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Mayor Ko Receives Courtesy Call from Hirosaki’s Mayor

The two mayors holding Japanese-style lanternsAccompanied by Information and Tourism Commissioner Liu Yi-ting, Mayor Ko Wen-je met with Hirosaki City Mayor Sakurada Hiroshi at Taipei City Hall on November 15. The two sides took the opportunity to strengthen bilateral relationships and discuss possible collaborations for the upcoming Taiwan Lantern Festival.


The renowned Hirosaki Neputa Festival is listed as one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties. Since 2018, the city government has invited its Japanese counterparts to display the lanterns of the Neputa Festival at the Taipei Lantern Festival. These lanterns will also appear at the International Friendship Lantern Zone during the 2023 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taipei.  


Mayor Ko remarked that the 2023 Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taipei will be the first major international festival to take place in the city after the easing of pandemic travel restrictions. Visitors will be able to enjoy these unique neputa lanterns without having to travel all the way to northeastern Japan. He also extended an invitation to Mayor Sakurada to visit the lantern festival in February.


Mayor Sakurada noted that Hirosaki City is located in Aomori Prefecture. It is also known as the city of cherry blossoms and apples, and is the home to one of the 12 remaining tenshu (Japanese castle tower) today. He hopes that exchange and collaboration in the area of lantern culture between the two cities will help strengthen the mutual bond of friendship.


Hirosaki City is also partnering with Far Eastern department store for the Japan Aomori Prefecture Hirosaki City Product Carnival. From today through mid-January 2023, people visiting any of the 21 Far Eastern department stores across the island can enjoy the apples, specialty products, and cuisine of Hirosaki without having to travel to Japan.