Hiroshima today looks completely different than it did 73 years ago.
On August 6, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima that destroyed most of the city and instantly killed 80,000 of its citizens.
Today, Hiroshima has recovered into a bustling manufacturing hub with a population of 1.1 million people and counting.
Here’s what Hiroshima looks like today.
On August 6, 2018, the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the residents of the Japanese city will pause to remember the day in 1945 that changed the course of history.
On August 6, 1945, the US bomber Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb ever used in military combat on Hiroshima. The Allied forces dropped a second atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki three days later.
The device that exploded over Hiroshima destroyed about two-thirds of the city’s structures in a blinding flash of light. At the time, Hiroshima’s population was approximately 300,000. The atomic bomb immediately killed 80,000 and injured 35,000 more. By the end of 1945, 60,000 more people had died as a result of the blast.
Today, Hiroshima is a prosperous manufacturing hub with a population of over 1.1 million.
Here’s what the city looks like today and the lingering effects of the bombing:
What Hiroshima looks like today
What Hiroshima looks like today
1. August 6, 1945: the bomb nicknamed ‘Little Boy’ flattens Hiroshima
Almost 70% of buildings in Hiroshima were demolished in the blast. The skeleton of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, located only about 175 yards from the bomb's hypocenter, stood starkly among the rubble and became a symbol of the devastation.
The heat from the atomic blast burned lasting shadows onto walls and pavements in the shapes of the objects in its path. The most haunting Hiroshima shadows are the outlines of victims who were going about their daily lives when the bomb was dropped. Today, some shadows are displayed at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
4. The movement for peace in Hiroshima
Sites in Hiroshima often draw peace activists. In 2005, Greenpeace members launched inflatable doves in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome on the day before the Hiroshima anniversary.
5. A day in the life of Hiroshima
The routines of daily life in Hiroshima are much like any other large city in Japan. Visitors can enjoy okonomiyaki, a savory pancake the Visit Hiroshima website calls "Hiroshima's soul food," while exploring the city's lively nightlife .
In 2018, Beatrice Fihn, ICAN executive director, (second from left) visited Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Museum, which preserves artifacts and survivor stories in hopes of " No More Hiroshimas ."
8. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lays a wreath during the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on August 6, 2016 in Hiroshima, Japan.
9. A historic meeting in Hiroshima
In 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to travel to Hiroshima . He laid a wreath during a ceremony at Peace Memorial Park with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and greeted Hiroshima bombing survivors .
10. August 6: a day of remembrance
In Hiroshima, on August 6, church bells ring at 8:15 am, the exact moment the bomb dropped. That begins a day of remembrance ceremonies that culminates in the hauntingly beautiful Toro Nagashi festival, where hundreds of lanterns are floated down the Motoyasu River, in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome.
Toro Nagashi began in Tokyo in 1946, and Hiroshima picked it up the following year. The lanterns are a tribute to those who perished in the bombing and an assurance that Hiroshima and the world will never forget what happened there on August 6, 1945.