Shibukawa City, Gunma prefecture
Location: The middle of Honshu Island, 120 kilometres north west of Tokyo. Accessible from Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train) then a local train from Takasaki Station
Area: Approximately 240 square kilometres
Shibukawa has been given the name of the 'belly button of Japan', due to its geographic location at the centre of the Japanese islands. Established as a city in 1954, Shibukawa is a city with an abundance of nature, tourist attractions and recreation facilities. Shibukawa is known for its fine arts with a number of exhibitions of traditional Japanese artwork and sculptures located throughout the city. It is also home to the amusement park Shibukawa Skyland Park and unique and colourful festivals staged in the summer months of July and August. As of 20 February 2006, Shibukawa City undertook an amalgamation with five other municipalities in Gunma Prefecture to expand in size and population. As Shibukawa City was the largest of the six municipalities, Shibukawa was chosen as the name for the new city.
The main industry of the city is tourism due to its recreation facilities and proximity to nature - around one-third of the city's area consists of native forests and mountains. As well as containing scenic mountains and rivers, the city has a number of natural hot spring resorts. Production of locally made goods includes ceramics, sake and noodles made from wheat. Shibukawa has historically been a large producer of fine silk materials and activities in this industry continue to the present day.
Shibukawa has two public kindergartens, six public elementary schools, four public junior high schools, one special education school and four public high schools.
Exchanges with Logan City
- Official sister city relations tie created in 1996.
- The Shibukawa Board of Education and Calvary Christian College have established a student exchange program that has been running for more than 10 years and involving more than 100 students. The exchange program involves the sending and receiving of groups of students for two to three week periods.
- In 2002 the Mayor of Shibukawa City led a group of citizens from Shibukawa to Logan for a cultural exchange. The group visited local community facilities including Mayes Cottage and the Kingston Butter Factory. In 2004 the Mayor of Logan City was invited to Shibukawa to particpate in the civic celebrations to mark the 50th Anniversary of Shibukawa City.
- Our Cities in Ten Years: A Shibukawa and Logan Children's Art Exchange was a popular and engaging exhibition held in Logan Art Gallery's March/April 2008 exhibition Program. This is the first sister city art exhibition exchange ever organised by Council.
- A group of Shibukawa students from the student exchange programme in Calvary Christian College visited the Mayor and Councillors of Logan City Council in August 2008.
- In August 2010, a Shibukawa student tour visited the Logan City Council in which they met with Deputy Mayor Russell Lutton and toured the Logan City Library and Art Gallery.