THE enduring friendship between Ballarat and the Japanese city of Inagawa was celebrated with the opening of a Sister City Garden at the Town Hall yesterday.
The garden has been created to honour the upcoming 15-year anniversary of the Sister City relationship between the cities and communities of Ballarat, Australia and Inagawa, Japan.
The unveiling has been organised to coincide with a visit to Ballarat by a delegation from Inagawa.
Headed by the Mayor of Inagawa Yasuo Sanada, it includes several council members.
The garden has been created with the help of Ballarat companies including Ultrapanel and Haymes Paints.
Located in an enclosed courtyard at the Ballarat Town Hall, the garden forms a strong visual backdrop to the Inagawa Corner, a public display area developed within the Customer Service area of the Town Hall.
The two mayors, Ballarat's David Vendy and Mr Sanada, marked the occasion by planting an azalea, the municipal flower of Inagawa.
Cr Vendy said the Ballarat community had gained a lot from the exchange between the two communities in the past 14 years.
"Our Sister City relationship has been a strong and dynamic relationship which we can fully be proud of," Cr Vendy said.
Mr Sanada said he had visited Ballarat several times and felt like the city had become a second home.
"Fourteen years have passed since we signed our sister city relationship and our friendly relationship has steadily developed," he said.
The garden characterises the similarities and differences of the two cultures from a vegetative, geographical and historical context.
It includes garden beds with Japanese and Australian plants with the floral emblems of Victoria and Inagawa.