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update:June 10, 2022

Sister Cities and a Friendly City

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra is located 30 kilometers northwest of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Since the 13th century, it has been the summer residence of the Portuguese Royal Family. Though Portugal abolished the monarchy system in the early 20th century, the palaces and churches still stand in Sintra making it an architecturally beautiful location.
Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca) is Europe's most westerly point. The monument placed at the headland has a quote by Portugal’s most famous Poet,Luís Vaz de Camões : “Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa...[Here, where the land ends and the sea begins...].” Many tourists visit Sintra City for its nature and beauty.
In 1995, Sintra was designated a World Heritage Site.

The Sister City Relationship Agreement was established on August 21, 1997.

The reason for choosing Sintra as a sister city is because of a historical connection since the 16th century. Sumitada Omura, Harunobu Arima, and Sorin Otomo, who were Japanese Christian lords, sent four Japanese boys as delegates to Europe in 1582. During this voyage, known as the Tensho Embassy, Albert Ⅶ, Archduke of Austria, who was a nephew of Felipe Ⅱ, King of Spain, invited the boys to Sintra. This was the first exchange between Sintra and Omura.

Even today, Sintra and Omura organize cultural exchange programs on a yearly basis.

Sintra H.P. www.cm-sintra.pt/


Minhang Shang-hai, China

 Minhang is located in the southern part of Shanghai. This current district of suburban Shanghai was a rural area of Shanghai County when exchanges with Omura began through an agricultural exchange in 1984. Since then, the district developed into an urban area and Shanghai County was abolished. The Shanghai County area merged with the remaining Minhang district to form a region.
Minhang has a domestic airport, subway systems and highways making domestic travel convenient. It has a modern economic and business infrastructure.

The Friendship Agreement was signed with Shanghai County on September 21, 1987, and again, with Minhang, on December 13, 1993, after Shanghai County merged into Minhang region.

Every 3 years Minhang and Omura enjoy a series of cultural exchange relations.
The Omura International Relations Department organizes a cultural exchange trip to send young people from Omura to Minhang. Minhang also organizes a youth group to visit Omura.

Minhang H.P. www.shmh.gov.cn



San Carlos, California, United States of America 

San Carlos is 40km south of San Francisco and 18km south of San Francisco International Airport. Being in Silicone Valley’s northern vicinity, and having Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley in its surrounding areas gives San Carlos a diverse and exciting environment.

Known for their motto, “The City of Good Living,” San Carlos has a comfortable warm climate and neighborhoods that are quiet and well maintained. Also, being near San Francisco Port and Redwood Port, as well as being half way between San Francisco International Airport and San Jose International Airport, makes San Carlos an ideal place for international transportation and exchange.

For some time, we had sought for a connection with an English speaking city, and during that search, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced us to a city that was also searching for a sister city in Japan. That city was San Carlos. From that introduction, we began the process of becoming united as sister cities through various reciprocating international exchange visits. On July 20, 2012, we held a Sister City Agreement signing ceremony in the San Carlos City Hall; thus, officially uniting as sister cities.

From August 1, 2012, we began an exchange program with junior and senior high school age students and will continue by receiving and dispatching students each year.

SanCarlos H.P. www.cityofsancarlos.org/


Semboku, Akita Prefecture, Japan

Located in northern Japan, Semboku is a place with heavy snowfall. However, many tourists visit during the spring when cherry blossoms are revered and in the autumn to see the changing of the leaves. The most popular cherry blossom viewing sites include Someiyoshino cherry trees at Hinokinaigawa Tsutsumi (river bank) and Shidare Zakura cherry trees on Buke Yashiki Dori, a Samurai House Street in Kakunodate town. These Samurai houses were built during the Edo period.
Tazawa Lake, with a depth of 423.4m, is the deepest in Japan. The lake is well known for displaying a subtle variety of colors depending on the weather and season.
The Semboku region has many natural hot springs which usually remain open despite the weather, even in heavy snow.

The Sister City Relationship Agreement was signed with Kakunodate-machi on July 18, 1979. Then, on September 20, 2005, Kakunodate-machi, Tazawako-machi, and Nishiki-mura formed a municipality and become Senboku City. Senboku and Omura re-established a sister city relationship on July 10, 2009.

During the Boshin War in 1868, Omura-han sent reinforcements to Kakunodate who were fighting for a new government system. These soldiers helped defend Kakunodate against the enemy, the clans who were fighting to keep the feudal government system. As with the terms of war, several of the 326 men from Omura died in action. One of these men was a 15 year-old boy, Kingo Hamada.

The Mother of Kingo Hamada wrote a poem to show her affection to her son. She sewed it to her son's uniform before he left for battle in hopes it would bring him strength to return. After he died in battle, the people of Kakunodate found the poem and were impressed with his mother's love. Since then, the story has been handed down from generation to generation.



“Futaba yori

te kure, mizu kure

matsu hana ha

kimi no tame ni zo

sakeya kono toki”

Semboku H.P. www.city.semboku.akita.jp(外部サイトへリンク)


From a small bud

I raised you and nourished you

Anticipating my flower

Everything has been for you

It is your time to bloom


Itami, Hyogo Prefecture Japan

Itami has been an important location of domestic transportation since long ago. With gradual up scaling, Itami’s airport became the hub in which it is possible to travel to most destinations in Japan within two hours.
It is said that the adjective shishu, a word to describe delicious sake (Japanese rice wine), originated in Itami at the beginning of the Edo Period.
Though Itami has developed into an industrial city, there is still some nice natural sightseeing to be done. Koyaike Park is known as an oasis for wild birds because many birds stop here during migration. There is also a beautiful artificial archipelago constructed in the pond.
Another point of interest is Aramaki Rose Park. Many species of rose can be seen here. The park open year-round and is home to not only roses but also other seasonal flowers.

Omura has had a strong connection with Itami since the 17th Century.  At that time, Suminobu Omura, the third feudal lord of Omura-han, married the daughter of and adopted a son of Katsunaga Itami who was the lord of Itami-han.

On April 17, 1980, the bond between Omura and Itami grew stronger with the declaration of a sister city agreement.

Itami H.P.: http://www.city.itami.lg.jp/(外部サイトへリンク)