Hiroshima is best known as the first city in history to be targeted by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped an atomic bomb on the city at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II.
Hiroshima was established on the delta coastline of the Seto Inland Sea in 1589 by powerful warlord Mōri Terumoto, who made it his capital after leaving Kōriyama Castle in Aki Province. Hiroshima Castle was quickly built, and in 1593 Terumoto moved in. Terumoto was on the losing side at the Battle of Sekigahara. The winner of the battle, Tokugawa Ieyasu, deprived Mōri Terumoto of most of his fiefs, including Hiroshima and gave Aki Province to Masanori Fukushima, a daimyō who had supported Tokugawa. From 1619 until 1871, Hiroshima was ruled by the Asano clan.
After the han was abolished in 1871, the city became the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture. Hiroshima became a major urban center during the imperial period, as the Japanese economy shifted from primarily rural to urban industries. During the 1870s, one of the seven government-sponsored English language schools was established in Hiroshima. Ujina Harbor was constructed through the efforts of Hiroshima Governor Sadaaki Senda in the 1880s, allowing Hiroshima to become an important port city.
The San'yō Railway was extended to Hiroshima in 1894, and a rail line from the main station to the harbor was constructed for military transportation during the First Sino-Japanese War. During that war, the Japanese government moved temporarily to Hiroshima, and Emperor Meiji maintained his headquarters at Hiroshima Castle from September 15, 1894, to April 27, 1895. The significance of Hiroshima for the Japanese government can be discerned from the fact that the first round of talks between Chinese and Japanese representatives to end the Sino-Japanese War was held in Hiroshima, from February 1 to February 4, 1895. New industrial plants, including cotton mills, were established in Hiroshima in the late 19th century. Further industrialization in Hiroshima was stimulated during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, which required development and production of military supplies. The Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall was constructed in 1915 as a center for trade and exhibition of new products. Later, its name was changed to Hiroshima Prefectural Product Exhibition Hall, and again to Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.
During World War I, Hiroshima became a focal point of military activity, as the Japanese government entered the war on the Allied side. About 500 German prisoners of war were held in Ninoshima Island in Hiroshima Bay. The growth of Hiroshima as a city continued after the First World War, as the city now attracted the attention of the Catholic Church, and on May 4, 1923, an Apostolic Vicar was appointed for that city.
During World War II, the 2nd General Army and Chugoku Regional Army were headquartered in Hiroshima, and the Army Marine Headquarters was located at Ujina port. The city also had large depots of military supplies, and was a key center for shipping.
The bombing of Tokyo and other cities in Japan during World War II caused widespread destruction and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. There were no such air raids on Hiroshima. However, a real threat existed and was recognized. In order to protect against potential firebombings in Hiroshima, school children aged 11–14 years were mobilized to demolish houses and create firebreaks.
On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m., the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima by an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, flown by Colonel Paul Tibbets, directly killing an estimated 70,000 people, including 20,000 Japanese combatants and 2,000 Korean slave laborers. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought the total number of deaths to 90,000–166,000. The population before the bombing was around 340,000 to 350,000. About 70% of the city's buildings were destroyed, and another 7% severely damaged.
The public release of film footage of the city following the attack, and some of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission research about the human effects of the attack, was restricted during the occupation of Japan, and much of this information was censored until the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, restoring control to the Japanese.
As Ian Buruma observed, "News of the terrible consequences of the atom bomb attacks on Japan was deliberately withheld from the Japanese public by US military censors during the Allied occupation—even as they sought to teach the natives the virtues of a free press. Casualty statistics were suppressed. Film shot by Japanese cameramen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings was confiscated. "Hiroshima", the account written by John Hersey for The New Yorker, had a huge impact in the US, but was banned in Japan. As [John] Dower says: 'In the localities themselves, suffering was compounded not merely by the unprecedented nature of the catastrophe ... but also by the fact that public struggle with this traumatic experience was not permitted.'" The US occupation authorities maintained a monopoly on scientific and medical information about the effects of the atomic bomb through the work of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, which treated the data gathered in studies of hibakusha as privileged information rather than making the results available for the treatment of victims or providing financial or medical support to aid victims. The US also stood by official denial of the ravages associated with radiation. Finally, not only was the press tightly censored on atomic issues, but literature and the arts were also subject to rigorous control prior.
The book Hiroshima by John Hersey was originally featured in article form and published in the magazine The New Yorker, on 31 August 1946. It is reported to have reached Tokyo, in English, at least by January 1947 and the translated version was released in Japan in 1949. Despite the fact that the article was planned to be published over four issues, "Hiroshima" made up the entire contents of one issue of the magazine. Hiroshima narrates the stories of six bomb survivors immediately prior to and for months after the dropping of the Little Boy bomb.
The oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima because it was the first to bloom again after the explosion of the atomic bomb in 1945.
On September 17, 1945, Hiroshima was struck by the Makurazaki Typhoon (Typhoon Ida). Hiroshima Prefecture suffered more than 3,000 deaths and injuries, about half the national total. More than half the bridges in the city were destroyed, along with heavy damage to roads and railroads, further devastating the city.
