Shiga Prefecture and the state of Michigan have been sister states for over 40 years! During this period of time Shiga Prefecture has dispatched its government officials to Michigan to serve as liaison for the many sister state activities and exchanges between the prefecture and the state.
Shiga Prefecture is located close to the center of Japan and is blessed with abundant riches of nature. Located near Kyoto, the nation’s capital for more than 1,000 years, Shiga Prefecture is served by an exemplary transportation network. Accordingly, the region has been the setting for many historic events over the centuries resulting in a great number of cultural assets that are still carefully maintained.
The jewel of Shiga Prefecture is Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan and one of the oldest lakes in the world. The benefits received from Lake Biwa are numerous. Centrally positioned within the prefecture, Lake Biwa supplies drinking water for the 1.4 million inhabitants of Shiga Prefecture. It also supports the lifestyles of 14 million people, as well as the cultural and industrial development in Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and other areas in the region. Moreover, Lake Biwa and its environs are a treasure trove of valuable ecosystems. Water sports and leisure activities by the lake are popular summer attractions. In winter, the surrounding mountains offer some of the best skiing in Japan. Indeed, each of the four seasons offers wonderful scenic views of the lake.
The future of Shiga Prefecture appears to be strong and prosperous. Shiga continues to grow as an inland industrial prefecture. Whereas the population of Japan is declining, Shiga is one of the few regions with notable population growth.
As evidenced by its long lasting relationship with Michigan, Shiga Prefecture is dedicated to fostering international exchange and cooperation by actively broadening relationships with its overseas partners. For example, in 1988 Shiga Prefecture built the Japan Center for Michigan Universities to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sister state relationship. Every year, over 200 American university students visit the Japan Center for Michigan Universities to study Japanese language and culture.
In 2008, the 40th anniversary of the sister state relationship featured a visit to Michigan from Shiga’s Goodwill Mission. The Goodwill Missions are a delegation of citizens passionate about furthering the promotion of internationalization. Many members are affiliated with local sister city and friendship city organizations. In fact, there are 14 sister cities and 3 friendship cities between Michigan and Shiga which continue to keep close ties through various and diverse partnership activities. These friendships and partnerships are valuable resources which further globalization and create a better understanding of other cultures and peoples.
Come to Shiga, a region with much to offer!
Water Environment Business of Shiga (PDF - English)
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