Miyazaki, Japan, and the City of Virginia Beach have enjoyed a Sister City relationship since 1992, following more than a year as "Friendship Cities". The relationship with collaboration from JECC has continued to flourish over the years. Mayoral Delegations, Volunteer Program Studies, Youth Summits, Educational and Cultural exchanges, and Youth Musical Experiences are a few exchanges that occur on a regular base.

Many Mayoral Delegations to the Virginia Beach's Sister City of Miyazaki, Japan, have been conducted throughout the years with the full assistance of Japan Education Culture Center. The delegates dedicated their park, Haginodai, which was built utilizing the pattern of Mount Trashmore, and celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of Sister City exchanges, during which time Miyazaki City has modeled Virginia Beach's Volunteer program.

Miyazaki Garden at Red Wing Park
In 1997, Virginia Beach dedicated Miyazaki Garden, a traditional Japanese strolling garden at Red Wing Park, to celebrate the five year sister city relationship. The symbolism of this relationship can be seen throughout the garden. Upon passing through the Torii, a traditional Japanese gate, you will find a pool of sand and two large stones.
Miyazaki Garden

Donated by Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, these stones are meant to represent the two cities separated by the Atlantic Ocean. The grooves carefully raked into the sand represent the ocean currents and the rocky border of Japan's rugged coastline. In 2005, the Japan Education Culture Center donated 100 Yoshino Cherry trees with the hope that the spirit of the Cherry Blossom Festival would flourish in Virginia Beach as it has in Washington, D.C. They are symbols of peace, charity and respect between our two sister cities.

Yoshino Cherry Trees
The Japan Education Culture Center donated 55 cherry trees last year to supplement the 100 Yoshino cherry trees planted there in 2005.

On the fifth anniversary visit of the Miyazaki Mayoral Delegation (1997), Mayor Tsumura determined that Miyazaki would create a volunteer program patterned after Virginia Beach. A Miyazaki Mayoral Delegation made a very successful visit to our beautiful city on November 7, 1998, for the first ever International Volunteer Conference.

The Second INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER SUMMIT was held in Miyazaki City, Japan on October 23-24, 1999. More than 150,000 "Volunteers", leaders and organizers participated in the Summit to which Virginia Beach had been invited.  Former Mayor Oberndorf and Mary Russo were keynote speakers as well as coordinated the public forum. Many Virginia Beach Volunteer Coordinators also accompanied the Mayor's delegation.

1999 - City of Virginia Beach