Hanamaki, Japan: The Sister City of Hot Springs


Zoie Clift


Hot Springs Sister City delegates are planning to visit
Hanamaki, Japan September  3-11. 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.
Other Arkansas cities with sister city connections include:
Little Rock- has five sister cities: Changchun, China; Hanam City, South Korea; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Pachuca, Mexico; and Ragusa, Italy.
North Little Rock has sister cities in Uiwang, South Korea; Uruapan, Mexico, and Samsun, Turkey.
Pine Bluff has a sister city in Bando, Japan.
Fort Smith has a sister city in Cisterna, Italy.
Gilbert has a sister city with Bride, Isle of Man in the UK. 
Springdale has a sister city in Huaibei, China. 
If you know of any others keep me posted!

Join the Conversation