Hekinan - Edmonds exchanges

Since the relationship began in 1988, over 1,200 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.

Highlights through the Years

2023 Hekinan Visit

2023 marked the 35th anniversary of our sister cityhood with Hekinan, Japan. Mayor Mike Nelson and a delegation of commissioners, teachers, Multicultural Association of Edmonds representatives and staff visited Hekinan to celebrate the occasion.


2018 Exchange to HekinanIn 2018 Edmonds and Hekinan Celebrated the 30th Anniversary of their Sister City Relationship

In April a nine-person delegation visited Hekinan to celebrate the 30th Anniversary. In October of that same year, a 20-person delegation from Hekinan visited Edmonds.

2015 Hekinan del4

2015 a Hekinan Delegation Celebrated Edmonds' 125th Anniversary. A delegation of five Hekinan dignitaries traveled to Edmonds for the celebration. They presented the City with an 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, a 27-member delegation of Edmonds representatives traveled 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. 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.

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

In April 2008, an 18-person delegation 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, along with a comprehensive photography exhibit by well-known Hekinan artist Kiyotaka Sugiura.

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)