Yaizu, Japan (1977)

Hobart's sister city relationship with Yaizu is our city's longest and most enduring international relationship. The Hobart–Yaizu sister city relationship was formalised in 1977, making it Australia's sixth oldest Japan–Australia sister city.

The origins of this relationship began with the tuna fishing fleets from Yaizu harbouring in Hobart during the 1960s and 1970s. The regular and long visits from the fishermen generated both business and personal connections between Hobart and Yaizu. Yaizu's Mayor Mr Hattori, hoping to capitalise on the positive relationships, sent a letter to the then Hobart Lord Mayor, Alderman Doug Plaister. During a visit to Yaizu in the mid 1970s to hold discussions regarding establishing the friendship agreement, Lord Mayor Plaister met his future wife, Fumiko. Hobart became Mrs Fumiko Plaister's new home and she has been, and continues to be, a driving force in building and sustaining the relationship.

In recent years, the relationship has flourished with engagement focused predominantly around cultural and educational goals facilitated by regular student exchange programs.

Learn more about Yaizu in the below video.

2022 Hobart Yaizu 45th anniversary

45 years of friendship, and the sharing of cultures, ideas and knowledge. Look back on the Hobart and Yaizu’s 45 years of Sister City relationship in the below video

Japan's Children's Day

Children's Day originates from Japan and has been set aside as a national holiday on 5 May each year since 1948, to celebrate children. The event pays respect and honours children's strengths and personalities and grants wishes of health and happiness. The event is now celebrated by many countries worldwide, including Australia.

In May 2019 Hobart ran its first Japan's Children's Day celebration in partnership with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and has run the event each year since. The free public event includes beautiful traditional Koinobori (windsocks) alongside a colourful array handmade by local school children, displayed throughout the Japanese Gardens.


More information can be found on the Japan's Children's Day Celebration page.

2020 New Lines of Sight

Thirty years of cultural student exchanges between Hobart and Yaizu in Japan were celebrated with an art project that reflected on a shared vision of the future.

Created by community artist Sara Wright and exchange students from Yaizu and their host students from Mt Carmel College, New Lines of Sight, displayed on the City’s Soap Box Billboards, was a creative consideration navigating bias and sharing cultural perspectives. The result was a collective dreaming for the future: a global society of friendship, reciprocity and peace.

New Lines of Sight
2020 New Lines of Sight - Sandra Soccol

New Lines of Sight project page

2017 Hobart Yaizu 40th anniversary celebrations

February 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship. A number of celebratory events were organised and included a martial arts demonstration, Origami, Kimono and Yukata displays, Taiko drum demonstrations, an official celebratory dinner and a tree planting ceremony (Japanese Flowering Cherry - Prunus serrulata ‘Ukon’) in the Japanese garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.

Japanese Samurai battling each other

2017 40th Anniversary - Alastair Bett

Japanese child wearing face paint

2017 40th Anniversary - Alastair Bett

Japanese women dancing in traditional clothing

2017 40th Anniversary Alastair Bett

Tree planting in action
Group posing in front of newly planted tree

2017 40th Anniversary tree planting Australian Royal Botanical Gardens - Rosie Hastie

A delegation of Aldermen, Council officers and community members also visited Yaizu in August 2017 to take part in reciprocal celebrations that included the naming ceremony of 'Hobart Street' a formal dinner highlighting local creative talent and attendance at the annual Aru Matsuri Festival.

crowd of people at Aru Matsuri festival
2017 Aru Matsuri Festival - Phillip Holliday

Student exchange program

The student exchange program initiated in 1989 is a much-anticipated event for both participating Hobart and Yaizu students, families and schools. 

Yaizu student's home-stay, with students and families from Hobart's host schools, provide visiting students with insights into both Tasmanian school and family life. During the visits, students and families develop meaningful and often enduring relationships. The City of Hobart provide organisational support to this program, working with the schools in both Yaizu and Hobart and fostering the necessary link to the Yaizu government.

Most years, students from Hobart travel to Yaizu to enjoy a similar experience of being hosted by families and attending school.   

Hobart and Yaizu students, schools and families regard the student exchange program as a highly valuable experience stimulating a deeper commitment and engagement in language studies, further education, cultural curiosity, understanding, tolerance and fostering future opportunities in employment, travel and friendships.

Other activities

The City of Hobart and Yaizu City have worked together on a range of activities including:

  • Annual combined school visits to Town Hall, Government House, Richmond and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary with visiting Yaizu students and students from St Mary's, Mount Carmel and St Virgil's Colleges.

  • kids patting koala at Bonorong

    Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary - City of Hobart

    Group of kids on Richmond bridge

    Richmond Bridge - Rohan Prior

  • On-going visits and public performances over a number of years by the acclaimed Yurikamome Children's Choir including engagements with local Hobart school choirs. In 2018, Hobart again welcomed the choir, with a previous Yurikamone choir child performer returning with the choir as an adult instructor.

    Japanese children's choir in action
    2018 Yurikamome Children's Choir - Alastair Bett

  • The 2013 Myer Hobart Christmas Pageant parade included the Mayor of Yaizu and delegates parading with an Omikoshi (Japanese Portable Shrine) built in Hobart as part of a cultural exchange collaboration with Tarremah Steiner School.

    Japanese guests at the Christmas pageant
    Japanese crowd during Christmas pageant

    2013 Myer Hobart Christmas Pageant - Eric Graudins

  • In 2012, The Taste of Tasmania's seven-day summer food festival facilitated a food-stall run by members of the Yaizu–Hobart Friendship Association, a Yaizu City visiting staff member and the Hobart Sister City Committee.

    Japanese women preparing traditional Japanese food
    2012 The Taste of Tasmania - City of Hobart

    Japanese chef preparing food
    2012 The Taste of Tasmania - CoH
  • In 2011, a traditional Japanese Hachoro boat was the international feature vessel of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. The boat, originating from Yaizu Village, was the first of its kind to visit Australia.

    Wooden boat with Japanese sailors in Hobart
    2011 Australian Wooden Boat Festival, traditional Japanese Hachoro - City of Hobart