prayers for world peace.

At 8:15am on 6th August 1945, the first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima. Although, the Atomic Bomb Dome was located almost directly underneath the explosion, it somehow avoided complete destruction and the remains of the building still stand today. The residents of Hiroshima decided to keep this tragic reminder of war intact. The site was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996. Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to gain a deeper understanding of the suffering caused by war and nuclear weapons and the true value of peace.

Basic Information about the Hiroshima Peace Memorial

The Atomic Bomb Dome with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
in the distance

01

Why was Hiroshima chosen
as a target for the
atomic bomb?

In order for the United States to accurately measure the power of the bomb, potential target cities were selected with an urban center measuring more than three miles in diameter. On 28th May, US bombing of potential target cities was halted to keep cities intact for the atomic bomb. On 25th July, the order was given that an atomic bomb would be dropped on Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, or Nagasaki. On 2nd August, it was decided that Hiroshima would be the designated target. One reason for the decision was the US planners believed no American prisoners of war were being held in Hiroshima. The atomic bomb was to be dropped using visual targeting. On 6th August, the skies over Hiroshima were clear, the target was confirmed visually and the bomb was dropped.

Although the Atomic Bomb Dome survived complete destruction,
the building shows the ferocity of the blast wave

02

Why was the Atomic
Bomb Dome notcompletely
destroyed seeing as it was
so close to the hypocenter?

The atomic bomb exploded at a height of 600 meters, 160 meters to the southeast of the Atomic Bomb Dome. At the time, the building was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. At the moment of detonation, the blast exerted 35 tons of pressure per square meter and created a fierce wind speed of 440 meters per second. The building absorbed the powerful explosion and heat, and burst into flames. Because the impact of the blast came almost directly overhead, curiously the thick outer walls and the steel dome escaped complete destruction. However, the people who were inside at the time died instantly and the interior of the building was completely gutted by fire. Although the exact time is unknown, the building with its exposed steel dome began to be referred to as the "Atomic Bomb Dome".

Recent repairs to the Atomic Bomb Dome were completed in 2016

03

What are the challenges to
preserve the
Atomic Bomb Dome
for future generations?

In contrast to other cultural heritage buildings, the Atomic Bomb Dome must be maintained in the exact state of destruction caused by the bomb. This is critical to understanding its relevance and importance as a World Heritage Site. However, recent efforts to combat deterioration and make the site earthquake resistant illustrate that the challenge ahead will be how to best maintain the original building in the years to come. Carefully employing methods and technology best suited for the site's preservation will be essential to safeguard the dome for future generations.

Suggested Walks

A precious building left to remind the world of what happened here and push
for world peace

01

Hiroshima Peace Memorial
(Atomic Bomb Dome)

The atrium of the then Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was almost directly below the hypocenter of the bomb. Although the building sustained heavy damage, it managed to escape complete destruction. It was the heartbreaking diary of a schoolgirl Hiroko Kajiyama that led to the decision to preserve the Atomic Bomb Dome in its current state. Hiroko had been exposed to the radiation from the bomb as an infant and subsequently died from leukemia at the age of 16. The dome acts as a reminder of the force and untold suffering caused by the bomb, while continuing to symbolize the fight to rid the world of nuclear weapons and bring about world peace.

A radiation symbol is embossed on the spot where the wooden beam hits
the bell

02

The Peace Bell

This was installed with the aim of abolishing nuclear weapons and bringing about world peace. Cast by expert bell-caster and national treasure Masahiko Katori, a world map without national borders is on the surface of the bell to symbolize a single, unified world. People are free to strike the bell, so please take the opportunity to do so with a prayer for world peace.

Built as a memorial to the young lives lost to the atomic bomb.

03

Children's Peace
Monument

This monument was built to commemorate Sadako Sasaki and the thousands of other innocent children who died due to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Sadako Sasaki was a young girl who was exposed to the radiation of the blast at the age of two and died ten years later from leukemia. Sadako, who continued to fold paper cranes throughout her long illness, can be seen at the top of the monument holding a wire crane above her head. Even today, folded paper cranes symbolizing the pursuit of peace arrive at the monument from all over the world.

Hope and pray the flame will go out soon

04

Flame of Peace

Lit on 1st August 1964 in hope of a world without nuclear weapons, the flame will continue to burn until nuclear weapons are abolished worldwide. The pedestal was designed in the image of two hands pressed together with the palms facing the sky.

The central stone chest holds more than 290,000 names of those
who lost their lives to the bomb

05

Cenotaph for
Atomic Bomb Victims

Officially named the 'Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace', it is more commonly known as the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims. The names of all those who lost their lives are inscribed inside the central stone vault regardless of nationality. Every year, new names are discovered and added to the list. The cenotaph was designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Kenzo Tange.

Built in the pursuit of world peace and a world without nuclear weapons.

06

Hiroshima Peace
Memorial Museum
(Overview)

The museum was opened in 1955 with the aim of conveying to the world the realities of the atomic bomb and advocate world peace and the abolishment of nuclear weapons. Divided into the East Building and the Main Building, the museum displays possessions from the victims of the bomb, photographs and other documentation. It also explains the circumstances in Hiroshima and elsewhere that led to the bombing along with a detailed explanation of the bombing itself.

Gain a deeper understanding by reading the memoirs of survivors
who experienced the bomb

07

Hiroshima National Peace
Memorial Hall

A building to mourn the victims of the atomic bomb and pray for a lasting peace. The structure in the center indicates the exact time of the bomb detonation - 8:15am. Memoirs from survivors and portraits of the victims are displayed inside the memorial hall.

Other Buildings Connected to the Bombing

Of all the people inside this building at the time, only one person survived
who was in the basement at the time.

01

The Rest House

Before the bombing, this building was a shop selling kimono fabrics. The ground floor of this building is now a tourist information area, rest area and a gift shop. The basement has been kept as it was after the bomb. Register on the ground floor for tours of the basement. Feel free to use the rest area free of charge.

The Phoenix Trees are still being carefully cared for.
Green shoots appear every spring.

02

Phoenix Trees

Just to the north of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum East Building, stand the Phoenix Trees that withstood the atomic bombing. Saplings grown from seeds taken from the trees have been distributed and grown across Japan and the rest of the world as part of the Hiroshima City's activities to promote peace. The project is known as the "Second Generation of Bombed Phoenix Trees".

The actual hypocenter is slightly southeast of the bridge

03

Aioi Bridge

Stretching across the point where the Ōta River and the Motoyasu River branch off, it is one of the bridges that connect the Atomic Bomb Dome to the Peace Park. Easy to spot and locate from the air, it is thought the bridge was used for targeting the atomic bomb. When the bomb detonated, the crowds of people who were either on, or around the bridge were killed instantly. The releasing of the river lanterns to mourn the victims of the bombing happens every year on 6th August on the Motoyasu River.

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Photo Courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture
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