@37 days until Hiroshima Summit: Former Nakajima district

by Kyoko Niiyama, Staff Writer

The upper end of the delta between the Motoyasu River and the Honkawa River, where Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward is now located, used to be called the “Nakajima district.” It was one of the most bustling areas in the city from the end of the Edo era until the Meiji and early Taisho eras. As the Hacchobori became the city’s busy shopping area around the middle of Taisho era, the Nakajima district had a less vibrant atmosphere than in the past, but it was still the area full of people’s ordinary life until “that day.” The area surrounding the present-day large lawn area in the park was called “Zaimoku-cho-suji” street in the past, and had clothing and liquor shops along the road.

Seventy-eight years ago, the district was completely destroyed by the bombing as it was directly beneath the center of the explosion. After the war ended, park greenery was prepared in the area, serving as a symbol of peace. The Rest House at the western end of the Motoyasu Bridge is the only building indicating the last remaining trace of the pre-bombed cityscape now.

(Originally published on April 12, 2023)