Hiroshima was rebuilt after the war, with help from the national government through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law passed in 1949. It provided financial assistance for reconstruction, along with land donated that was previously owned by the national government and used for military purposes.
In 1949, a design was selected for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, the closest surviving building to the location of the bomb's detonation, was designated the Genbaku Dome (原爆ドーム) or "Atomic Dome", a part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was opened in 1955 in the Peace Park.
Hiroshima also contains a Peace Pagoda, built in 1966 by Nipponzan-Myōhōji. Uniquely, the pagoda is made of steel, rather than the usual stone.
Hiroshima was proclaimed a City of Peace by the Japanese parliament in 1949, at the initiative of its mayor, Shinzo Hamai (1905–1968). As a result, the city of Hiroshima received more international attention as a desirable location for holding international conferences on peace as well as social issues. As part of that effort, the Hiroshima Interpreters' and Guide's Association (HIGA) was established in 1992 in order to facilitate interpretation for conferences, and the Hiroshima Peace Institute was established in 1998 within the Hiroshima University. The city government continues to advocate the abolition of all nuclear weapons and the Mayor of Hiroshima is the president of Mayors for Peace, an international mayoral organization mobilizing cities and citizens worldwide to abolish and eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2020.
On May 27, 2016, Barack Obama visited Hiroshima, being the first sitting president of the United States to visit since the drop of the atomic bomb.
Schedule Hiroshima is situated on the Ōta River delta, on Hiroshima Bay, facing the Seto Inland Sea on its south side. The river's six channels divide Hiroshima into several islets.
Hiroshima has a humid subtropical climate characterized by cool to mild winters and hot humid summers. Like much of the rest of Japan, Hiroshima experiences a seasonal temperature lag in summer, with August rather than July being the warmest month of the year. Precipitation occurs year-round, although winter is the driest season. Rainfall peaks in June and July, with August experiencing sunnier and drier conditions.
Hiroshima has eight wards (ku):
As of 2006, the city has an estimated population of 1,154,391, while the total population for the metropolitan area was estimated as 2,043,788 in 2000. The total area of the city is 905.08 square kilometres (349.45 sq mi), with a population density of 1275.4 persons per km².
The population around 1910 was 143,000. Before World War II, Hiroshima's population had grown to 360,000, and peaked at 419,182 in 1942. Following the atomic bombing in 1945, the population dropped to 137,197. By 1955, the city's population had returned to pre-war levels.
Hiroshima is served by Hiroshima Airport (IATA: HIJ, ICAO: RJOA), located 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of the city, with regular flights to Tokyo, Sapporo, Sendai, Okinawa, and also to China, Taiwan and South Korea.JR West
Sanyō Shinkansen, San'yō Main Line, Kure Line, Geibi Line, Kabe Line
Hiroshima New Transit Line 1
Hiroshima Short Distance Transit Seno Line
Hiroshima is notable, in Japan, for its light rail system, nicknamed Hiroden, and the "Moving Streetcar Museum." Streetcar service started in 1912, was interrupted by the atomic bomb, and was restored as soon as was practical. (Service between Koi/Nishi Hiroshima and Tenma-cho was started up three days after the bombing.)
Streetcars and light rail vehicles are still rolling down Hiroshima's streets, including nuked streetcars 651 and 652, which are among the older streetcars in the system. When Kyoto and Fukuoka discontinued their trolley systems, Hiroshima bought them up at discounted prices, and, by 2011, the city had 298 streetcars, more than any other city in Japan.Hiroden
Main Line, Ujina Line, Eba Line, Hakushima Line, Hijiyama Line, Yokogawa Line, Miyajima Line
Hiroshima is served by Japan National Route 54, Hiroshima Prefectural Route 37 (Hiroshima-Miyoshi Route), Hiroshima Prefectural Route 70 (Hiroshima-Nakashima Route), Hiroshima Prefectural Route 84 (Higashi Kaita Hiroshima Route), Hiroshima Prefectural Route 164 (Hiroshima-Kaita Route), and Hiroshima Prefectural Route 264 (Nakayama-Onaga Route).Hiroshima Flower Festival, May 3–5, Heiwa Odori, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Toukasan, first Friday to Sunday in June, Mikawa-cho, Chuo Dori
Ebisu Festival, November 18–20, Ebisucho, Hacchobori, Chuo Dori
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, August 6, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima has a professional symphony orchestra, which has performed at Wel City Hiroshima since 1963. There are also many museums in Hiroshima, including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, along with several art museums. The Hiroshima Museum of Art, which has a large collection of French renaissance art, opened in 1978. The Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum opened in 1968, and is located near Shukkei-en gardens. The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in 1989, is located near Hijiyama Park. Festivals include Hiroshima Flower Festival and Hiroshima International Animation Festival.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which includes the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, draws many visitors from around the world, especially for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, an annual commemoration held on the date of the atomic bombing. The park also contains a large collection of monuments, including the Children's Peace Monument, the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims and many others.
