On August 13, 1979, the City of Marquette entered a formal Sister City friendship with the city of Higashiomi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, a part of the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Program that was founded over 50 years ago.
Since then, Marquette’s relationship with Higashiomi has blossomed. Our two cities trade annual delegation visits, during which delegates live with host families, participate in native cultural activities, and learn from one another.
In addition to annual delegation visits, the MASCP also works to host a series of outreach programs and events to engage and educate the Marquette community about our role in promoting international friendships. Art exhibitions, annual celebrations, and community workshops are just some of the ways we share the rich culture and traditions of our Japanese friends.
We are proud to be celebrating the 43rd Anniversary of our friendship with Higashiomi, and are looking forward to the many great years to come.
Upon Japan’s creation of a modern municipalities system, the town of Yōkaichi was established in 1889 within the Gamō District as part of the ancient Ōmi Province. In 1954, Yōkaichi merged with the villages of Hirata, Ichinobe, Tamano, Misono, and Takebe, elevating it to city status.
Half a century later, in 2005 the city of Higashiōmi was established after the city of Yōkaichi merged further with the neighboring towns of Eigenji, Gokashō, Aitō, and Kotō, followed by Notogawa and Gamō in 2006.
Higashiōmi is located in east-central Shiga Prefecture, with a small shoreline along the eastern shore of Lake Biwa and extending inland to the Suzuka Mountains; parts of the city are within the borders of the Suzuka Quasi-National Park. Their climate is characterized by particularly warm summers (peaking with average highs of about 90°F in July and August) and, relative to Marquette, mild winters (average highs of 45°F in January). As such, Higashiōmi rarely sees snowfall.
Higashiōmi’s modern economy is centered primarily on agriculture and light manufacturing, and the city is home to several industrial parks with production factories for major manufacturing companies including Panasonic and Kyocera.
Higashiōmi is considerably larger than Marquette with a population of 113,000 (as of 2021) and total area of nearly 150 square miles (about eight times that of Marquette).
Marquette is one of Higashiōmi’s six sister cities, sharing the honor with: Changde, China; Jangam-myeon, South Korea; Rättvik, Sweden; Taber, Canada; and Tongyeong, South Korea.