advertisement

Visiting this museum, with English-language displays, is by far the most important thing to do in Peace Park. Upon entering, guests circle an empty, glass-dome foyer via a spiraling ramp -- bringing to mind, perhaps, the atomic mushroom cloud? This is followed by photographs of the city as it looked before the bomb, accompanied by the ominous, loud ticking of a clock. Displays illustrate events leading up to the bombing, the devastation afterward, Nagasaki's postwar restoration, the history of nuclear weapons, and the subsequent peace movement. Objects, photos, and artifacts graphically depict the bomb's devastation, including a clock stopped precisely at 11:02am, personal belongings ranging from mangled spectacles to a student's singed trousers, hand bones encased in a clump of melted glass, and photographs of victims, including a dead mother and her baby and a 14-year-old whose face has been hideously burned. On video, survivors describe their personal experiences on that fateful day. The adjoining Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims contains a Remembrance Hall, with portraits of those who lost their lives. The museum is by no means pleasant, but something every concerned individual should see. Plan on at least an hour here, more if you opt for the ¥150 audio guide. (If you've already seen the far more comprehensive Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, this one will be largely repetitive.)