Looking out over the Nagasaki Peace Park, the Peace Statue stands not only as a stark reminder of the devastation that befell this city on August 9, 1945, but also as a dedication to the victims.
Take the blue Nagasaki Denki tram across the street from the station and get off at the Matsuyamamachi stop, just a few minutes’ walk from the park. The Peace Statue is at its northern end.
The statue was inaugurated on April 1, 1955
It’s 9.7 meters high
Every year on August 9, a memorial service takes place before the statue
A black vault at the foot of the Peace Statue holds the names of the victims of the atomic bomb blast and those who subsequently died years later.
Next to the statue, you will find colorful, hanging garlands of paper cranes. Each year well-wishers from across the country and around the world send thousands of these folded origami cranes to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as prayers for peace.
Despite the harrowing history behind this statue, its multitude of meanings make spending some time here an essential part of any visit to the Peace Park.
The statue was designed by the sculptor Seibou Kitamura, and each aspect of it holds symbolic importance.
The right hand pointing to the sky reminds us of the danger of nuclear weapons, while the extended left hand symbolizes eternal peace. Its gentle face embodies peace, while its closed eyes indicate prayer for the repose of the victims’ souls.
His folded right leg is in meditation while the extended left leg is rooted to the ground, asking us to stand up and help the world. Take note of serene seated Buddha statues in Japan, and you’ll see where this posture came from.
Before visiting the Peace Park and the Peace Statue, plan to spend some time at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum for a deeper understanding of this pivotal moment in history and its impact on the Japanese people. It’s just a seven-minute walk from the park. It’s a solemn visit, but also for many, a moving and unforgettable experience.