Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for global cooperation to end nuclear weapons.
For the first time in several years, Japan observed the Hiroshima Day on August 6, 2017 without the controversy on Yasukuni shrine visit by political leaders eclipsing the spirit for peace around the world.
Three days later, the USA dropped a second atomic bomb on another Japanese city, Nagasaki, effectively ending World War II. It is the only country to have ever come under nuclear attack.
Japan last month dismissed a United Nations treaty banning atomic weapons on the grounds that the treaty deepened a divide between countries with and without nuclear arms.
The city marked the anniversary of the August 6, 1945 attack that killed 140,000 people with a sombre ceremony Sunday, a minute of silence to remember the dead and a call to eliminate nuclear weapons.
"This hell is not a thing of the past", Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said at the ceremony.
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"As long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment".
Nuclear weapons are useless for national security, and possessing them does nothing more than endanger humanity.
"Humankind must never commit such an act, " he added, urging nuclear states, as well as Japan, to join the United Nations nuclear weapons ban treaty adopted in July.
"They reminded the world of the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, Guterres said, and expressed United Nations support for global effort for a world free of nuclear weapons".
Former Assistant UN Secretary General Denis Halliday says nuclear weapons have only been used once - on Japan in 1945 - but remain a real threat.
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