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Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

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Education | Avg price: ¥200 | English Available: None (Unknown)

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  • City-Cost

    on Jun 16

    A powerful, informative, and very important experience

    The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum sits a few hundred meters north of the Hypocenter Park and Hypocenter Monolith which mark the exact location of the August 9, 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  

    The museum is a one of a cluster of facilities that includes the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims.

    Tickets for the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum are from a small counter on the 1st floor.  From here a walkway spirals down to the basement counting down the years until reaching 1945, in the basement, where the museum exhibits are to be found.

    There are four sections - A,B,C, and D - very roughly - before, the moment of impact and immediate aftermath, the future, and also a video room.

    As with a lot of these things museum curators have put on display a clock, frozen in time at the moment of the atomic bomb blast, 11:02.  The clock is one of the first things that visitors to the museum will see, setting the haunting tone that continues throughout much of the experience. A little bit of time, and space, is then given to depictions of Nagasaki prior to the bombing which end with footage of the grotesque mushroom cloud rising above the city.  

    Section B is largely focused on the damage caused by the bomb.  Just before this however, visitors have the chance to see a replica of the bomb itself (Fatman), a garish yellow lump that would almost appear comical if taken out of context.  Next to the replica silent footage of 'Fatman' being loaded onto 'Bockscar', the U.S warplane charged with dropping it, in Guam scrolls. 

    Section B's focus on the damage is broken down into type - damages caused by the blast, damages caused by the flash and heat, damages caused by radiation.  It's gazing at these exhibits that the mood at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum becomes very heavy.  Scorched earth type images, ravaged clothing, deformed metals and structures, and silhouettes created by heat alone all do their best to give some sense of the horrors.  Particularly haunting for this visitor was a photograph of a look out post some 4 km from the blast onto the walls of which is cast a silhouette, created by the bomb flash, of a person who had just come down a ladder from the roof of the building.  Look out also for a helmet found near the blast which still has parts of a victim's skull scorched into it.  

    It's also in this area that you can learn about how the radiation from the bomb affected its victims in both the short term and the long term.  It's interesting and frightening stuff, and some of the photographs may be a test for the squeamish.  

    Section C largely concerns itself with the state of atomic weapons and warfare from now and into the future.  A nice touch in this area is time and exhibit space given to the victims of radiation of those that suffered at the hands of nuclear bomb tests, such as in the deserts of North America, the Russian wilderness, and islands in the Pacific, something which too often we aren't told about.  It's in this area that you can sit down and watch videos about Japan's wars in China and the Pacific.

    It was a long time ago that we went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum so the memory is a little sketchy, but in comparison The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum experience is a much less crowded one (and we were there on a Sunday).  There was no need at all to fight for space in front of exhibits, and we were able to move around at a pace that suited.  Exhibits are arranged well with clear English-language explanation.  One thing that did bother a little bit, was a guided tour that seemed to be following us around.  Personally, a guide really isn't necessary, and such groups can be a bit of a distraction.

    The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum did a really good job of taking you to the point of understanding how we got to the stage where a nuclear bomb was dropped on the city, allowing visitors to make up their own minds about the rights and wrongs of the events.  In this regard, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, in this visitor's opinion, is lacking.  Japan's misadventures in China and the Pacific seem to have just been tagged onto the end of the museum experience as an after thought, and one that you really have to sit down and research for yourself.  

    Overall though, the exhibits here are handled very well, and anyone who should be in this part of Japan really ought to pay the museum a visit for what is a powerful, informative, and very important experience.


    Entrance: Adults - 200 yen / Students and Children / 100 yen

    Hours: 8:30 - 17:30 (admission until 17:00)

    Access: The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum is a 15-min walk from JR Urakami Station and a 5-min walk from Hamaguchi-machi streetcar stop.

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