Hiroshima and the A-bomb

There’s no way around it; Hiroshima is synonymous with the atomic bomb.

The overnight bus from Kyoto to Hiroshima is 8 hours of hell but then you do get this little hood so you know it’s not all bad
This is the “A-Bomb Dome”. It was close, only 160 m, to the point directly below the explosion, or hypocentre as it’s called, of ‘Little Boy’
This is a model in the Peace museum of the aftermath. The ball shows the point of the atomic explosion. It was an airburst approx. 600 m above the ground in order to maximise damage. Practically everything in a 2 km radius was destroyed. Chillingly Hiroshima and several other cities were spared the firebombing that destroyed 67 other Japanese cities (killing an estimated 330,000 people) so that the effects of the atomic bomb could be better determined
The blast happened at 8.15am
This is a note written by Barack Obama on his recent visit to Hiroshima. The significance of the paper crane is that Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese schoolgirl who thought if she made 1000 paper cranes that, according to forklore, so would be cured of her leukaemia (caused by radiation exposure). She never finished the 1000 but her classmates did for her. Now it’s a symbolic gesture that school children from all over the world make and send them to Hiroshima
This is the Peace Memorial Park
The A-Bomb Dome has been maintained as a memorial. Clearly Hiroshima will always have an infamous position in history. Just some facts: the atomic bomb attacks were not as destructive as conventional firebombing. An estimated 100,000 were killed in a single raid on Tokyo in March 1945. The (immediate) death toll and destruction was greater than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined
I found it was haunting at night. A grim reminder of what happened in the city
However outside the Peace Park I found there wasn’t much to distinguish Hiroshima from any other normal, modern city. Although when I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art I still found signs of the horrific past
As a counterbalance I loved this beautiful portrait
The painting is made up of thousands of coloured fingerprints. That’s taking children’s art to another level entirely. The artist is called Chuck Close
A fantastic local dish is made right in front of you by this guy, let’s call him Dave. Dave fries noodles and adds any topping you like, bacon and vegetables in this case, capped with a fried egg and some nice sauce
“Theo and Leo devour delicious okonomiyaki in Hiroshima” it’s almost like a tongue twister
This is Hiroshima castle
Obviously this is a reconstruction. The original was obliterated

Next up: The Incredible Colours of The Japanese Alps


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