While most of the people correlate the city of Hiroshima to the tragic nuclear attack during the second world war, Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Koen is now touted as a global symbol and heritage for peace and pacifism.
The ground zero of the blast has completely metamorphosed from a scorched, lifeless place into a serene park, dignifying the victims of the dark days of August, 70 years ago.
Between the Honkawa and Motoyasu rivers are the sections of Hiroshima Peace Park that contains the memoirs of the last world war.
The Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome), the epicenter of the air strike, is one of the constant reminders of the dreadful day August 6, 1945. At the merging of the two rivers stands the former Industrial Promotional Hall, which was the only structure survived, and looks almost exactly as it was after being directly hit by the explosive.
Near the northern entrance sits the Peace bell, which you can sound as symbol of peace. Few steps away the Peace bell is a Memorial Mound, which serves as a big urn that holds the ashes of victims.
The Children's Peace Monument is another site dedicated to the children who died in Hiroshima bombing. A statue of a young girl lifting a huge paper crane signifies longevity and happiness. Just across is the Flame of peace that will continuously burn, as long as nuclear weapons exist.
The Memorial Cenotaph, a Shinto-style arched tomb, contains all the known names of the deceased victims. And last, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which is dedicated to educate the people about the atomic bomb to avoid repeating the dreadful history.
Near the park are Hiroshima's children and contemporary art museums and the timeless Hiroshima castle.
Hiroshima can be best reached by Bullet Train. Tokyo and Hiroshima stations are linked by the the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen (4-5 hours). From Hiroshima station, you could take a taxi, or a JR operated bus trip called Maple-oop, which connects Hiroshima Station to areas Shukkeien, Hiroshima castle, and peace Memorial Park.
A 12-hour direct overnight trip from Hiroshima to Tokyo can be availed through Willer Express, which costs around 6,000 (discounted fare) to 11,900 Yen.
Tourists can also travel by air from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima Airport with a flight duration of 90 minutes. From there, getting to the city is a 50-minute bus ride to JR Hiroshima Station or Hiroshima Bus Station.
For first timers, taking local trains and trams are not suggested, as it would take 15 hours and six transfers of trains.
The museum is open from 8:30 to 18:00 (closing varies, until 19:00 in August, and 17:00 from December to February.) Take note of 50 Yen entrance fee, and admission ends 30 minutes before the closing time.
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