Momotaro statue – revisited

This statue was given to the City of San Jose, CA from Okayama City, Japan in 1993.
It stands, looking out across the sea (San Carlos Street). You can visit it by noting that it’s around the corner from the entrance to the Center for Performing Arts in Guadalupe Park, just off the corner of Almaden Boulevard.

There are many versions of the folktale. This is one of them: Momotaro Folk Tale (the version told to children)

We are currently working on a special presentation of the origin legend from which this folktale began. Look for announcements here about the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the San Jose-Okayama Sister City relationship in 2017 in San Jose!

Thank you to Mr. Joe Jedges, International Affairs Manager for the City of San Jose,  for the great photograph!
OKAYAMA SC STATUE cropped copy.jpg

ARTwork – Students from 1960’s-70’s

Artist, Mr. Kozu Ihara, Okayama, Japan.

This is just one of the pieces of artwork among over two hundred that were found in the garage of a local resident who had taken care of the estate of a friend after his friend’s death. The gentleman was an art teacher at local schools. And perhaps, at some time was either involved in the art exchange or wanted to protect the artwork that so many students had sent from their homes and schools in Okayama, Japan to San Jose, CA USA.

Some of these paintings are on display in the Rotunda wing of the San Jose City Hall. The exhibit is curated by Robin Treen. The San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities committee is looking for people who might remember this exchange which took place in the 1960’s and 1970’s through perhaps Lincoln High School or other local downtown schools.

If you have any information or this jogs your memory and would like to find out more, please email: and we’ll be sure to get back to you!

2017 April, will see a delegation of about 100 people from Okayama, Japan. They will fly ANA to Mineta International Airport for a three day celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the San Jose-Okayama Sister City relationship!

Come one, Come all! All local citizens are invited to the many events that will be open to the public! Please mark your calendars and prepare for a fun time!

Downtown Doors

This fabulous piece of artwork by an Nene Ozaki, a high school student from Okayama, Japan was selected but the San Jose Downtown Foundation to grace one of the ‘doors’ of Downtown San Jose. Her explanation of her drawing/collage is that she sometimes feels isolated and when she does, she draws things that she really likes, and that makes her feel better. She wanted the piece to select her own sensibilities and joys in life.

The piece is called “Self confirmed Style.”

Nene will receive a small stipend as will her school.

SJ-Okayama Sister Cities worked with both the SJ Downtown Foundation & Okayama, Japan, and is the very proud sponsor of this door.


Sister Cities Walkway

Robert Doerr was a former Mayor of San Jose in the 1950’s and the Mayor at the time of the establishment of the Sister City Programs and played a key role in that effort as a Charter member of the Sister Cities programs, Okayama being the first of the San Jose Sister Cities.  Mayor Doerr and his wife traveled to Okayama in the late 1950’s which helped to create the strong bond between the two cities.
The new trail can be seen at Doerr Parkway at Doerr Park at Wilshire Drive and Potero Drive in San Jose (just off Camden Ave), near the tennis courts. Each of the sister  cities is highlighted here.
Special thanks to the Parks Department of the City of San Jose and Yves Zsutty for their work on this project.

Want to see Okayama?


Why are San Jose and Okayama City Sister Cities?

Before San Jose came to be known as the capitol of Silicon Valley, it was known for its beautiful and bountiful orchards. From the top of the hills around San Jose, a person could look out across the valley over blossoms of peaches, apricots, and plum trees! The Valley of Hearts delight made itself known in other dimensions with the advent of the silicon chip. Innovation and hi-tech made Silicon Valley a mecca for the digital revolution as farmers moved either further south or north to accommodate the growth of these new companies.

Close to 60 years of changes in each city still reflect the beginning of the relationship with a lasting appreciation for artisans, artistry and our person-to-person experiences. There is care taken to cherish the past and look towards the future.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau of Okayama features a welcome message (in English!) from the Governor of Okayama Prefecture!



And from San Jose – we’re also all about the sunshine!

Our Honorary Chair

At the recent 60th Anniversary of Sister Cities International Regional reception, we were honored to hear formers US Cabinet Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, confirm his commitment to be Honorary Chair of the San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities.

We could ask for no greater honor nor guidance for the organization and the upcoming 60th Anniversary of the San Jose=Okayama Sister City relationship in 2017.

Thank you, Norm!

(Sec. Mineta is 4th from the left. Between the Secretary and Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, is Sister Cities International President/CEO, Mary Kane. They are joined by Presidents of San Jose’s Sister Cities)

Thank you to Tina Urata, Board Member of San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities for the photo!

SCI-Dublin Awards 2016

Visit from our Friends in Okayama

November 12-15, 2015

There were meetings with Matt Mahood of San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, Team San Jose and the Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo and an Opening Ceremony & Symposium for the Silicon Valley Office of the University of Okayama attended by Consul General of Japan, Jun Yamada, The President of Okayama University, Dr. Kiyoshi Morita, the President of San Jose State University, Susan Martin, Dean Ruth Huard, San Jose State University and Councilmember District 3, City of San Jose, Raul Peralez.

There were five delegates from the City of Okayama and 15 delegates from the University of Okayama
The Symposium highlighted presentations on Big Data, Cybersecurity/Cryptography, BioTech and BioMed
The University of Okayama Hospital is a teaching institution as well as a full working hospital and rated in the top 10 Universities in Japan.


The visit included a trip to Kelley Park Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose ( the bridge and the lantern photos below), Santana Row, San Jose Convention Center, San Pedro Square and City Hall.
Of course, we had to include a photo of the Momotaro Statue which was given in friendship to the City of San Jose by the City of Okayama many years ago. Our park rangers are now caring for the statue which is located just behind the Center for Performing Arts in Downtown San Jose.

Yamamoto-san, Hashimoto-san, Mori-san, Ozawa-San and Maesaka-san
We hope you had a good time! We miss you already!

Kelley Park, San Jose & Korakuen, Okayama

This gate to the lower garden was a collaboration between San Jose architects and architects from Okayama, Japan.
The park was dedicated in October 1965 and was created to model one of the famous three gardens in Japan, Korakuen, in Okayama City, Japan. This gate to the lower garden was a collaboration between San Jose architects and architects from Okayama, Japan.
Contact: 1300 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 277-5254