Matsumoto, Japan

In 2023, Salt Lake City and Matsumoto City, Nagano, Japan celebrated the 65th anniversary of their Sister Cities relationship. Matsumoto holds the distinction of being Salt Lake City’s first and oldest sister city, with additional ties through Olympic Sister Cities. The establishment of this relationship is credited to the mutual respect and admiration between the two cities, with the contributions of Japanese citizen Tamotsu Murayama playing a significant role. Murayama, a Japanese newspaper correspondent from Matsumoto, visited The Utah Nippo, a Japanese newspaper agency in Utah, in 1957. Witnessing the beauty of Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains evoked memories of the Japan Alps surrounding Matsumoto City. Alongside Murayama, several individuals from Salt Lake City were involved in forging this connection, including Mayors Earl J. Glade and J. Bracken Lee, University of Utah President A. Ray Olpin, Mrs. Kuniko Terasawa, Henry Kasai (the President and owner of the Utah Nippo), members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and the wider Japanese community. The enthusiasm for international culture was reciprocated in 1957 when Murayama delivered a supportive message from Matsumoto City Mayor Tokuya Furuhata to Salt Lake City Mayor J. Braken Lee, leading to the formal declaration of the relationship in November 1958, thirteen years after the conclusion of World War II.

In 2023, Matsumoto City has a population of 243,000, and it continues to be renowned for its captivating features, with one notable highlight being its historic castle. Among the four castles in Japan considered national treasures, Matsumoto Castle stands out as a remarkable symbol. This architectural marvel is accompanied by beautifully landscaped gardens, complete with a moat, encompassing 90 acres at the city’s core. Alongside the castle, Matsumoto is celebrated for various cultural and recreational attractions. These include the prestigious Saito Kinen music festival conducted by Seiji Ozawa, the renowned Suzuki Methods of Music, winter sports and games, wasabi farms, woodblock prints, buckwheat noodles, hot springs (onsen), silk culture, temari (colorful silk cord-wound handballs), and a plethora of modern and contemporary art museums. One museum in particular is the Chihiro Art Museum, founded by Chihiro Iwasaki. Ms. Iwasaki devoted her entire life for world peace through the arts, including her artistic depictions of children amidst the atomic bomb attack during World War II.

For additional information on the Matsumoto relationship, please contact: Board Manager, Katie Matheson, at

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