About Ami-machi

     Ami-machi has a population of about 48,000 people, and is a mix of agricultural and small-town landscapes.  Its primary agricultural products are watermelons, lotus roots, and ‘yakon’, a root vegetable originally  from Latin America.

     Ami-machi played an important military role in Japan during the 1930s and 1940s.  It was the home of a preparatory flight training school for boys across the country aged 14 - 17 hoping to enter the Navy's pilot training program.  Many of these trainees died in kamikaze missions towards the end of World War II.  Now the site holds the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum, dedicated preserving the memory of the boys who trained there, and emphasizing the importance of peace in the world.

     Like Superior, Ami-machi is a university town.  The Ibaraki University School of Agriculture, and the Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences are both located there.  Through the Sister City connection, UW-Superior has formed an exchange agreement with Ibaraki University's main campus in Mito City, and has welcomed a number of students from there, as well as one from the School of Agriculture in Ami-machi.  UW-Superior students also have the opportunity to study in Japan for a year.

     You can find more details about Ami-machi, and the Ami International Exchange Association (AIEA) here:

Map of Ami, showing Lake Kasumigaura

(pronounced ka-sue-me-ga-oo-ra). 

Source:  Google Maps

Spring in Ami

     The pictures below show our friends in Ami enjoying a 'hanami', or 'flower-viewing' party.  This is a common early spring tradition in Japan during the brief period in which trees like cherry and plum are covered with beautiful blossoms.  The party was accompanied by traditional koto music.

 Community members gather for a flower-viewing party under the cherry trees just starting to bloom.
 The party was accompanied by beautiful koto music.