Kanazawa Kenroku-en garden_3.jpg
Kenroku-en tuin met kotojilantaarn, Kanazawa

Twin city Kanazawa

A strong twinning with the Japanese city Kanazawa

Kanazawa and Ghent have been twin cities since 1971. Kanazawa was founded in 1583 as a castle town and currently has more than 465.000 inhabitants as the capital city of the Ishikawa 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 worldly renown 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

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. Inhabitants 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 Citadalpark, a present for the 35th t twinning anniversary, and the Ranshō 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 Parc 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, as stated in the latest cooperation agreement of 2016, lies on student exchanges, cultural cooperation, tourism and promotion, sport, promoting youth exchanges and cooperation as UNESCO creative cities. The ties between both cities are even more strengthened with exchanges of students, academics, musicians, artists, sportsmen, (pastry) chefs, …The cities themselves also learn a lot from each other by sharing their knowledge, for example, about SDGs. Kanazawa also got inspired by Ghent’s lightning plan. 


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 Ghent University and 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, there 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, both bands became ‘sister’ big bands. Click here to 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

Atmospheric images cooperation Ghent-Kanazawa

See here for some atmospheric images of cooperation projects between Ghent and Kanazawa

Download the presentation PDF (31.08 MB)