Peace activists are on a bicycle trip carrying a flame born from the ruins of atomic-bombed Hiroshima, which they hope to present to Pope Francis in Tokyo during his November visit.

About 20 people from Earth Caravan, a Kyoto-based nonprofit organization, are biking to the capital to deliver the “Flame of Hope” to coincide with the first papal visit to Japan in 38 years.

The “Flame of Hope” combines embers taken in Hiroshima immediately after the city's atomic bombing that are still glowing in Fukuoka Prefecture, with two other flames in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that symbolize yearnings for peace in the two devastated cities.

It will be presented to the pope during a Mass on Nov. 25 at Tokyo Dome and will go on a world tour.

The caravan, including children of hibakusha atomic bomb survivors, first lit the fire from the flame that has been kept burning in the Hoshinomura district of Yame, Fukuoka Prefecture.

The flame has been in Yame since a local man brought back embers from Hiroshima after the atomic bomb detonated over the city on Aug. 6, 1945. The man went there to search for his uncle, who was born in Yame, but never found his body.

On Sept. 28, the caravan added the fire from the “Flame of Commitment” that has been kept burning in Nagasaki near a park commemorating the hypocenter of the atomic bomb that devastated the city on Aug. 9, 1945.

Then they got on their bicycles and hit the road for Hiroshima.

On the morning of Oct. 6, the caravan attended a Mass held at the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace, also known as the Catholic Noboricho Church, in Hiroshima. They lit candles on the altar with the flame they had carried. About 300 followers joined the Mass to pray for peace.

“I hope the flame represents the prayer that everyone live in peace beyond borders,” said parish priest Kiyoharu Ogi during the Mass.

On Oct. 7, Earth Caravan members added the fire from the “Flame of Peace” that has been kept burning in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Twelve caravan members attended the Oct. 7 ceremony in the park to light it.

The “Flame of Peace” is a powerful symbol and monument in the park, that is to be kept burning until all nuclear arsenals are destroyed.

Caravan member Kensho Ito, a 68-year-old resident of Higashi-Hiroshima in Hiroshima Prefecture, handled the task of combining the fire from the monument with the “Flame of Hope” that the caravan had carried from Nagasaki.

“I want to spread the thoughts and feelings that so many people have put in the flame to realize world peace,” Ito said.

The caravan is scheduled to ride through the Kansai and other regions and ultimately pedal on to the capital.

The pope is due to visit Japan from Nov. 23 to 26. His itinerary includes visits to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

It will not be the first time for Pope Francis to be handed a flame from Hiroshima.

Setsuko Thurlow, a Canadian activist and atomic bomb survivor who jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, met the pope in Vatican City in March.

After Earth Caravan delivered the fire from the flame in Yame, Thurlow presented the pope with the flame in a small lamp. The pope extinguished the flame in one breath, symbolizing hopes for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

(This article was written by Toko Tanaka and Sonoko Miyazaki.)