Hekinan - Edmonds exchanges

Since the relationship began in 1988, over 1,000 people have traveled between the two cities. Typically, delegates stay in homes and are given opportunities to meet residents and business owners and experience the respective cultures first-hand. In addition to regularly occurring exchange programs, the following programs are also ongoing:

Works from local artists have been exchanged and are held in the collection of the two cities. Three Edmonds' schools have sister school relationships where pen pals and other activities take place. One Edmonds teacher currently resides in Hekinan, serving as an English teacher at the junior high schools.

Highlights through the Years

Burke museum2016 ~ Edmonds students travel to Hekinan ten Hekinan students and their two chaperones visited Edmonds in early August 2016. Host families enjoyed a rewarding experience by opening their homes to visiting students and their chaperones. If you are interested in being a host family, volunteering, or participating in planned events during the 2017 student exchange visit, please contact the Commission. Experience the student's adventures in Japan through postings on our Facebook page


2015 Hekinan del4

2015 Hekinan Delegation Celebrates Edmonds' 125th Anniversary A delegation of five Hekinan dignitaries traveled to Edmonds to help celebrate the City's 125th Anniversary. They presented the City with a lovely art piece by Hekinan Council Chair Mr. Tsubamoto along with a flag. There was also a wonderful Taiko performance by Emiko Takahashi, Chair of the Hekinan Sister City Association, and three of her students who were here with the Hekinan student delegation; Haruhi Ishihara, Toru Ogushi and Mirei Sakakibara.


2013 Marked the 25th Anniversary of the Edmonds-Hekinan, Japan, Sister City Relationship

Mayors DelegationTo Honor the 25th Anniversary, Mayor Dave Earling led a 27-member delegation of Edmonds representatives to Hekinan in early April.

In October of that same year, the Mayor and the City of Edmonds welcomed a Hekinan Delegation of officials and citizens. Mayor Earling, Chamber of Commerce President Ron Clyborne, Edmonds Community College President Dr. Jean Hernandez, and Swedish/Edmonds Chief Executive David Jaffe led the welcome for the many events planned for the delegation. The itinerary included:

Cultural Fair ~ at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. This free event included performances by Hekinan visitors, Olympic Ballet Theatre, photography display of Hekinan photographer Kiyotaka Sugiura, along with activities in origami, small hand crafted gifts, kimono dressing, and information on Japanese culture. The Cultural Fair was made possible through a grant from
HMF logo
Halloween Celebration ~
Edmonds citizens were able to visit with our Hekinan friends during the Chamber's Halloween trick-or-treat event in downtown Edmonds. Our visitors were in costume celebrating Halloween in downtown Edmonds from 5 - 7 pm on Thursday, October 31st.

Edmonds Day ~ Hekinan guests toured downtown Edmonds for shopping, sightseeing, and visiting.

In April 2008, an 18-person delegation led by Mayor Gary Haakenson visited Hekinan to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our sister city relationship and Hekinan's 60th anniversary as a city.

Friendship Tree 2On Wednesday, October 29, 2008, the Edmonds Sister City Commission and the Hekinan Sister City Association worked cooperatively to produce a cultural fair to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their relationship. The fair at the Edmonds Center for the Arts included performances of taiko drumming and traditional Japanese music as well as demonstrations of origami, calligraphy, a tea ceremony, and many other displays of Japanese culture. A comprehensive photography exhibit by well-known Hekinan artist Kiyotaka Sugiura was displayed and enjoyed by the approximately 300 people who attended. That evening 135 guests, including commissioners who began the relationship, our mayors, and the Consul General of Japan, officially recognized our 20th anniversary at a formal banquet in downtown Edmonds.

In the autumn of 2004, a delegation of 25 Hekinan artists, residents, and officials visited Edmonds to dedicate the "Friendship Tree" on the Edmonds waterfront. Together with the "Crane" in Hekinan, these two works by Steve Jensen are the most visible symbols representing the relationships between these two cities.

In 2002 Several Seaside Aquarium curators visited Edmonds collecting data and samples for a major exhibit, "Nature in Edmonds," to help celebrate the aquarium's 20th anniversary.

In 2000 Sno-Isle Libraries in Edmonds established an active partnership and now the Edmonds Library features a variety of books in Japanese.

Crane Hekinan City HallIn 1998 Hekinan held many anniversary events to celebrate 50 years of incorporation.

The Hekinan City Hall hosts the "Crane" sculpture by Steve Jenson, commemorating the ten-year sister city relationship. To honor the 50th anniversary of Hekinan City, this artwork was placed in Hekinan by the Edmonds Sister City Commission and the Edmonds Arts Commission to promote cultural understanding, goodwill, tourism, and trade between Edmonds, USA and Hekinan, Japan.

The sculpture is an abstraction of the image of a crane, which was chosen by the artist because it symbolizes both good luck and long life, in keeping with Hekinan's theme of "As in the past, and on into the future, Hekinan walks together with everyone". The artwork is constructed out of molded and welded aluminum. It is placed on a concrete seating base in an exterior plaza outside the new Hekinan City Hall. The project was funded through a public/private partnership. Many thanks to the generosity of donors for making this project possible.

Sister City Contact

City Staff
Carolyn LaFave, Exec. Asst. to the Mayor

Sister City Commission

Current Openings

Office of the Mayor
425.771.0247 (phone)
425.771.0252 (fax)