Twin city Kanazawa

The Japanese city Kanazawa and Ghent have been twin cities since 1971.  The latest cooperation agreement was recently renewed.

Kanazawa City (seen from Mt. Utastu) © Kanazawa City

About Kanazawa

Kanazawa was founded in 1583 as a castte town and currently has more than 465.000 inhabitants as the capital city of the lshilkawa Prefecture. Kanazawa was designated as an UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art for its 22 different traditional crafts such as Kaga-yuzen silk dying, gold leaf, lacquer ware and ceramic. In Japan, Kanazawa is a leading touristic city attracting more than 8 million tourists a year, partly due to its world-renowned 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.

Both creative cities

Kanazawa and Ghent are quite similar cities, since they both are authentic cities loaded with historical and cultural heritage and are recognized by UNESCO as 'creative cities'. Kanazawa and Ghent combine both their rich history and their everyday modern city life in their own and creative way. lnhabitants of Ghent and Kanazawa are known to be bon vivants, with a heart for food and culture. In Ghent, symbols representing Kanazawa such as the Kotoji lantern in the citadelpark, a present for the 35th twinning anniversary, and the Ranshö Garden in the courtyard of the Blandijn at the Department of Japanology, can be seen. With this garden, Kanazawa participated in the Floralis of 2016, which had Japan as its guest of honour, and gifted this garden to Ghent to celebrate their 45th twinning anniversary. Similarly, symbols of Ghent can be seen in Kanazawa such as a bust of the Virgin of Ghent in the sister city Pare and the Dragon of Ghent (of the belfry tower) standing proudly on a post office box. 

Main focus of the cooperation 

The main focus of Kanazawa and Ghent's cooperation are youth exchanges, academie cooperation, cultural exchanges and cooperation as UNESCO creative cities, culinary exchanges and sharing knowledge. The latest cooperation agreement active between 2021 - 2026, was renewed and formally signed during an online celebration on the 10th of November 2021.
The bond is strengthened by various exchanges between students and academies, musicians and artists, athletes, the ambassadors of the Ghent-Kanazawa Supporters Club, chefs and pastry chefs, etc. The cities inspire one another by sharing knowledge and good practices, to build an inclusive, diverse and sustainable society together. Both cities strive towards a cooperation in which they want to put efforts into realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). 

Community feel

Numerous Ghentians actively cooperate with their counterparts in Kanazawa which contributes to a bustling dynamic of exchanges and projects. There are also cooperation agreements between the Ghent University and the Kanazawa University, the School of Arts Ghent and Kanazawa college of Art, HOGENT and Kinjo university, the SMAK Museum and Kanazawa's 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. In addition, the re are several organisations and citizens who contribute to this active partnership, resulting in a real community that the city of Ghent yearly gathers at a network reception. Since the jazz exchanges between the Ghent Youth Jazz orchestra (GYJO) and the JAZZ-21 youth big band of Kanazawa, bath bands became 'sister' big bands.

Watch the video of GYJO's visit to Kanazawa during the summer of 2015. 

Ghent-Kanazawa Supporters Club 

Every year, Ghent university (Department of Japanology) and the School of Arts send some of their own students to Kanazawa and likewise welcome students from Kanazawa. With this exchange only, a bustling dynamic in the partnership is created. A lot of our exchange students also get appointed as ambassadors of the Ghent-Kanazawa Supporters Club and actively contribute to the cooperation and promotion of both cities.

Belgian Coordinator International Relations for Kanazawa 

The sister city relationship gets supported by the Japanese embassy's JET-progamme, which offers a chance to freshly graduates from Flanders to work as CIR (Coordinator International Relations) at the International Exchange section at the city hall of Kanazawa. One of their main tasks consists of coordinating the cooperation with Ghent. Reports of all Belgian CIR's from 2006 on can be read on the website of the Japanese embassy. 

Interesting links


Info and images about the Ghent-Kanazawa cooperation part 1

Have a look at some atmospheric images of cooperation projects between Ghent and Kanazawa (part 1).

Download the presentation PDF (17.96 MB)

Info and images about the Ghent-Kanazawa cooperation part 2

Have a look at some atmospheric images of cooperation projects between Ghent and Kanazawa (part 2).

Download the presentation PDF (18.46 MB)