Hiroshima, a nuclear survivor
The A-Bomb Dome
By executive order of President Harry
S. Truman, the United States of America
dropped the nuclear weapon nicknamed
"Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima on
Monday, August 6, 1945. On August 9 the
nuclear device "Fat Man" detonated over
Nagasaki. This is the only time nuclear
weapons, in war, have been detonated. No
matter what position you take on the use
of these weapons, if you are human, the
thought of the devastation from these
bombings is horrendous.
From Kyoto, on the amazing Japanese
rail system, there is one quick stop in
Osaka before you arrive in Hiroshima.
The city today is a modern, big, and
bustling metropolis. Its contemporary
buildings and wide thoroughfares are
fine examples of recent city
architecture. Built in a beautiful
location on the water with several
rivers and surrounded by mountains
Hiroshima is an attractive city. There
is nothing that would indicate the prior
destruction of this city by nuclear
attack; other than its newness. The only
place you can see any sign of the
bombing is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Park. The last remaining building
standing today, from the nuclear
holocaust, is in the park. Its shattered
brick and twisted metal girders are a
stark contrast to the rest of the park.
The Motoyasu River meanders through the
green fields of this living memorial to
our monstrous human nature.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Video of the Peace Bell
If you are lucky you will meet Mr.
Mito Kosei the self-proclaimed Peace
Navigator. Kosei is a retired Japanese
teacher and blast survivor. He is about
five foot and a few inches tall, with
brown eyes, a leathery complexion, and
is very friendly and enthusiastic. He
will tell you proudly that he was in his
mother's womb the day of the blast. She
was fortunately far enough away from the
epicenter to have survived the
instantaneous vaporization, which was
the fate of thousands that day. She did
eventually develop blood cancer, but
made it into her nineties. His father,
while teaching school, was much closer
to the blast, but was fortunate to be in
a basement at the time of the
detonation. He also developed radiation
related illnesses and died in old age.
His uncle was less fortunate, he did
survive the initial blast, but died
shortly after from radiation sickness.
Kosei has guided more than 8,000
tourists to various sites around the
park, not in tour books. His objective
is to ensure visitors understand the
consequences of using nuclear weapons.
For example: the Motoyasu River ran for
a month, after the blast, with dead
bodies and cremation funeral pyres burnt
for days after the explosion.
He leaves visitors with three things
to take away from this experience. They
are: Never to use weapons like this ever
again, to know and to celebrate how
resilient humans are, and to be able to
understand the power of forgiveness.
A round-trip flight from San
Francisco to Tokyo ranges between: $762
A 21-day Japan Rail Pass ranges between:
$850.92 (79,600 YEN) and $616.81 (57,700
A terrific web site to book
accommodation in Japan is
This conculdeds our trip around Japan.