G7 host city Hiroshima: Five things to know

The Atomic Bomb Dome is seen under cherry blossoms in full bloom at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on April 9, 2016.
PHOTO: AFP

Hiroshima, Japan- Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations are gathering this weekend in Hiroshima, the site of the world's first atomic bombing in 1945.

Here are five things to know about the city: Located some 700 kilometres (440 miles) southwest of Tokyo, the bustling port city of 1.2 million residents is criss-crossed by rivers with plenty of green spaces.

The city was put on the map by a powerful feudal warlord in the late 16th century who built a castle there and gave the area its name.

After World War II, Hiroshima turned to factories and technologies that survived the bombing to rebuild key industries including the auto, ship and steel sectors, as Japan shed its militarist past to morph into a global economic power.

Hiroshima has a rich commercial history, as development was spurred by its maritime links to the traditional business hub Osaka, Japan's second city.

Through the war, Hiroshima was a key military installation due to its heavy industries such as shipbuilding.

It became the target of the world's first atomic bombing on August 6, 1945, which killed 140,000 people, including those who survived the explosion but died soon after from severe radiation exposure.

Following the war, the city became a passionate advocate for world peace and denuclearisation.

Notable Hiroshima natives include fashion designer Issey Miyake and acclaimed film maker Kaneto Shindo.

It is home to the Hiroshima Carp, a popular professional baseball team whose former ace pitcher Kenta Maeda transferred to the Los Angeles Dodgers from this season.

Major automaker Mazda has its headquarters in the area.

Over a million people annually visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near the ruins of an iconic domed building gutted by the blast and an accompanying museum.

The park also has a cenotaph, an arch inscribed with victims' names.

The site hosts a solemn national ceremony every year to remember the bombing, which is attended by Japanese leaders and foreign dignitaries including US ambassadors.

John Kerry's weekend visit will be the first-ever by a US Secretary of State.

Another area tourist hotspot is the Itsukushima shrine, dedicated to Japan's native Shinto religion. The shrine dates back to the year 593.

Hiroshima is known for its oysters and "okonomiyaki", a kind of fried pancake popular all over the country.

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