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Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park

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    Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park is a somber reminder of the cruelty of war and the tragedies it leaves behind.

    Peace Statue by Seibo Kitamura

    On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki experienced one of the most devastating events in human history when an atomic bomb exploded above its sky. 150,000 people were killed or wounded. The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki Peace Park, and Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall were built to commemorate this tragic event.

    It was a difficult and emotional visit for our family to the Atomic Bomb Museum and the surrounding parks. Nevertheless, it’s important to educate our children so they learn the paramount need for world peace. Our family had previously visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

    gold peace memorial Statue in Memory of Schoolchildren and Teachers

    Where is Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

    Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park are located slightly north of downtown Nagasaki. It takes 12 min on the train or 7 min by car from Nagasaki Station.

    The museum is located very close to where the atomic bomb exploded (marked by a cenotaph).

    Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

    The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum is a fairly recent construction and it was built in 1996. Before the museum, the artifacts were exhibited in Nagasaki International Culture Hall. The exhibits in the museum are separated into 3 sections:

    1. Reproduction of Damages Caused by the Bombing
    2. Artifacts and history related to the bombing
    3. Nuclear Weapons Free World

    a concrete plaza with glass dome of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum in the back

    You can virtually visit the museum on Google Maps and see the devastating images at Google Arts and Culture. The details of the exhibits are available on Nagasaki City website.

    inside Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum building with glass dome ceiling and floating walkway along the wall

    Reproduction of Damages Caused by the Bombing

    One of the first items visitors see when they enter the museum is a broken wall clock that stopped at 11:02 am. That was the moment the bomb exploded above the sky of Nagasaki. The photographs along the wall showed life in Nagasaki before the bomb was dropped.

    broken wall clock in a display case

    image of Nagasaki before atomic bombing
    Nagasaki before the atomic bombing
    video of atomic bomb being dropped and mushroom cloud after
    A video showing the bomb being dropped and detonating

    The first room is designed to give visitors a sense of the widespread destruction in Nagasaki. What it felt like to be in Nagasaki after the bomb exploded. Broken water tanks, ruins from Urakami Cathedral, bent metal beams, and fallen buildings.

    room showing damage caused by the atomic bomb

    room showing damage caused by the atomic bomb with exposed concrete
    Broken building parts
    the crumbling wall of Urakami Cathedral
    Replica of the Urakami Cathedral wall

    Artifacts and History Related to the Atomic Bombing

    The second room starts with a timeline of events that lead to the bombing.

    timeline of atomic bomb being dropped in Nagasaki

    The timeline ends with aerial photos showing Nagasaki 2 days before and 1 month after the event.

    map and aerial images of nagasaki before atomic bomb
    Nagasaki 2 days before the bombing

    The image of Nagasaki 1 month after the bombing shows barren land and the entire area flattened.

    aerial images of nagasaki after atomic bomb
    Mushroom cloud and Nagasaki 1 month after the bombing

    A 3D model next to the timeline shows the area affected by the blast. Since Nagasaki is situated in a valley, the blast effect was more confined than Hiroshima’s.

    light showing atomic bomb blast radius on a 3d model

    A replica of the Fatman bomb and an explanation of how atomic bombs work.

    model of Nagasaki-type atomic bomb: Fat Man on display

    The remainder of the room displayed artifacts melted and destroyed by the explosion and photos around Nagasaki.

    images and items that were damaged by the heat ray on display

    After the bomb exploded, fires ravaged through the city, and one-third of the city was burnt down. Exhibits after exhibits of the widespread death and the city in ruins were difficult to view.

    map of Nagasaki showing extent of the damage caused by the fire

    Nuclear Weapons Free World

    The last part of the museum shares information on the proliferation of nuclear weapons over the past decades. Simply put, there are enough nuclear weapons today to completely wipe out mankind from our planet.

    a large hall with ramp on the left wall lined with exhibits a

    Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims

    Next to the Atomic Museum is Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. It was built in 2003 to commemorate peace and to remember the 70,000+ people who died. The memorial hall is built underground with twelve columns of light that extends above ground.

    a large room with lit up columns and skylight at Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims

    Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park

    Just west of the museum is the Hypocenter Park. The park has a cenotaph that marks the point where the explosion took place 500 meters above.

    statue of praying child on top of the steps
    Statue of the praying child (estimated 10,000 children lost their lives)
    Hypocenter Cenotaph
    Hypocenter Cenotaph

    Hypocenter Cenotaph

    dark statue of mother holding dead baby
    Statue of a mother holding a dead baby with date and time of the bombing

    Nagasaki Peace Park

    The last stop of our visit to the area is Nagasaki Peace Park. It is known for the giant Peace Statue.

    a walkway with fountain at the end

    Nagasaki Peace Park was established in 1955, 10 years after the bombing. On one side of the park is the “Fountain of Peace ” and a paved walkway leads to the Peace Statue on the other end. The fountain was constructed in memory of the victims who were crying for water and eventually succumbed to their injuries.

    walkway with peace statue at the end

    Along the walkway are monuments and statues donated from countries all over the world symbolizing peace, love, and happiness on earth.

    monuments and statues symbolizing peace on pedestal and grass
    Sculptures and monuments donated from around the world
    tree of life sculpture
    Tree of Life
    metal sculpture The Cloak of Peace
    The Cloak of Peace
    Nagasaki Peace Statue by Seibo Kitamura
    Nagasaki Peace Statue by Seibo Kitamura

    You may wonder why the Peace Statue is in this particular pose.

    1. The right-hand points to the sky for the threat of the nuclear weapon
    2. The horizontal left arm represents peace
    3. The right leg is in meditation pose
    4. The left leg representing stand up and help the world
    5. The closed eyes are praying for the victims’ souls

    For other destinations in Nagasaki, please see the travel guide.

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