The Pope in Hiroshima


Head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis will visit Hiroshima on November 24.

In has been 38 years since John Paul II visited Hiroshima on the first ever papal visit to Japan back in 1981. John Paul II’s speech on that occasion was titled “Appeal for Peace at Hiroshima” called for the abolition of nuclear weapons and an end to all wars. A sculpture engraved with words from that speech is on display in the foyer of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

This Sunday, as part of the 3-day “Protect All Life” tour of Japan, the current pope will repeat that call when he visits both Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the same day. Pope Francis, who dreamed of working as a missionary in Japan as a young man, made news last year when he published a postcard depicting a famous photograph taken in Nagasaki showing a young boy with his baby brother on his back. The young boy was waiting in line with others to see his brother’s body cremated. The postcard was signed by the pope and bore the words in Italian, “The fruit of war”.

Pope Francis will meet with A-bomb survivors in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as well as some school children who, until recently, thought their Hiroshima trip might be cancelled due to the visit.

On Sunday November 24, after visiting Nagasaki, where he will deliver a message at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park, visit the monument to the twenty-six Christian martyrs and conduct a mass, Pope Francis will make a speech in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park at around 18:40.

If you can’t get down to Peace Memorial Park the pope’s Japan speeches will be broadcast live on the official Pope in Japan 2019 YouTube channel and you can pick up commemorative goods here.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum will be open as usual until 13:00 (last addmission 12:30) before closing until 20:00, when it will reopen until 22:00 (though this could change depending on the schedule, and, one assumes, any unforeseen acts of god). The grounds of Peace Memorial Park itself will also be be closed to the public from 13:00

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of and loves running in the mountains.