The area now known as Peace Memorial Park was previously an urban district called Nakajima. During the Edo Era (1603-1868), it was a thriving commercial center where goods coming up the rivers on boats were unloaded, then sold or sent elsewhere by land. In the Meiji era (1868-1912), it was the political, administrative, and commercial heart of Hiroshima, home to City Hall, the Prefectural Office and Hiroshima's central distribution facilities.
It is estimated that at the time of the atomic bombing, about 6,500 people lived in the seven cho (neighborhood units) in the Nakajima district.
On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb in history exploded directly over this area. In addition to the usual inhabitants, thousands of volunteer army corps members and mobilized students were in the area demolishing buildings for a fire lane. Nearly all of these lives were snuffed out as the entire district vanished instantly.
On August 6, 1949, with enactment of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, it was decided that the entire Nakajima District would be devoted to "peace memorial facilities," and that was the beginning of what is now Peace Memorial Park.
The park covers approximately 122,100 square meters. It was designed by Kenzo Tange, a professor at Tokyo University, and three others, whose proposal was selected through a design competition that drew 145 proposals.
At the south edge of the park is a line of three buildings: the East Building and the Main Building of the Peace Memorial Museum, and the International Conference Center Hiroshima.