After visiting the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, I made my way outside into the grey and drizzly Autumn day to explore ground zero. At 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, the ‘Fat Man’ atomic bomb detonated 500 meters above ground in this area.
Over the years, the museum was built nearby along with two parks in remembrance of the victims: the Hypocenter Park and the Nagasaki Peace Park.
From the museum, I followed the signs downhill to reach the Hypocenter Park first. As its name would suggest, this is the location of the bomb detonation. At the time, everything within a 2.5km radius was destroyed in the 3,000ºC heat and it was thought that plants wouldn’t grow until the year 2020.
Amazingly, this wasn’t the case and the area is now lush with trees that began growing months after the blast. Like phoenixes from the ashes, they are a symbol of hope and regeneration. This area is particularly striking in spring when the 500 cherry blossom trees burst into a soft pink haze.
The circular park contains a 50th Anniversary Memorial Monument, some relocated ruins of the Urakami Cathedral and the large Hypocenter Cenotaph unveiled in 1952.
This is the place to pray for the souls of the victims, whose names are enshrined in the box before it. When I was there, I witnessed a beautiful moment where somebody stood praying for a minute or so, the park almost to themselves.
(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on December 16, 2020. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook.)
Author: Team JJ