At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima City. Most of the area was destroyed instantly, and many people lost their lives. The Peace Memorial Park was built near the epicenter of the atomic bomb blast, as a memorial to the victims and with the hope for lasting peace in the world. The expansive and lush green park grounds contain numerous facilities and monuments, which have been built with wishes and hope for peace. Within the park is the Atomic Bomb Dome, which has remained unchanged since the bombing. It was registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1996, as a reminder of the horrors of war and nuclear weapons. The Atomic Bomb Dome has become a global symbol of the importance of peace, and a plea to the world that the devastating bombing of Hiroshima never happens again.
The Peace Memorial Museum was opened in 1955, with the aim of bringing the world closer to abolishing nuclear weapons and realizing lasting peace. The numerous exhibitions convey the tragedy and devastation of the atomic bombing, by displaying the personal belongings of victims, pictures, documents and other items. Visitors to the Museum can also see exhibitions showing the history of Hiroshima before and after the atomic bombing, listen to survivors retell their experiences of the bombing, and borrow materials to learn more about peace. Some of the many other monuments and statues in the park include the Atomic Bomb Victims Memorial Cenotaph, Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims, Peace Flame, and the Children’s Peace Monument. The sound of the Peace Bell, which rings with wishes and hope for peace, was selected in 1996 by the then Environment Agency (now the Ministry of the Environment) as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan.