After visiting the Peace Park in the morning I went to the Shukkei-en Gardens which were a short walk from my hotel. These gardens feature heavily in John Hersey's article, called Hiroshima, which was published in the New Yorker magazine in August 1946. It was the first article to be printed in The US about the horror and destruction caused by the atomic bomb and it won Hersey the Pulitzer Prize.
Hersey's article tells of the survivors gathering in the gardens and sheltering from the fires which were raging throughout the city. It is hard to imagine what those people went through when sitting in those beautiful and peaceful gardens today. I sat by the river and read the chapter in the article describing the suffering and bewilderment of the people on that day. It really brought a tear to my eye as I tried to imagine those poor souls huddled underneath those burnt trees totally unaware as to what had happened to their beautiful city.