A friend and I visited this small, tranquil park on a hot, humid October morning. It was high on our list of Nagasaki's peace-related attractions, instituted since an atomic bomb was dropped nearby on Aug. 9, 1945. To access the grounds, which spread across the top of a hill, we took an escalator instead of the myriad stairs from street level.
The Peace Memorial Fountain greeted us with two water jets, designed to represent the dove of peace. This fountain symbolizes the desperate need for water that the blast's initial survivors had. From here, we could see the huge bronze Nagasaki Peace Statue at the rear of the park and walked directly to the big rock pedestal that supports the massive 33-feet-high bronze work.
Symbolism runs rampant in the statue, which depicts a seated, mostly unclad muscular man. His right arm points to the sky, while the left arm remains outstretched. One leg is folded and the other is bent. Confused about how this represented peace, I was happy to see a nearby information board in English. A black marble vault by the statue holds the names of the blast's immediate victims and its survivors, who subsequently died.
On the east and west sides of the park, we stopped to view about 18 much smaller peace-related monuments. They had been donated by various countries and offered signs in English. The entire area was nicely landscaped, well maintained and had benches, where visitors could rest.
The park offers a perfect location, just a 5-minute walk from ground zero. It is easily reached by the blue line, tram stop Matsuyamamachi.