In 1589, Mori Terumoto began building a castle in a place that had been known as “Gokamura” (literally, five villages) and named the city “Hiroshima” (literally, wide islands). In the following years, Hiroshima prospered as a castle town. After the Meiji Restoration, Hiroshima developed as the political and economic center of the Chugoku-Shikoku Region, taking on the characteristics of both a military town and education town as Japan modernized.
The castle lands which were bordered by the outer moat and the Otagawa River were the beginning of Hiroshima city, leading the area to be called Moto-machi. From the Meiji Period to the early Showa Period, many military installations were added to Moto-machi, giving the area the feel of a military town.
The dropping of the A-bomb in 1945 caused catastrophic damage to Moto-machi, which was very close to the hypocenter of the blast. After the bombing, the expansive area that appeared in the center of town took on a completely new character. With its housing developments for people who lost their homes and its park, a library, the municipal stadium, and other places for people to gather, it played a big role in Hiroshima’s recovery.
This exhibit follows the progress of Moto-machi up until the present day, which also mirrors the history of Hiroshima.

Overlay of present-day map and Edo Period map of Hiroshima Castle lands. In 1887, Moto-machi was the area bordered by Hiroshima Castle’s outer moat and the Otagawa River. It was much larger than present-day Moto-machi.
This map is based on a picture map of Hiroshima Castle Town issued by the Community Development Promotion Division, Naka Ward Office.


At the Heart of Hiroshima’s Changes