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Map depicting Shibukawa City in central Japan

Shibukawa City

Sister City relationship between Hawai‘i County and Ikaho was established on January 22, 1997.  On February 20, 2006, Ikaho, along with the villages of Komochi and Onogami from the Kitagunma District, and the villages of Akagi and Kitatachibana from the Seta District all merged into the expanded city of Shibukawa.

Tamaruya Shibukawa

Shibukawa is located in a central location and anyone going to a number of famous hot spring resorts such as Kuratsu, Shima, or Ikaho must pass through Shibukawa. Throughout Shibukawa there are fascinating hot springs that vary in nature, including Ikaho Onsen, one of the best hot springs in Japan.  Tourist facilities feature farms for touring seasonal flowers and nature, and a variety of museums.  Abundant water sources provide for industrial development.

In the same way that Mauna Kea is considered the piko of the Pacific Islands, Shibukawa is known as the Bellybutton of Japan. It hosts the Bellybutton Festival or Haso Matsuri Festival every year in late July, a festival based on a traditional Japanese form of entertainment where revelers paint a face on their torsos and stomachs and pretend it is a head. A kimono is then wrapped around the waist and the person’s real head is hidden by a large cloth hat. The belly button is traditionally painted into a mouth.

The Ikaho Hawaiian Festival is the largest hula festival in Japan.  It is held in late July – early August. The first festival was held in 1996. The Merrie Monarch’s winning halau is invited to perform along with many hula dancers from Japan. The festival features many performances as well as ukulele workshops and vendors selling Hawai‘i products.

Shibukawa City Hall Suitaku-ji, Ikaho 01 Wakaikaho-jinja torii

Supporting Organization: Japanese Community Association of Hawai‘i

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