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    Omihachiman, Japan, Grand Rapids' first sister city, inaugurated in July 1986, has been host to and hosted by many Grand Rapids citizens eager to learn about the others' culture. Several delegations have been organized to study the other city's cultural aspects, city governance structure, educational system and lifestyle. Omihachiman is located near the center of the Japan Islands on the shores of Lake Biwa, the largest fresh water lake in Japan. It has a mix of public and private schools. Rice and beef are its most important agricultural products. The main focus is the tourism and preservation of historical assets. Local folk arts and local speciality food enchant the visitors. Fresh water pearls, manufacturing of prayer beads and shoes are also famous.

    Omihachiman is in Shiga Prefecture which has been a sister state to Michigan for over twenty years.

    3-24-09 Omi student visit                3-24-09 Omi students Calder

    March 24, 2009 Omi student visit