Hiroshima in south-western Honshu, was founded in 1594 on six islands in the Ota River delta. Hiroshima grew rapidly as a commercial city, and after 1868 it was developed as a military base. On August 6, 1945, during World War II, the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city and 130,000 people were killed and 60% of the city destroyed. Every August 6 since 1947, thousands participate in multidenominational services in the Peace Memorial Park built on the site where the bomb exploded. After the war the city was largely rebuilt, and commercial activity gradually resumed. Visit the Peace Park but also explore the Shukkei-en stroll garden, the reconstructed Hiroshima Castle and Museum of Contemporary Art. Nearby is the jewel of the Sanyo coast, Miyajima Island with its Shinto gate set in the sea to denote the island sacred, its colourful shrines, pagodas and mysterious forests.
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