Peace Statue, Nagasaki,Japan

Getty Images

Peace Park

Top choice in Nagasaki

A still, serene and deeply moving place, Nagasaki's Peace Park commemorates the atomic bombing of the city on August 9, 1945, which reduced the surrounding area to rubble and claimed tens of thousands of lives. Together with the Atomic Bomb Museum and National Peace Memorial Hall (both a short walk away), this is an essential stop for any visitor who wants to understand how the disaster shaped the city.

The green, spacious park is presided over by the 10-tonne bronze Nagasaki Peace Statue, designed in 1955 by Kitamura Seibō. It also includes the dove-shaped Fountain of Peace (1969) and the Peace Symbol Zone, a sculpture garden with contributions on the theme of peace from around the world.

Practically adjoining the park to the south is the smaller Atomic Bomb Hypocentre Park, with a monument marking the epicentre of the deadly blast.

On 9 August a rowdy antinuclear protest is held within earshot of the more formal official memorial ceremony for those lost to the bomb.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Nagasaki attractions

1. Atomic Bomb Hypocentre Park

0.11 MILES

A must-see for anyone coming to Nagasaki for its historic significance, this park houses a smooth, black-stone column that marks the point above which the…

2. Peace Statue

0.13 MILES

At the far end of the Peace Park, this hulking, muscular bronze statue by Nagasaki Prefecture native Kitamura Seibō is a much-photographed symbol of the…

4. Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

0.22 MILES

On 9 August 1945, the world's second nuclear weapon detonated over Nagasaki, and this sombre place recounts the city's destruction and loss of life…

5. Nagai Takashi Memorial Museum


This small but quietly moving museum celebrates the courage and faith of one man in the face of overwhelming adversity. Already suffering from leukaemia,…

6. Urakami Cathedral

0.32 MILES

Once the largest church in Asia (1914), the cathedral took three decades to complete and three seconds to flatten. This smaller replacement cathedral was…

7. Shiroyama Elementary School

0.32 MILES

This was the closest school to the nuclear blast, up a hill a mere 500m away, and 1400 children perished here. Nowadays, it's hard not to be moved by the…

8. One-Pillar Torii

0.67 MILES

The atomic blast knocked down half of the stone entrance arch to Sanno-jinja shrine, 800m southeast of the hypocentre, but the other pillar remains, a…