Takayama, Japan

History of Sister City Relationship

Denver, Colorado and Takayama, Japan became sister cities in 1960, making Takayama the second sister city for Denver.  Japan is an advocate for beneficial, peaceful, and mutual relationships.  An invitation carried by Tomatsu Muayama of the Japan Times in Tokyo invited the City of Denver to started the sister city relationship.  

Facts At-A-Glance

Pronunciation: tah-kah-yah-mah
Region: Central Japan. Located in Chubu region, Gifu prefecture
Population of Takayama: 89,278 (2018)
Population of Japan: 126,702,133 (2016)
Mayor: Akira Tanaka
Spoken Languages: Japanese

Takayama: Of Interest

  • The city of Takayama is known for its breathtaking carpentry.  It is believed that its famed crafters worked on the Imperial Palace and many temples throughout the old Japanese capitals of Kyoto and Nara.  This was especially true after the Reformation of the Taika in 645 A.D.  Takayama residents became known as the “Artisans of Hida” for their skill in construction and sculpture.
  • The history of Takayama dates back to the prehistoric age.  Many ancient peoples lived there, evidenced by the great number of relics and remains of the Stone Age that have been excavated in the city.
  • The Kanamori family, who governed Takayama for 107 years, were a culturally-minded family.  The present structure of the town was formed by putting the political, economic, and cultural systems in order as a center of the administrations of the region.  The Kanamori family encouraged artisans to make various handcrafts.  Their skillful technology continues to receive high praise today.  
  • In 1936, Takayama was reorganized as a municipality.  In 2007, with the annexation of nine towns and villages, Takayama became the largest city in Japan by area.
  • There have been exchanges between musical groups, medical professionals, and business representatives.  This is an excellent venue for sharing cultural and professional knowledge!
  • The Takayama committee also participates in the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Denver.
  • The City of Takayama Park is located at Cherry Creek Drive North and South Colorado Boulevard.

Takayama – Denver Relationship

  • Denver and Takayama have much in common, from a strong tourism industry to geographic similarities with mountains, rivers, and hot springs.
  • Since the official affiliation, the cities have participated in many high school student exchanges whereby U.S. high school students visit Takayama in even-numbered years and Japanese high school students visit Denver in odd-numbered years. These visits traditionally include a fourteen-day stay with a local host family either in Denver or in Takayama.
  • The Takayama committee also plans adult trips to Japan, such as a tour of Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu in October 2017.
  • There have been cultural collaborations like the 1994 joint concert between the Takayama Wind Orchestra and the Denver Municipal Band.  The concert won a Sister Cities International Award and showed how music is an international language!
  • The 1981 International Year of the Disabled Persons, a United Nations proclaimed initiative to promote equality and prevention of disabilities, saw an award winning collaboration between Takayama and Denver that included visits and celebrations.
  • In 2015 Takayama gifted a Koto to the committee commemorating the 55th anniversary of our Sister City relationship. Click here to see Junko Shigeta, founder of Koto Colorado, playing the instrument. Junko is housing this beautiful koto for us.

Takayama Committee Contact Information

Committee Chair: Gil Asakawa 
Phone: (303) 832-1336
Email: takayama@denversistercities.org

Representative Takayama Committee Activities

  • Monthly committee gathering with like-minded people interested in Japan.
  • The Takayama committee sponsors many cultural events. These celebrations include
    • Setsuban- Spring Festival
    • Tanabata- Star Festival in the summer months
    • Shinnenkai- Traditional New Year’s gathering
  • Colorado Anime Fest at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton.  Anime showings, cosplay, costumes, wigs, makeup, props, and a Japanese culture room presided over by our own Gil Asakawa.  
  • Social events such as a Japanese meal-and-movie

If you are interested in experiencing Japan first hand with a general trip or a student exchange, check out our Takayama travel page.


More Takayama Resources

City of Takayama website:
This website highlights general information of Takayama, as well as travel and tourism information.

City of Takayama website (English version):

Promotional video for Takayama
Check out our beautiful sister city!