Peace Museum visitors tripled between April and November compared to last year with recovery in school trips, but still half of that before COVID-19 pandemic

by Fumiyasu Miyano, Staff Writer

The number of visitors to the Peace Memorial Museum located in the city’s Naka Ward, which declined drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is beginning to return. 755,858 people visited the museum between April and November—three times the number for the same period in 2021. This is believed to be due to the lifting of restrictions on movement or the museum’s temporary closure last year due to the spread of infections. However, the number is still half that of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. A key point will be to what extent the number of foreign tourists return in the future.

According to the museum, the number of visitors between April and November 2022 increased by 489,560 compared to the same period in 2021. However, it was 49.8% of the number for the same period in 2019, when 1,517,102 people visited the museum. By month, November had the highest month of visitors in 2022 with 148,349 visiting the museum. However, it was 74.9% for the same period in 2019.

Furthermore, the number of elementary, junior high and senior high school students on school trips and other group visitors between April and November 2022 was 283,132, recovering to 94.9% of that for the same period in 2019. The number of visitors in November was 129.9% for the same period in 2019, while parking spaces on the south side of the museum, which accommodates about 50 cars, were full with large travel buses. A city official in charge of tourism promotion says many Japanese schools have switched their trip destinations from overseas to Hiroshima probably because they can return to their hometowns by a land route even in the case of being infected with the corona virus.

On the other hand, the number of foreign visitors to the museums between April and November was 47,968, five times that for the same period in 2021, but still down 10.6% compared to 2019. There were, however, signs of an uptick since the government lifted restriction on individual inbound tourists to Japan on October 11. Staff at the museum’s Outreach Division says, “We would like to provide as many visitors as possible with opportunities for learning about the realities of the atomic bombing through multilingualization of the museum’s website and increasing the number of A-bomb testimonies.

(Originally published on December 22, 2022)