Visitors to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum decline for the first time in six years

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

On April 14, the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation announced that there were 1,329,842 visitors to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in fiscal 2010, a decline of 70,701 people (a five-percent decline) compared to the previous year. The number of visitors to the museum, which had continued to rise since fiscal 2005, has dropped for the first time in six years. The foundation believes that the decrease in domestic travelers due to the recession affected the number of visitors despite the fact that the year 2010 marked the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

The number of elementary, junior high, and high school students who visited the museum in groups on school trips, among other occasions, stood at 308,550. Though the number of groups that visited the museum increased by 213 to 4,505, the total number of visitors in these groups decreased by 2,299.

Meanwhile, 181,847 foreign nationals visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in fiscal 2010, setting a new record for the number of foreign visitors. This is attributed to the fact that the number of foreign visitors to Japan reached a record-high over the past year. However, the number of foreign visitors to the museum from March 12, the day following the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, to March 31 was 4,710, roughly a 60-percent drop compared to the same period last year.

Koichiro Maeda, director of the museum, commented, “Due to the earthquake, there has been a decrease in the number of visitors. We would like to devise measures to address the declining number of visitors, in cooperation with the tourism department of the City of Hiroshima and other entities.”

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum opened in 1955. The number of annual visitors reached a peak of 1,593,280 in fiscal 1991. As of September of last year, the number of visitors reached 60 million in total.

The number of visitors to the National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, which is also located in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, was 215,139 in fiscal 2010, a record number for the facility.

(Originally published on April 15, 2011)