Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Atomic Bomb Dome & Peace Memorial Park

Speaking of Hiroshima, many associates it with the place of the world that suffered from an atomic bomb attack. In the turbulent world that we live in today, the Atomic Bomb Dome (原爆ドーム), together with the Peace Memorial Park Hiroshima (広島平和記念公園), are the ideal places for us to rethink what we can do to bring peace back to the world.

Atomic Bomb Dome (原爆ドーム)

© Hiroshima Prefecture

Unfortunately, on the 6th of August 1945, Hiroshima became the victim of the first atomic bomb in the world.

Before the bomb was dropped, the European-style building designed by a Czech architect used to be an exhibition hall for Hiroshima’s Prefectural Specialties. It is now a tragic reminder of the destructive capability of nuclear weapons.

After the war, the dome was preserved to commemorate the vow to abolish nuclear weapons and to seek peace. As a result of its historical importance, it was registered as a World Heritage Site in December 1996. Not only is the site a popular destination for Japanese school trips, but it also remains one of the top reasons foreign tourists visit Japan.

If you are wondering why the building is still standing, it is because the bomb exploded around 600 meters above the ground. So the blast created went almost straight down from above. Miraculously, the thick walls and the steel structure did not collapse.

As it is now a World Heritage Site, continuous maintenance has been performed to ensure it still stands hundreds of years later.

Just want to make it clear that the Atomic Bomb Dome wasn’t built as a “dome” originally. It was only until after the war that people started calling it “dome” probably because the dome-shaped roof remained.

How to Get to Atomic Bomb Dome

  • From Hiroshima Station (広島駅), take Hiroshima Dentetsu (広島電鉄) and get off at Genbaku Dome-mae (原爆ドーム前)
    • Refer to the route map HERE.
  • From Hiroshima Station’s Shinkansen Entrance (広島駅新幹線口), you can also take the Loop Bus Hiroshima Meipuru-pu’s (広島市内循環バス めいぷる~ぷ) Orange, Green, Lemon, and Blue Route and get off at Atomic Bomb Dome (原爆ドーム前).
    • Refer HERE for the bus fare, route map, and timetable.
  • If you plan to take regular JR trains, exit from the south exit and take bus services that will stop at Genbaku Dome-mae (原爆ドーム前), Kamiyacho (紙屋町), or Hiroshima Bus Center (広島バスセンター).
    • From Kamiyacho or Hiroshima Bus Center, it is a 5-minute walk from the bus stop.
    • You can check out the timetable HERE.

Aioi Bridge (相生橋)

Just a short walk from the Atomic Bomb Dome towards the river, you will find the monument for the former Aioi Bridge. The T-shaped bridge in front of and on the right of the monument is the new Aioi Bridge, built with concrete with vehicles and trains running above it.


Before the war, the bridge constructed in a rare T-shape should have attracted tourists’ attention, but sadly became the target of the atomic bomb. Although the bomb missed this specific destination by around 300 meters, there was no shortage of destruction.

Peace Bell (平和の鐘)


From the Atomic Bomb Dome, you can cross the Aioi Bridge to get to the peace bell in the Peace Memorial Park. The bell was created with the hope of achieving a peaceful world without war. If you look closely at the bell’s surface, it is curved with a world map without borders.

Also, the striking panel, Tsuki-za (撞座), where the wooden log is hitting, has a nuclear power mark curved with the hope of banning atomic bombs.

Atomic Bomb Memorial Burial Mound (原爆供養塔)

Opposite the peace bell, there is this large burial mound. After the atomic bomb exploded, most things in the area became ashes. The families of those who had passed away couldn’t even find their loved ones’ bodies.

In 1946, from the donations from Hiroshima‘s citizens, temporary memorial towers and worship halls were built across the city.


In 1955, the uncollected remains scattered throughout the city were gathered and stored in the burial mound in the photo. Inside the mound, an ossuary stored around 70,000 remains of those who couldn’t be identified.

