The atomic bomb museum in Nagasaki, Japan


I’ve dreamed of going to Hiroshima and Nagasaki since I was a kid. But it was such a distracted dream, I realized that it would probably never happen to me. When I made my plan, I wasn’t afraid of the distance, I wanted to go there! As a reminder, I moved to Fukuoka, which is in northern Kyushu. Nagasaki is on the same island, but on the west side. The distance between the two cities is about 150km. I got up early in the morning, went to the station and took the KAMOME express. It’s not a super high-speed Shinkansen, but still, the train doesn’t stop at every half-station. The travel time is about 2 hours. On the way, I realized that I’d rather get off one station early, not at Nagasaki station, but at Urakami. The thing is, the city is stretched out like a sausage, and it’s better to start with what’s important to me and then move on to other attractions.

There are several streetcar lines in the city. I walked along one of them. I was a little nervous about taking the streetcar, so I decided to walk. I had a map in hand, it wasn’t raining, so why not? On my way there was such a building :)

This is actually a museum. The entrance fee was 200 yen, which was 75 rubles.

I was just following the signs. That building was the Atomic Bomb Victims Memorial Hall. I was there too, but I went from the museum.

From the foyer a spiral ramp leads down to the beginning of the exhibition. The boards show bits and pieces of life in the city, it’s like an introduction. People stop and look and study, the room is very quiet.

Along the ramp there is a line of cranes, a symbol of life after the bombing.

The clock ticks ominously and the hands freeze at 11:02, the time when the city was razed to the ground. People go from hall to hall and look at the exhibits. Here’s a life-size mockup of the very bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The perpetrator was pilot Charles Sweeney, commander of the B-29 “Bockscar” bomber. The bomb was codenamed Fat Man.

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The bomb is in a cross-section. The implosion mechanism is described next to it.

Generally not many people take pictures there, but it’s not forbidden. Some of the exhibits amazed me so much that I took photos of them to show you. For example, an ingot made of melted glass and human bones.

This is an interactive bottle that you can touch and feel.

Portrait of Dr. Nagai Takashi. There is a memorial museum named after him in Nagasaki. The doctor’s wife died in the atomic bombing. He himself survived and devoted his life to saving victims. He developed leukemia as a result of radiation, but he fought to the last.

There is a lot to see there, the exposition is quite large. The museum recreates a reconstruction of the chronology of events, pictures of the destruction of the city, personal belongings of people, eyewitness accounts, photographs of the disaster and much more on the subject.

In the last hall, the world map shows the members of the “atomic club”. Guess whose nuclear shield is the strongest.

You can take a crane as a souvenir

Through some strange corridors that symbolize the path of remembrance for the dead, I found myself in the Atomic Bomb Victims’ Memorial Hall. There are 12 columns and another one in which lists with the names of the dead are kept. There are benches along the perimeter where you can sit and think about eternity.

I was very impressed. The place is definitely recommended.

Next I decided to go to the Urakami Cathedral. I had a piece of map in my guidebook, and I used it to navigate. From time to time I tried to ask people on the street, but they didn’t speak English. So I showed a picture of the place I wanted to see, and reinforced it with the Japanese name in brackets in my guidebook. It helped :)

Basically there are signs in English, and street names, too. I feared it would be worse.

Oh, a sign that I’m on the right track.

This is the biggest Catholic church in Japan. True, the building is unoriginal; it was reconstructed in the postwar years. The old Urakami Cathedral was completely destroyed in a nuclear bombing. The bomb fell 500 meters from the church. All the people at the worship service were killed.

Roman Museum of the Soul in Purgatory, photo and description

Urakami Cathedral is named after the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Who this uncle is I do not know.

There are bushes with lovely flowers all around. I wonder what they are called, does anyone know?

Next I went to Peace Park. Here I followed the signs. Then I met a trio of Japanese who were also obviously going there, and we found our way together.

The park is not very green, and the area is fairly open. There are various sculptures scattered all over the area, and there are a lot of them. They are all gifts from around the world as a token of condolence. Previously, on the site of the park was a prison. This was the location of the town of Urakami. Both custodians and prisoners all died.

I can guess this is the foundation from the first cathedral of Urakami. But I don’t know for sure.

The statue of Peace. A nine-meter tall man with one hand points to the sky, where trouble came from, the other pointing along the horizon, which symbolizes calm and peace. Near the pedestal there are always flowers.

Looking at the figure in detail, I was personally struck by the developed body of this Japanese man. Some kind of unreal character, solid allegory.

There are crane houses set up on the right and left. People bring whole bundles of paper birds here.

Not far from Peace Park is the epicenter. The explosion occurred about 500 meters above this point. There was nothing left at all within a 3 km radius, the rest of the city lay in ruins. But although the power of the bomb was greater than in Hiroshima, the destructive effect was less. Nagasaki’s location, among the mountains and hills, contributed to this. Moreover, visibility on that day was not good, and the American pilot was guided by radar, not visually. The bomb was dropped to the north of the main part of the city, where there are factories and a stadium. Actually, it could have been worse.

Hell and Paradise Museum in Pattaya, photo and description

Cenotaph. The memorial was erected in 1956.

A piece of the wall of the former Urakami Cathedral, which was moved here as a memorial

There is a small park with benches around it. From the epicenter there are circles: the grass is planted in a way that symbolizes the shock wave. The place is not oppressive, but it makes a lot of impressions.

I saw another sign, I could not translate it, so I went to have a look. I found some ruins. I did not understand what it was. There’s also a nearby river called Shimono-gawa.

I’ve seen this part of the city, now it’s time to move further south. The Peace Park, the Atomic Bomb Museum, and the Urakami Cathedral are a bit out of the way, and it’s a long walk to the center, so you have to take a bus or a streetcar. The bus routes I couldn’t take, everything there is in Japanese, so I took the streetcar.

Nagasaki Museums

The Dutch Dejima Factoria Museum is located on the Japanese island of Kyushu, in Nagasaki Prefecture. The museum was established on the site where once there was an artificial trading island of Dejima, the so-called “window to Europe,” located here in the XVII-XIX centuries.

Dejima Island was built in 1634, by decree of the Shogun Iemitsu, and was originally used as a warehouse for Portuguese merchants and traders. In 1637 there was a revolt in Japan, which led to the expulsion of all Europeans from the country, but it was decided to keep the Dutch and allow them to trade through the port of Nagasaki because they professed Calvinism and were not engaged in missionary activity.

The museum presents in its collection reconstructions of the premises and buildings of the trading stations of the Dutch, objects of their everyday life, and scientific instruments of those times.

Coordinates: 32.74314900,129.87371800

Zibold Memorial Museum

Siebold Memorial Museum (photo)

The Siebold Memorial Museum is located in Nagasaki, Japan, and was established in 1989, in honor of the famous scientist Philip Franz von Siebold. Siebold made the greatest contribution to the development of modern science in Japan.

Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan

The museum building was built behind a model of the scientist’s home located in Leiden and is near the site of the scientist’s original clinic and boarding school called Narutaki Yuku.

The museum is represented by 206 exhibits, which are divided into 6 categories. Each category describes Philip Siebold’s 6-year stay in Nagasaki City, during the “Siebold Incident” known to all citizens, and his contribution to Japan. Also on display here are the scientist’s family tree, belongings of his wife, Taki, a Japanese national, and his daughter Ine, who became the first female doctor in Japan.

Coordinates: 32.75586300,129.89221800

Atomic Bomb Museum

Museum of the Atomic Bomb (photo)

The Atomic Bomb Museum is located in Nagasaki, Japan. The museum’s exhibits and themes are all about the nuclear bombing of the city in 1945.

The older museum was opened in 1945, while the modern museum dates back to April 1996. The new museum was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bombing. The museum’s exhibits reflect the beginnings of atomic weapons, eyewitness stories about the explosion, and events related to the disaster. Visitors to the museum will be able to look at exclusive photographs, documents, relics, and videos of the scene.

Nearby the museum the International Atomic Bomb Victims Memorial Hall has been erected.

Coordinates: 32.77253500,129.86446000

Shusaku Endo Literary Museum

Literary museum named after Shusaku Endo (photo)

The Shusaku Endo Literary Museum is located in Sotome, in the northwestern part of the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The museum’s exhibits focus on the work and life of the great and prominent Japanese writer and poet Shusaku Endo.

Sotome is known in narrow circles as the birthplace of Nagasaki Christians, and is the area where Endo Shusaku’s novel Silence took place. The writer himself was a Catholic by religion.

A museum in Endo’s honor was established here in 2000. Exhibits include the writer’s books, manuscripts, photographs, letters, and favorite things such as his favorite writing desk, rosary, Bible, and a statue of the Virgin Mary, which the author inherited from his mother. The statuette stood at the headboard of his bedside all his life.

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The museum site offers an unforgettable view of Goto Island and the village of Shitsu, where there is a monument to Silence, a novel by Shusaku Endo.

Coordinates: 32.83587000,129.70271200

Museum of History and Culture

Museum of History and Culture (photo)

In November 2005, the Museum of History and Culture was opened in Nagasaki, Japan. It is dedicated not only to the history and culture of Nagasaki, but also to Japan’s contacts with other countries of the world during the isolation of the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

The museum building is a reconstructed one-story manor house that sits on the site where the medieval residence of the Nagasaki governor once stood. Exhibitions of modern history, historical culture, and the magistrate of Nagasaki are held here. The museum features 48,000 items, including historical documents, artifacts brought to Japan by traders from foreign countries, arts and crafts, and more. The museum presents the history of the birth of Christianity in Japan and the lives of Japanese officials of past centuries.

During World War II, the building housed the Nagasaki Air Defense Headquarters and during the atomic bombing, a bomb shelter was used on the west side of the structure.

Coordinates : 32.75288300,129.87951500

Nagasaki sights

Guncajima Island, Nagasaki, Japan Glover Garden, Nagasaki, Japan Peace Park, Nagasaki, Japan Subtropical Botanical Garden, Nagasaki, Japan Ocular Bridge, Nagasaki, Japan Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki, Japan

Museums in Japan

Ebisu Beer Museum, Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Miraikan Museum, Tokyo, Japan Mikimoto Museum, Nara, Japan Toshiba Company Museum, Kanagawa, Japan Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima, Japan Open Air Museum, Hakone, Japan

World Museums

Louvre, Paris, France Museum of Egypt, Cairo, Egypt Ernest Hemingway House Museum, Havana, Cuba Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia Decembrists Museum, Irkutsk, Irkutsk, Russia Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete, Greece Picasso Museum, Barcelona, Spain El Greco House Museum, Toledo, Spain Pafos Archaeological Museum, Pafos, Cyprus Aivazovsky Museum, Feodosia, Russia Maximilian Voloshin House Museum, Koktebel, Russia

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