International Sister City: Ibusuki, Japan
Ibusuki signed a Sister City agreement with Rockhampton in 1980, becoming Rockhampton City Council's (now Rockhampton Regional Council) first international Sister City.
In the mid-2000s, both Ibusuki Council and Rockhampton Regional Council underwent major amalgamations. To demonstrate commitment to continue the Sister City relationship, leaders from both countries re-signed the agreement. On the first occasion, the former Rockhampton City Council Mayor Margaret Strelow and former CEO Gary Stevenson travelled to Ibusuki in 2006 to recommit, while Ibusuki Mayor Mr Taharasako and the Ibusuki City Council Chairman, Mr Susumu Shinguryo visited Rockhampton to re-affirm the strong relationship that had been created through the agreement.
Some of the major exchanges between our two regions include:
- The Rockhampton Botanic Gardens, Japanese Garden was a gift from Ibusuki to the citizens of Rockhampton. The Japanese Garden was opened on 17 June, 1982 and has been enjoyed by thousands of people since its creation.
- The Rockhampton Regional Council then gifted the construction of an Australian-style garden in Ibusuki City, as a symbol of the eternal friendship. It was opened on 18 April, 1983.
- In November 1998, Rockhampton City Council presented Ibusuki City with a statue of a Belmont Red Bull, which is proudly on display in Rockhampton Road in Ibusuki City.
- The bronze “Sunamushi” sculpture is a reciprocal gift from Ibusuki City. The sculpture is named, “the bather, clad in a cotton kimono” and is on display at the Rockhampton Art Gallery.
Situated in southwest Japan, Ibusuki City lies on the Kirishima Volcanic Zone and is famous for its Sunamushi Onsen, natural hot sand baths which attract 3.3 million tourists each year. It is a novelty for visitors to head to beaches where you can be buried in the black hot sand.
Ibusuki was founded on 1 April, 1954 and underwent major change on 1 January, 2006 when it incorporated Kaimon and Yamagawa, two towns formerly belonging to the Ibusuki District.
Population: Following the incorporation of Kaimon and Yamagawa, Ibusuki’s estimated population was 47,583, covering 148.88 km².
Location: Ibusuki City is a Japanese city located at the southern-most tip of Satsuma Peninsular, at the entrance of Kagoshima Bay Kyushu Island. The city is home to Lake Ikeda (the biggest lake on Kyushu Island) and Mt Kaimon, the 924m tall mountain called Satsuma Fuji.
Climate: A tropical climate that has lots of seasonal flowers throughout the year. The climate here is mild, and generally warm and temperate. The rainfall averages 2310 mm with an annual temperature of 18.4 degrees celcius.
Tourism and events: Major events include the Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon in January, the Flower Festival and Mt Kaimon Climb in March, Kyushu Classic Car Festival in April, the Ibusuki Triathlon Race, Aloha Sengen Ceremony and Ibusuki Hula Festival in May. (In late May, the Mayor of Ibusuki declares it is time to wear aloha shirts to set the Hawaiian mood.) Other events include the Yamagawa Minato Matsuri in June, the Ibusuki Onsen Matsuri, Kaimon Natumatsuri and Baby Sea Turtle Festival in August, Sunamusi Week in October, and the Ibusuki Thanksgiving Festival in December