Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum opened in 1955, and displays both permanent and temporary exhibits. The focus is on educating visitors about the horrors of the bombing of Hiroshima, and of nuclear weapons in general, and to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. The impact of the bombing is shown through displays that include personal items belonging to victims, testimonies of survivors, and photos of the city and of victims—many of which are very graphic. A visit to the museum can be both moving and confronting, as well as educational.
Travelers staying in Hiroshima can easily visit the museum independently, as it is in the center of the city. Many guided tours to the park are available, and are especially convenient if you’re staying in Kyoto or Osaka and just want to visit Hiroshima for the day. Such tours also often include a visit to Miyajima Island, with its famous Itsukushima Shrine.
Things to know before you go
- There’s a small entry fee to the museum.
- Some visitors may find some of the exhibits upsetting; parents of young kids may want to vet what their children see.
- Hiroshima Peace Volunteers offer free guided tours of the museum and the surrounding Peace Memorial Park, subject to minimum numbers.
- Audio guides to the permanent exhibits can be rented.
How to get there
The Peace Memorial Park is in central Hiroshima, so easily accessible from wherever you’re staying. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the Hiroshima Bus Center. From the JR Hiroshima train station, the museum is about a 20-minute bus ride; catch bus number 24 bound for Yoshijima, and get off at Heiwa Kinen Koen.
When to get there
The museum is open throughout the year and hours vary depending on the season. Please note that the museum is closed during some Japanese public holidays.
The second, and final city to experience an atomic bombing was Nagasaki, on Japan’s Kyushu island, three days after Hiroshima. Visitors who have some time to explore the different islands of Japan should consider visiting the pretty city. As well as the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park, the city has some 19th-century European buildings to check out, as the city has a long history of trade with Europe.