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Peace Memorial Ceremony
August 6 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am| Free
The Peace Memorial Ceremony is held each year in memory of the victims of the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15am on August 6, 1945. On this occasion, those who lived through the event as well as those who lost loved ones play a special part in the proceedings.
People of all ages from Hiroshima, throughout Japan and the around the world, as well as a number of Japanese and overseas dignitaries, gather in front of the cenotaph in the middle of Peace Memorial Park. The current mayor of Hiroshima makes an appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the achievement of everlasting world peace. The ceremony is usually broadcast on television stations worldwide.
The seating area is opened at 06:30, but the official events begin at 08:00. At 08:15, the time the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Bell of Peace and sirens are sounded and a 1 minute of silence is (mostly) observed. Speeches, a peace declaration, the release of doves and the singing of the Hiroshima Peace Song follow. Everything is finished by just before 09:00 and a day of demonstrations by left wing, right wing protestors and various anti-nuclear groups take over the streets for much of the rest of the day.
It is usually extremely hot at even 8am and those who arrive early should be careful to avoid heatstroke and are encouraged to avail themselves of the cold water and chilled towels available below the pilotis of the Peace Memorial Museum.
In the evening, there is a lantern floating at which around 10,000 lanterns are put into the water next to the A-bomb memorial. This ceremony is less formal, with are no long speeches, but is very powerful as the light from the dome shines down on the water lit by the many colorful lanterns floating downstream.