J-League football club Sanfrecce Hiroshima will kick off the Japanese top-flight season Friday in a new stadium built on prime real estate with the aim of drawing visitors even when matches are not being played.

Officially opened on Feb. 1, Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima is located in the central part of the city, within walking distance from the world-famous Atomic Bomb Dome.

A grass field and commercial facilities, including a store to sell locally made products, will be open adjacent to the stadium year-round from August.

A preseason J-League football match is played at Sanfrecce Hiroshima's new stadium, Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima, on Feb. 10, 2024. (Kyodo)

Sanfrecce hope that Japanese visitors and tourists from overseas alike will come to the new development.

"The location of our new stadium is like Jingu Stadium and the National Stadium for Tokyo," a public relations officer said. "But no other (Japanese) city has a football-only stadium in a prime location like ours."

Jingu is the home to the Yakult Swallows baseball club. The National Stadium hosts a wide range of sports, from athletics to football.

Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima was built with about 28,520 seats, fewer than many stadiums around the country after Sanfrecce decided to limit capacity to maximize the enjoyment of visitors.

Only about 8 meters separate the pitch and the stands, which were built with extra leg space and drink holders for greater comfort.

File photo taken on Jan. 26, 2024, shows Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima, the new stadium of J-League football club Sanfrecce Hiroshima, with the Peace Memorial Park seen in top left. (Kyodo)

Plans to build the new stadium began over 10 years ago after Sanfrecce won their first J-League top-flight title in 2012 under manager Hajime Moriyasu, who currently coaches the Japanese national team.

Sanfrecce shortlisted two potential locations and ended up picking one north of the former stadium site of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team.

Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima drew a near-capacity crowd of roughly 26,000 in a preseason match on Feb. 10 against Gamba Osaka. Sanfrecce will play their J1 season opener this Friday against Urawa Reds.

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