Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Hypocenter Park 原爆中心地公園, PeacePark 平和公園

Visited 20.03.2014

History. Nagasaki has a rich history and part of it emerged as a result of WWII. After the first atomic bomb landed in Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945, the second atomic bomb fell in Nagasaki shortly on 9 Aug 1945. This devastating nuclear weapon inflicted catastrophic impact to Japan, a hefty and painful price to pay for the greed for power. Both Hypocenter and Peace Park are founded to remind mankind on the lessons learnt from WWII. Various memorials and signboards were put up in different corners of both parks, served as painful reminders on the cruelty of war and never to take peace for granted. Strolled the park with a heavy heart as I pictured the scenes on the day when the atomic bomb fell onto Nagasaki in the mind while reading the articles. Overall, it was an enriching history lesson to me and I will definitely recommend paying this place a visit.

Hypocenter memorial monolith
Hypocenter Park. Hypocenter is the spot where the atomic bomb fell and exploded. A memorial monolith was built on the hypocenter of the atomic bomb. A portion of the broken wall remnant of Urakami Cathedral, located about 500 m northeast of the hypocenter, stood near the monolith. There are about 500 cherry blossom trees planted in the park, therefore making this a popular spot during spring. Was fortunate enough to see some early bloomers scattered at different part of the park.

Left: Plaque reflecting the day & time when the atomic bomb exploded in Nagasaki; Right: Remnant of Urakami Cathedral
Matsuyama Bridge
Peace Park. Along the way from the Hypocenter Park to Peace Park, we crossed the Matsuyama Bridge (the former one miraculously survived the explosion despite being 120 m away from the hypocenter) and spotted several former air raid shelters. 

A peace memorial ceremony is held in front of the Peace Statue on 9 August yearly, in memory of the victims of WWII and to spread the prayer for everlasting world peace. A poem is carved into a memorial plate in front of the fountain of peace, This poem was written by a child who suffered from thirst in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. A moment of silence is naturally observed by all in front of the Peace Statue. A sculpture that symbolises peace: The elevated right hand points to the threat of nuclear weapons, while the outstretched left hand symbolises tranquility and world peace. Divine omnipotence and love are embodied in the sturdy physique and gentle countenance of the statue, and a prayer for the repose of the souls of all war victims is expressed in the closed eyes. The folded right leg symbolises quiet meditation, while the left leg is poised for action in assisting humanity.


Other places of interest:
(1) Atomic Bomb Museum 長崎原爆資料館 
Missed out this museum this time round. This one of the long list of attractions I have yet to visit in Nagasaki city. This museum showcases the events leading to the fateful day, the destruction inflicted and the long and painful road to recovery.
Website: http://nagasakipeace.jp/index_e.html

(2) Urakami Cathedral 浦上天主堂
The construction of this church started in 1895 and took 30 years to complete. The church was not spared from the atomic bomb blast on 9 August 1945. Reconstruction of the church was completed in 1959 to its present state. Precious remains/ruins of the old church are kept as monuments on the second floor of its congregation hall.
Website: http://www1.odn.ne.jp/uracathe/

Beautiful cherry blossom flowers spotted in the park.

How to get there?

(1) By Nagasaki City Streetcar
From Nagasaki JR Station, take line 1 or 3 heading towards Akasako (赤坂). Alight at either Hamaguchi machi (浜口町) or Matsuyama machi (松山町).
- From Hanamguchi machi, approx 5 mins walk to Hypocenter Park
- From Matsuyama machi, approx 5 mins walk to Peace Park


Hypocenter Park 原爆中心地公園
852-8118 長崎県長崎市松山町

Peace Park 平和公園
長崎県長崎市松山町 平和公園内

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