Hiroshima's rebuilt castle (nicknamed Rijō, meaning Koi Castle) houses a museum of life in the Edo period. Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine is within the walls of the castle. Other attractions in Hiroshima include Shukkei-en, Fudōin, Mitaki-dera, and Hijiyama Park.
Hiroshima is known for okonomiyaki, a savory (umami) pancake cooked on an Iron-plate, usually in front of the customer. It is cooked with various ingredients, which are layered rather than mixed together as done with the Osaka version of okonomiyaki. The layers are typically egg, cabbage, bean sprouts (moyashi), sliced pork/bacon with optional items (mayonnaise, fried squid, octopus, cheese, mochi, kimchi, etc.), and noodles (soba, udon) topped with another layer of egg and a generous dollop of okonomiyaki sauce (Carp and Otafuku are two popular brands). The amount of cabbage used is usually 3 to 4 times the amount used in the Osaka style. It starts out piled very high and is generally pushed down as the cabbage cooks. The order of the layers may vary slightly depending on the chef's style and preference, and ingredients will vary depending on the preference of the customer.
The Chugoku Shimbun is the local newspaper serving Hiroshima. It publishes both morning paper and evening editions. Television stations include Hiroshima Home Television, Hiroshima TV, TV Shinhiroshima, and the RCC Broadcasting Company. Radio stations include Hiroshima FM, Chugoku Communication Network, FM Fukuyama, FM Nanami, and Onomichi FM. Hiroshima is also served by NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, with television and radio broadcasting.
Hiroshima University was established in 1949, as part of a national restructuring of the education system. One national university was set up in each prefecture, including Hiroshima University, which combined eight existing institutions (Hiroshima University of Literature and Science, Hiroshima School of Secondary Education, Hiroshima School of Education, Hiroshima Women's School of Secondary Education, Hiroshima School of Education for Youth, Hiroshima Higher School, Hiroshima Higher Technical School, and Hiroshima Municipal Higher Technical School), with the Hiroshima Prefectural Medical College added in 1953. But, in 1972 the relocation of Hiroshima University was decided from urban areas of Hiroshima City to wider campus in Higashihiroshima City. By 1995 almost all campuses were relocated to Higashihiroshima. But, School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Graduate School in these fields in Kasumi Campus and Law School and Center for Research on Regional Economic System in Higashi-Senda Campus are still in Hiroshima City.
Hiroshima has several professional sports clubs. The city's main football club are Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who play at the Hiroshima Big Arch. As Toyo Kogyo Soccer Club, they won the Japan Soccer League five times between 1965 and 1970 and the Emperor's Cup in 1965, 1967 and 1969. After adopting their current name in 1992, the club won the J. League in 2012 and 2013. The city's main women's football club is Angeviolet Hiroshima. Defunct clubs include Rijo Shukyu, who won the Emperor's Cup in 1924 and 1925, and Ẽfini Hiroshima.
Hiroshima Toyo Carp are the city's major baseball club, and play at the Mazda Stadium. Members of the Central League, the club won the Japan Series in 1979, 1980 and 1984. Other sports clubs include Hiroshima Dragonflies (basketball), Hiroshima Maple Reds (handball) and JT Thunders (volleyball).
The Woodone Open Hiroshima was part of the Japan Golf Tour between 1973 and 2007. The city also hosted the 1994 Asian Games, using the Big Arch stadium, which is now used for the annual Mikio Oda Memorial International Amateur Athletic Game. The now-called Hiroshima Prefectural Sports Center was one of the host arenas of the 2006 FIBA World Championship (basketball).
The Japanese city of Hiroshima may have been devastated by the atomic bomb almost 70 years ago, but today, this site of the destruction is one of the top tourist destinations in the entire country. Statistics released by the nation's tourist agency revealed that around 363,000 visitors went to the metropolis during 2012, with US citizens making up the vast majority of that figure, followed by Australians and the Chinese.
Hiroshima has many interesting places to visit. A popular destination is going to the Utsukushima Island, also known as Miyajima, which is a sacred island with many temples and shrines. But inside Hiroshima there are many popular destinations as well, and according to online guidebooks, these are the most popular tourist destinations in Hiroshima:
Hiroshima City Hospital
Hiroshima City Asa Hospital
Hiroshima City Funairi Hospital
Hiroshima Prefectural Hospital
Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital & Atomic-bomb Survivors Hospital
Hiroshima University Hospital
Japan Post Hiroshima Hospital
JR Hiroshima Hospital
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
- The Atomic Bomb Dome
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
- Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima
- Hiroshima Castle
- Mitaki-dera Temple
- Hiroshima Gogoku Shrine
- Kamiyacho and Hatchobori (A major center in Hiroshima which is a shopping area. It is direcly connected to the Hiroshima Bus Center )
- Senko-ji Temple (Senko-ji Park)
Hiroshima has six overseas sister cities: Honolulu, United States (1959)
Volgograd, Russia (1972)
Hanover, Germany (1983)
Chongqing, People's Republic of China (1986)
Daegu, South Korea (1997)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1998)
Within Japan, Hiroshima has a similar relationship with Nagasaki.