Sister Cities: Hot Springs and Hanamaki, Japan

The sister city legacy between Hot Springs and Hanamaki began in 1993 and is an important international tie for the community.

“It [sister city] is an opportunity to break down barriers for our residents, especially for our children so that when they grow
up they are not intimidated to go to the other side of the state, the other side of the country or the other side of the world,” said program director Mary Neilson in a KTHV interview.

Hot Springs helped with relief efforts after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake ( the most powerful to hit the country) struck Japan
this March. Hanamaki is about 50 miles from Sendai, which was one of the hardest hit areas.

Like Hot Springs,  Hanamaki has bathhouses that feature thermal waters from nearby hot springs. The city is
surrounded by rolling hills and a low mountain range. Hanamaki also has a vibrant art culture and is home to many artists including the late Miyazawa Kenji, Japan’s most illustrious poet.
Hanamaki officials have shown a great interest in Garvan Woodland Gardens since it opened. Visitors can see the Japanese
influence in the Garden of the Pine Wind, which the Japanese named and provided design input. They also helped name and dedicate the Sunrise Bridge, and presented a pagoda sculpture for the gardens.
Hanamaki officials also helped dedicate the Hanamaki Permanent Exhibit at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The museum-quality exhibit features Japanese folk art and an authentic Deer Dancer costume, a famous symbol of Hanamaki culture.  Next time you are in town be sure to be on the lookout for symbols of the sister city legacy.  For more details on the Sister City Program, click here.
Or check out the below THV coverage.

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