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Hiroshima Castle is a major landmark in the city visited by scores of tourists. Designated a national treasure in the 1950s, reconstruction of the donjon and some of the outbuildings began shortly thereafter. Overgrown foundations give the grounds an enjoyably rustic air. The five-story castle donjon houses a collection of swords, armor, a display of instruments and exhibits related to Hiroshima's past.
An integral part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is an august reminder of the costs of nuclear war, and memorializes the thousands who lost their lives as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. The once-glorious building that housed the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall now stands in tatters; an illustration of the force of war and a lasting beacon of world peace. Once a government building in the bustling neighborhood of Sarugaku-cho, the Genbaku Dome is now a soul-stirring ruin. Over time, Sarugaku-cho was leveled, except for a few trees and telephone poles, along with the dome's structural girders and brick walls. A photo nearby depicts the scene soon after the bombing. Commemorating a tragedy that is unlikely to fade from the collective memory of the world, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial seeks to preserve this memory as an inspiration for an unfaltering effort to achieve global peace.
Hiroshima has declared itself an international city of peace, and Peace Memorial Park symbolizes its commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world, as well as commemorating the victims of a brutal fact of history. Despite the serious raison d'etre of its founding, the park is neither morbid nor fixated on the past. Enjoy a picnic lunch near parasol trees that survived the blast. See shrines and monuments--such as the A-Bomb Dome and 1964 "Flame of Peace"--visited daily by prayer-offering, incense-burning monks. The Peace Memorial Museum, opened in 1955, is also located here.
Set in the wilds of Hijiyama Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art blends landscaping and aesthetics into a pleasing whole, a metaphor of the natural environment around this premier cultural institution. Inside, the museum is notable for periodic displays of contemporary art. Past exhibits have included works by Andy Warhol and a display of "art as resistance" from the politically troubled islands of Indonesia. Outside, the museum is sculpted into the mountainside. Around the museum are sculpture-lined trails, and a scenic lookout over Hiroshima, complete with Henry Moore installation.