HIROSHIMA – Hiroshima has unveiled the Hiroshima Peace Tourism project, which includes an interactive map showing routes intended to help visitors view the city’s many memorial sites beyond just the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Peace Memorial Park, the main and only destination for about half of tourists.
The Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum, for example, is only a 10-minute walk from the Atomic Bomb Dome. It became a relief station after the bomb was dropped, and a wall inscribed with the words of those asking about the fate of their loved ones remains preserved and on display.
But it receives few visitors. According to Masatoshi Yamamoto, 72, a graduate of the elementary school and now part of the museum’s management, only about 10 people come each day. On some days, he said, nobody shows up before noon.
But many visitors just go to the Peace Memorial Park and then head for Itsukushima Shrine, a world heritage site in the city of Hatsukaichi. Visitors don’t spend much time and money in the city of Hiroshima, officials say.
A walking route around the Atomic Bomb Dome includes surviving buildings such as the Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum, the former Bank of Japan Hiroshima branch and Honkawa Elementary School Peace Museum.
Fukuya Department Store, which survived the blast and remains in business to this day, is also a recommended spot. The building was forced to close during the war as it was used by the army and state-owned companies, but in 1951 the building’s prewar store space was re-established.
Hiroshi Harada, 79, former director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and now the head of a panel for the Peace Tourism project, said communication between the city’s numerous facilities had been disconnected.
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