Why you should visit Hiroshima with kids
Hiroshima, I’d imagine, is not top of the list for many people travelling with children. Witnessing the horror of what took place there in the relatively recent past is quite harrowing. But some families go – we did. And I’m really glad about that. Because although at times Hiroshima can seem a bit like a living memorial, and parts of it are very morbid, the fact that this city has regenerated itself is a testament to the power of the human spirit, and it can also at times be very uplifting. My son was only four at the time we visited Hiroshima – obviously he took very little of it in. But for children a little older, I think a trip to Hiroshima can be a valuable experience.
How much do children see and learn about the bomb?
There are a variety of exhibits around Hiroshima that illuminate what took place after the bomb fell, so children can learn broadly about what happened, and it’s obviously completely up to you to share what you feel is appropriate for your child. We did speak with our son about the war in general, and what had happened here when looking at the A-bomb dome (Genbaku dome). We didn’t, however, take him to the Peace Museum – he waited in the beautiful Peace Park outside, oblivious to the horrendous things I was looking at. I really struggled with the visit.
The children’s memorial, and the paper cranes you can find around the park are also a good way to talk about the war and explain the significance of the beautiful and sad story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,.
Where to stay in Hiroshima
We were only in Hiroshima for a few days, so decided to stay at the Sheraton by the train station, which was a great choice for getting around. The sightseeing loop bus stopped just outside the train station, and took us everywhere we wanted to go. If you’re planning a trip to Miyajima then I would definitely recommend staying here.
Visiting Hiroshima is perfectly safe. The effects of the radiation are long gone, but it is still tested for on a regular basis to be sure. It feels like a completely normal modern city in many respects, but draped in a veil of sadness.
Below are a few of the pictures I took while we were in Hiroshima. The first is of the Genbaku Dome. The bomb exploded almost directly overhead, and I was amazed to see the structure is still standing. It remains as a permanent memorial.
Hiroshima is not for everyone. I’m not even sure I feel comfortable recommending a visit. But I’m glad we went there – it’s an incredibly moving and humbling experience, and one that I’m not sure I’ll ever forget.