Hirakata City, Osaka prefecture
Location: North-east Osaka, mid-west Japan (two hours from Kansai International Airport by bus or train)
Area: 65 square kilometres
Located between the commercial metropolis of Osaka City and the ancient capital and popular tourist destination of Kyoto, Hirakata is a high-density suburban city bordering the Yodogawa River and the Ikoma mountain range.
The city was established in 1948, and was previously a place for manufacturing of weapons during World War Two. The city developed rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s due to the growth of the Japanese economy and migration of people to the large city of Osaka.
Hirakata serves as a bed town to Osaka city and is convenient for commuting, being serviced by two train lines and the Route 1 highway which runs from Tokyo to Osaka. Both Osaka and Kyoto cities can be reached from Hirakata within a half-hour journey by train. Present day Hirakata is pro-active in its international relations, especially the exchanges of citizens and students. The city government's present focus is in developing the cultural and tourist attractions of the city whilst managing its environmental services.
Attractions include the Hirakata theme park which holds an annual Chrysanthemum Doll festival where life-size dolls are decorated in traditional costumes made from Chrysanthemum flowers. Another popular location is the Kagiya, a traditional inn that housed travellers along the Yodo River from the 16th century. The Kagiya has been restored by the Hirakata City Office and is now a museum.
Local industry includes assembly plants for Kubota and Komatsu earth-moving machinery manufacturers, offices for Sanyo electronics and Daikoro printing as well as a furniture manufacturing and several retail districts.
The area is represented by the North Osaka Chamber of Commerce which provides support for small and medium businesses in Hirakata, and it's neighbour cities of Neyagawa and Katano. The North Osaka Chamber of Commerce has more than 500 members. Hirakata has many retail outlets including five nationally recognised department stores as well as a number of shopping malls.
Due to Hirakata's position and transportation routes, the city has a great number of road-side retail outlets and distribution centres for the Kansai region. Hirakata has many car yards and chain stores selling car accessories. As a high density residential city, Hirakata has a large retail industry to cater for consumer demands.
Hirakata has six universities: Osaka Dental University, Kansai Medical University, Kansai Gaidai University, Setsunan University, Osaka International University and Osaka Institute of Technology. Hirakata prides itself in being a city of lifelong learning and has set up programs where residents can attend university and other schools for studies in a number of social fields. There are also a number of private schools that teach English conversation to both adults and children located within Hirakata.
Exchanges with Logan City
- Official sister city relations tie created in 1995 making Hirakata City Logan City's first sister city.
- Hirakata City, Hirakata Board of Education and the Hirakata International Association have established a student exchange program with Chisholm Catholic College involving an exchange of high school and junior high school students. Kansai Gaidai University has a sister-school relationship with Griffith University involving mutual exchanges of students for a 12 month term of study. This is one of the most successful overseas student exchange program in Logan.
- Hirakata City has donated a miniature Japanese garden located next to the Logan Art Gallery for Logan City's 20th anniversary. Mutual exchanges of residents and students occur on an annual or biannual basis. Major groups visiting Hirakata from Logan have been a trade mission of local businesses in 1999 and the Mixed Beans Jazz Band, a group of Logan high school musicians involved in a concert tour of Hirakata in 2001.
- In 1999 Logan City Council organised a trade mission of local businesses to showcase their products and services at the Global Business Opportunities Convention, G-BOC and a popular department store in central Hirakata.
- The Mixed Beans Jazz Band (currently Logan Youth Music Exchange, LYME), a group of more than 35 Logan youth musicians led by the Music Coordinator of Logan - Albert Beaudesert District, Shaun Dorney, undertook a concert tour of Hirakata in 2001. This was the first joint-project which saw the Logan group present a joint-performance with the Hirakata Youth Orchestra at the Hirakata Civic Hall.
- In July/August 2002, a high school student choir from Hirakata visited Logan and performed in the Sister City Concert as part of the opening celebrations of the Logan Entertainment Centre. The choir conducted a number of public concerts in Logan alongside representatives from the Logan-Beaudesert Education Advanced Music Camp. In a joint performance featuring youth representatives from Hirakata, Taoyuan and Logan, more than 100 students were involved in the performance at the Logan Entertainment Centre.
- In September 2004 the Logan Youth Music Exchange, LYME undertook a concert tour of Hirakata and was the centrepiece in a joint performance to celebrate the establishment of the Hirakata Foundation for Culture and International Exchange. LYME consisted of more than 30 musicians representing Logan City.
- Exchanges have also taken place between representatives of Lions and Rotary clubs in Logan and Hirakata as well as Scout organisations and local schools participating in pen-pal exchanges.
- While the popularity of LYME grew stronger in Hirakata, 30 youth musicians were invited back to perform in September 2006 in the Hirakata's Youth Music Festival.
- In 2007 Logan City Council assisted Hirakata to develop an Assistant English Teacher exchange program. This exchange program is anticipated to be an annual event. Two community members from Logan City have the opportunity to nominate to teach in Japan for minimum one year as an Assistant English Teacher in Hirakata.
- Another member of the Logan community was successfully appointed in the Assistant English Teacher exchange program for 2008.
- In celebration of the Hirakata Lions Club 50th Anniversary, 35 musicians from the Logan Youth Music Exchange (LYME) were invited to perform in Hirakata's Overseas Friendship Cities Youth Music Concert in September 2008.
- 31 talented youth musicians from Hirakata Youth Brass Band, Japan visited Logan City to perform in the Sister Cities Youth Music Concert 2009 on 23 August 2009. The music concert was performed with our local Logan Youth Music Exchange (LYME) in the Logan Entertainment Centre to celebrate the friendships between both cities through music. The Japanese group toured our city from 20 - 25 August to see the sights and sounds of Logan and other cities.