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Article ID:0000007400Updated on:2019年10月21日更新印刷ページ表示

A History of Hiroshima's Greenery

The greening of a city begins with planting and nurturing and requires painstaking care over long years. It can only be realized with the understanding and cooperation of the city residents. Below we would like to describe how the greenery of Hiroshima's streets, which had been turned to scorched earth by the atomic bombing, was brought back to life in the immediate post-war period, and call for redoubled understanding and assistance for the greening of Hiroshima.

1. Greenery of the Pre-war Streets

Hiroshima City originally developed as a castle town and before the war had many large historic residences. In addition it had many military facility sites resulting from its prospering as a military city from the Meiji era onward. The rich greenery attached to these residences military and sites could be seen all over the city, and in concert with the surrounding mountains and the clear waters of the Ota-gawa River made for a beautiful cityscape.

2. Devastation of the Atomic Bombing

The atomic bombing that assailed this richly green city on 6 August 1945 burned to the ground all buildings and trees within a 2 kilometer radius of the hypocenter. Within a 4 kilometer radius most houses were demolished and trees had their trunks burned by the heat-rays and their branches and leaves blown away by the blast. Thus the city was reduced to an ashen-colored wasteland bereft of all green.

3. Rebirth of Greenery

In rebuilding itself from the devastation of the atomic bombing, the City of Hiroshima took pains to bring as many trees as possible into the blackened wasteland that its urban landscape had become. A first step was to restore the ruined Hijiyama Park in 1948, by means of an erosion control project carried out with assistance from the prefectural government. The Prunus yedoensis (Japanese cherry, SAKURA) and many trees planted there at that time have grown splendidly.

From around 1950 onwards work to improve the city's streets by lining them with trees gained momentom, individual streets being lined with particular species to give them a unique character. The numerous instances included the rows of Lagerstroemia indica (Crape myrtle, SARUSUBERI) extending from Aioi -bashi Bridge to the Kamiya-cho district, and the rows of Prunus yedoensis (Japanese cherry, SAKURA) in the Kyobashi-cho district, of Pterocarya rhoifolia (Wingnut, SAWAKURUMI) in the Shinsenba district, of Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet gum, AMERIKAHU) in the Ushita-cho district, and of Acer Buergerianum (Trident maple, TOKAEDE) in the Moto-machi district. However some of these trees proved unsuited to the soil and others were unable to adapt to the rapid urbanization that ensued, with the result that today only some of those tree-lined streets remain.

In 1957 and 1958 a city-wide tree provision campaign under the slogan "A Dream-Hiroshima 20 Years Hence" carried out tree-planting along the Peace Boulevard and in the Peace Memorial and Chuo Parks, with the assistance of the city residents and those of some 23 towns in 4 neighboring counties. Some 1,200 trees donated for the campaign were transplanted to the Peace Boulevard's green zones in 1957 and another 1,300 or so in 1958, besides numerous bushes.

tree provision campaign

The successful transplants have grown splendidly and today form part of the Peace Boulevard's green character. In each season they benefit people strolling the streets in a different way, providing leafy shade in the summer, and taking the edge off the cold in the winter with vistas of green foliage.

the Peace Boulevard


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