Children’s Peace Monument (原爆の子の像)


On top of this tripod is a bronze statue of a girl holding a golden folding crane.

The girl named Sasaki Sadako (佐々木 禎子) was only two years old when the atomic bomb destroyed her city. Fortunately, she survived the war. However, she was diagnosed with leukemia when she was in 6th grade and soon passed away after spending eight months fighting the illness.
Believing that folding a thousand cranes would cure the disease, more than 1,300 cranes were folded by Sadako.

Believing that folding a thousand cranes would cure the disease, more than 1,300 cranes were folded by Sadako.

Inspired by her story, a fundraising event was held to pray for the peace of the children who had passed away due to the atomic bomb attack. This enabled the completion of this statue.

Behind the 9 meters tall statue, the paper cranes folded with the same wish by school students are displayed.

Hiroshima Peace Park Resthouse (広島市平和記念公園レストハウス)

In the peace park, there is a rest house serving as Hiroshima’s tourist information center. They sell Hiroshima’s local specialties and provide a space for relaxation.

If you weren’t told, you probably wouldn’t realize its historical value in relation to the atomic bombing. Before the war, the building was a clothing store called Taishō-ya Gofuku (大正屋呉服店).

The building is around 170 meters from where the bomb exploded. All 36 employees working in the building above the ground were killed. The only person who survived the tragedy was working in the basement.

The basement has been left in a condition reminiscent of how it was after the attack.

If you are interested in seeing it, please talk to the staff at the reception on your arrival.

Hiroshima Victims Memorial Cenotaph (原爆死没者慰霊碑)

After World War Two, Hiroshima City, destroyed by the atomic bomb, was rebuilt as a peaceful city. The Hiroshima Victims Memorial Cenotaph is the place to pray for a peaceful and happy afterlife for those who suffered from the war.

Inside the small stone chamber is a list of the victims of the atomic bombing. The names of the newly identified victims are continuously added as part of the memorial service on the 6th of August each year.

Up until 2012, there were more than 280,000 names inside the cenotaph.


From this dome-like roof, the Flame of Peace (平和の灯) and the Atomic Bomb Dome can be seen in a straight line. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (広島平和記念資料館), just minutes away, reminds us of what Hiroshima was like before the war. Replacing the photos of Hiroshima in a devastated state that was too much for children and students to take in, it is now a place for everyone to learn the importance of peace.

For more information about the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, please refer to the official website HERE.

Another place in the park that you can stop by to learn more about the damage of the atomic bomb is the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims (国立広島原爆死没者追悼平和祈念館). For more information about the memorial hall, please click the official website HERE.

Gates of Peace (平和の門)

© Hiroshima Prefecture

At the south end of Peace Memorial Park – Hiroshima, there are 10 gigantic gates covered by tempered glasses with the word “peace” written all over them in 49 different languages.

These gates, with a height of 9 meters and a width of 2.6 meters, are in a 75-meter line parallel to Peace Boulevard (平和大通り).

The gates were the work of France artist Clara Halter and architect Jean‑Michel Wilmotte made for the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack and were gifted to Hiroshima City.

Gates of Peace was part of the peace project supported by the French Government. Inspired by the Nine Hells in the Divine Comedy written by the Italian poet Dante, nine gates symbolized the unimaginable living hell after the attack.

Although no doors are attached to the gate, walking through the 10 gates represents the hope of surpassing the hell-like history and opening the gate to a peaceful future.

As you try to find the word “peace” in the languages you know, let’s take a moment to reflect on the importance of this word to humankind.

Find out Where Else to Go in Hiroshima City Center

Click the photo to find out more about other attractions close to Hiroshima Peace Park!

Apart from the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Park, a couple of attractions in the city center are worth your time.

To find out what they are and how to get there, please refer to our Hiroshima City article. The article also has information about where to go for cherry blossom and autumn foliage hunting (=゚ω゚)ノ.

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