Japan 2024: Hiroshima

The last place we visited during our stay in Japan was Hiroshima. Taking the Shinkansen, it took us about 2 hours from Osaka, and we stayed in Hiroshima for one night. It's true that Hiroshima itself is not very big and there is not much to see besides the Atomic bombing memorials, but overall I would definitely recommend it!

Around Hiroshima, there are some more things to see that we didn't have time for in the end, such as the Itsukushima Shrine, which is located on the shores of Miyajima, not too far from Hiroshima. As well as some smaller islands & hikes/nature around the area.

One of the only buildings that was left standing after the Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, was what is now called "the Atomic Bomb Dome." While most structures at the time were wooden, this building was made of stone, mortar, steel, and copper. Back then, it was famous for being so unique and prestigious.

The Atomic Bomb Dome was built in 1915 as a facility to exhibit and sell products from Hiroshima prefecture. It also held Hiroshima prefectural art exhibitions. At the beginning of its establishment, it was called “Hiroshima Prefectural Products Display Hall,” but later it was renamed “Hiroshima Prefectural Product Display Center” and “Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.”

The first atomic bomb in human history exploded at an altitude of about 160 meters southeast of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall and about 600 meters from it. The pressure of the blast was 35 tons per square meter and the wind speed was 440 meters per second. The building was wrecked by the blast and heat rays and burned down by the ensuing fire. Since the blast worked almost vertically, the central part of the main building miraculously escaped collapse, but everyone who was in the building died instantly. After the war, the remnants of the former Industrial Promotion Hall came to be called the Atomic Bomb Dome by citizens due to the shape of the top canal and steel frame.

Near the Hiroshima Castle, which was largely destroyed by the bombing, there is a tree left standing that survived the bombing - a "Hibaku Jumoku" (survivor tree). This weeping willow is the closest tree to the hypocenter (370m) that survived the blast.

Today in Hiroshima, there is nothing besides the peace memorials that would indicate the city was once wiped away by an atomic bomb, just 80 years ago. Overall, I found it very impressive and humbling to see and walk around the city now.

PS: while you're in Hiroshima I would definitely recommend the traditional okonomiyaki, but don't go to that 1 building with 20 okonomiyaki restaurants in it, there are literally only tourists inside. Instead go to this place across the road called "Shintenchi Mitchan", it's authentic & super delicious! We spent about 2000¥ a person (iirc).