Global Connections: The International Sister Cities of Matsumoto

Considered an effective way to connect people and promote cultural and commercial ties across countries, the concept of international sister cities has been popular in Japan from the second half of the twentieth century. The first such relationship was established in 1955 – between Nagasaki in Kyushu Prefecture and St. Paul in Minnesota in the United States – with an intention to promote peace and understanding. Since 1958 our home town of Matsumoto has forged multiple international relationships with the first of those, with Salt Lake City in the United States, being the first such agreement of any place in Nagano Prefecture

Salt Lake City / Utah / United States of America

As the capital of Utah, Salt Lake City is the political, economic and cultural center of the state and western highlands. Salt Lake City is blessed with a climate and environment similar to that enjoyed by Matsumoto and is considered to be one of the most pleasant urban areas in the United States.

Credit Photo Unsplash:

Established in November 1858, the international sister city status between Salt Lake and Matsumoto was the thirteenth overall such relationship forged in Japan and the first of its kind in Nagano Prefecture. Salt Lake City sits at an elevation of 1,280 metres, around double the elevation of Matsumoto City at 600 metres above seas level. Both cities act as the gateway to nearby mountains – the Wasatch Range outside Salt Lake City and the Japanese Alps nearby Matsumoto, respectively.  

Credit Photo Unsplash:

Grindewald / Canton of Bern / Switzerland

The mountain town of Grindewald in Switzerland established a second international sister city relationship with Matsumoto in 1972. Much like both Salt Lake City and Matsumoto, Grindewald is also known as pleasant hub city that provides access to fantastic hiking, mountaineering and winter sports. Since forging the relationship, the two cities have enjoyed regular contact including delegations and students exchanges along with ski and music-related events.

The relationship between Grindewald and Matsumoto was created following the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo. A Swiss hotelier named Roland Rutin attended the Games as chief judge and while there was approached by Manabu Kanemastu – Chairman of the Japan Travel Bureau Foundation – who proposed linking the two cities given the similar economies and environments they shared. Since that time the two cities have enjoyed a productive and friendly relationship that is sure to continue into the future.

Credit Photo Unsplash:

Other International Relationships Enjoyed by Matsumoto

More recently, Matsumoto City has agreed affiliations with two additional international sister cities around the world – Kathmandu in Nepal in 1989 followed by Langfang City in China in 1995.

Credit Photo Unsplash:

One thought on “Global Connections: The International Sister Cities of Matsumoto

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *