The time is 8:15 in the morning. The same chime rings every morning from the Clock Tower of Peace at the exact time when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima. It was originally aimed at a T-shaped bridge over the Kyūootagawa river right by the park but the wind altered its course and it fell in front of the park and turned the entire area into a fiery wasteland.

The first thing you will learn if you visit the area is what happened after the bombing. After the war, this neighborhood became the epicenter of advocating for world peace. In addition to memorials and the clock tower built on the burnt field, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was founded as well. The former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Center, where businessmen had their war of words, is now known as the Genbaku Dome, symbolically demonstrating the gruesome history of war. But what we want you to know in this guide is that there was indeed a town here in the bombing area before the bomb fell. To know that is to know war and peace. We asked a few questions to the curator of the newly renovated Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Mr. Ochiba.

During the renovation, some of the exhibits were replaced. While previously the aim was to educate about how impactful and devastating the damage from a nuclear bomb could be, they have now shifted to focusing on the lives of the people who survived the attack. In each story, we see the suffering of the people whose lives were altered by this event and their ordinary lives before that.

This area used to be called "Nakajima" and was a residential neighborhood. Thanks to the Saigoku Road and the Kyūootagawa River that flows beside Hiroshima Castle, many hotels were built, and the town served as a water transportation hub. Many stores lined up to trade for goods brought by ship, and the town had been one of the most prosperous in Hiroshima until they built a railway in the Taisho era. The Genbaku Dome, as it’s currently known, used to be the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Center, hosting various industrial exhibitions.

As you walk down the streets of Hiroshima, listening to the stories, you’ll notice that the connection between the castle and the waterway influenced the people of Hiroshima’s way of life. Nakajima was also a lively town full of merchants. A nuclear bomb and war wiped out that liveliness.

If you climb up the Orizuru Tower near the Peace Memorial Park, you can get a birds-eye view of the city. The sandbank that must have been filled with merchants, the river that would have been bustling with cruising ships, and the T-shaped bridge that served as a target for the bomb are all visible from here. There was life here. Inside the Museum, and the Orizuru Tower, some documents and photos tell the town's history. We'd like you to know that there was a town here before it got all reset. Knowing the past is the best way to realize how peaceful it is now.

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