More Than Museums During Hiroshima Peace Park VisitDanielle Hoffpauir | Community Writer
“It’s part history tour, part cultural experience,” explained Mikie Watanabe, MCCS cultural adaptation specialist, and leader of this trip.
What exactly does the day entail? Let’s dive into what you can expect on this trip.
The morning begins with everyone arriving at Building 411 at 8:30 AM. Bring some yen with you, as the ¥200 admission fee for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is collected when you arrive. The bus leaves at 8:45 AM and makes a quick stop at the Miyajima rest stop, allowing everyone to grab a snack and stretch your legs if needed.
By 10:30 AM you’re at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and have the opportunity to explore the museum.
It’s a humbling experience, to be sure, and the next stop of the day at the Children’s Peace Monument shines a light on the beauty created from that event. You’ll meet 93-year-old survivor, Kikuko Shinjo, also known as Shinjo-sensei. She makes paper cranes for visitors to the monument and, for this group, in particular, gifts each person a paper crane to give as a gift to another visitor to the park.
“This act of gift-giving is one way for Americans and Japanese to connect and continue spreading peace and kindness,” said Mikie-san. “The chance to meet an atomic bomb survivor in person and ask questions is special and once in a lifetime.”
Shinjo-sensei has been meeting MCAS Iwakuni servicemembers and families for over a decade, working to share the message of peace. The cranes, an international symbol of peace, are the legacy of a young girl, Sadako Sasaki, who died of leukemia ten years after the event. During her time in the hospital, she folded paper cranes with the belief that it would help her heal.
After her passing, the Children’s Peace Monument was created to honor her and all children impacted. Every year, approximately 10 million paper cranes are offered to the monument, all in a symbol of peace.
After visiting with Shinjo-sensei, the group heads to the Atomic Bomb Dome. Designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996, the building is located almost directly underneath the explosion of the A-bomb and part of it still stands.
After a morning of sightseeing, you can continue to explore. There are other monuments to see including Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims, Flame of Peace, Peace Fountain, Rest House, and others. It’s also a chance to have lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area. Be sure to have yen, as not all restaurants accept cards.
The day starts to wrap up with everyone meeting at 2:20 PM to make the return trip home.
Between experiencing the monuments and meeting an atomic bomb survivor, this trip offers so much more than sightseeing. You can claim your spot by calling 253-6165 or visiting Cultural Adaptation in Building 411.