Sister City Affiliations
Our Friends Across the Globe
Olympia, Washington has a formal sister city relationship with Kato City, Japan (previously the Town of Yashiro). In the early 1990's, Olympia signed sister city agreements with Olympia, Greece, and Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Those affiliations no longer exist.
According to the City of Olympia's Sister City Affiliations Resolution, requests for sister city relationships in Olympia originate by the community. Before the City Council will consider the request, a local group must be incorporated with an established board of directors, a structure in place for the organization to plan and carry out sister city relationship activities, and the financial means to do so without using City funds.
Kato City, Japan (formerly Yashiro)
Kato City is located in Hyogo Prefecture in the Kinki region on Honshu island, Japan. The capital is Kobe. On March 20, 2006, the towns of Takino, Tojo and Yashiro from Kato District merged to form the new City of Kato. Kato District was dissolved with this merger. On April 30, 2006, Mr. Hiroichi Yamamoto, the former Mayor of Takino Town was selected as the first Mayor of Kato City. The main street in Kato City is named Olympia Avenue.
Building a Friendship
On April 22, 1981, the City of Olympia, Washington and the Town of Yashiro, Japan signed a Sister City friendship agreement. Since then, the two cities have exchanged visits of civic groups, students, community residents, teachers, business leaders, and elected officials. In Olympia, the friendship is nurtured and sustained by the volunteer work of the Olympia/Kato City Association. The organization encourages cross-cultural understanding and international friendship through its various projects and visits.
When Olympia dedicated the new Fourth Avenue bridge on May 16, 2004, the City Council officially named it the Olympia-Yashiro Friendship Bridge in honor of the longstanding friendship between the two cities. Bronze plaques mounted on the east and west ends of the bridge commemorate the relationship.
The Yashiro Japanese Garden, created in honor of the friendship, is located adjacent to Lee Creighton Justice Center (former City Hall) on Plum Street. On display in the Garden are granite lanterns and a granite pagoda which were gifts to Olympia from the people of former Yashiro town. Several other commemorative gifts from Yashiro are on display in the lobby of Olympia City Hall, 601 Fourth Avenue E, Olympia.
- To learn more about Olympia's affiliation with Kato City, Japan and upcoming Olympia-Kato City activities, visit the Olympia-Kato City Association website. Visit the the OKSCA Facebook page.
- To learn more about Olympia's sister city affiliation process, contact Cathie Butler, Communications Manager, City of Olympia. Phone: 360.753.8361, or Email: email@example.com