Hiroshima Castle was built in 1590 by Daimyo Mori Terumoto. As early as 1600 he had to hand over the castle to Fukushima Masanori, because he fought against Tokugawa Ieyasu, who won the war and reigned Japan. The last daimyo of Hiroshima Castle was Asano Nagakoto, he ruled the city until 1871. In 1868, the Meiji Restoration revived the Empire and abolished the Shogunate. Asano Nagakoto became a politician in the Meiji period and could therefore remain in office for a few years after the Meiji Restoration. He was one of the last Daimyos of Japan.
Hiroshima Castle is a rectangular complex with a wide moat and an artificial island on which the castle is situated at the western corner. Similar to the castle in Himeji, the seat of the shogun is in a wooden structure that towers over the castle.
The castle was destroyed when the atomic bomb exploded in 1945. The current castle was rebuilt in 1958, with a concrete structure, other parts were added later. Since the historical center was completely destroyed, the castle is one of the few sights of Hiroshima.
The ruin of the exhibition hall of Hiroshima Prefecture was left in this condition as memorial of the atomic bomb explosion of August 6, 1945. The exhibition hall for industrial goods was built in 1915 by the Bohemian architect Jan Letzel. Since Hiroshima was predominantly built with wooden houses at that time, only a few buildings have survived the blast. The Peace Monument is also called the "Atomic Bomb Dome" because its dome is preserved and the building is called Gembaku Dome by the Japanese. The building became a peace monument, which stands for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. For this reason, the ruin was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
The Hiroshima Peace Park is the place where the victims of the first nuclear attack in human history are remembered. On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The American bomber Enola Gay dropped the "Little Boy" bomb at 8:15 local time. An estimated 70,000 people died instantly by the explosion. Another 100,000 people died as a result of radioactive contamination in 1945. The exact number of victims cannot be determined because many people died as a result of the radiation many years later. The second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th. This bomb was bigger, but missed the city center by 2 kilometers, killing fewer people than in Hiroshima.
Japan had started the war against the United States with the attack on Pearl Harbor and occupied large parts of Asia. Japanese soldiers committed serious war crimes, particularly in China with the Nanjing massacre. The US wanted to end the war as soon as possible to avoid further losses in its own ranks. On July 26, 1945, the United States issued an ultimatum to Japan, with the immediate unconditional surrender, otherwise the country would be completely destroyed. Japan ignored this threat because the conditions contained therein were classified as unacceptable. The United States had dropped leaflets over Hiroshima and Nagasaki and asked the population to leave the city.
The Peace Park is located on an island in the river, where the atomic bomb exploded 160 m above the ground. There are several monuments at the Hiroshima Peace Park, which are arranged along an axis. The center of this axis is the cenotaph for the victims of the atomic bomb, which was designed by Kenzo Tange with a vault. The opposite construction of the Eternal Flame was also designed by Kenzo Tange.
One of the most moving monuments in the Peace Park is the Children's Peace Monument, which was built for the girl Sadako Sasaki. She died in 1955 of the late effects of radiation at the age of 12. She became famous for folding hundreds of paper cranes. Since then, students from all over Japan have brought colorful origami cranes to her memorial. The crane is an Asian symbol for a long life. The monument shows a girl lifting a crane up to the sky.
Hiroshima is a lively city again with around 1.2 million inhabitants. The name Hiroshima means "spacious island". The Pacela shopping center is located between the Hiroshima Castle and the Peace Park. The open shopping mall is also architecturally appealing due to its light roof construction. The upper floors are interesting for tourists because they offer a beautiful view on the Hirishima Castle and there are various restaurants to choose from.
The Shukkei-en garden is one of the most beautiful sights of Hiroshima. The garden was created in 1620 under Daimyo Asano Nagaakira, who commissioned his landscape planner Ueda Soko to build the garden. The garden shows the different landscapes of Japan. The name Shukkei means "dense landscape". The different landscapes of Japan are shown in individual areas of the garden, which are based on the cardinal points. In the south there are rice fields and a tea garden, in the north there is a mountain, in the west a forest and in the east a mountain. In the middle is a lake with a bridge. The Koko-Kyo Bridge, with its round shape, is the landmark of Shukkei-en.
The Shukkei-en was also destroyed by the blast and the subsequent fire in 1945. The garden was rebuilt after the war.