Mr. Seiji Sekiguchi and Mr. Takahiro Omori from Shibukawa Ikaho Onsen Tourism Association visited Hilo on Merrie Monarch Festival. Ikaho town, Gunma, Japan and County of Hawaii established sister city relationship in 1997. In 2006, Shibukawa city took over the relationship because Ikaho town, Shibukawa city and other towns merged into the new Shibukawa city.
Japanese Community Association of Hawaii is the hosting organization for the County of Hawaii. Shibukawa Ikaho Onsen Tourism Association is the hosting organization for Shibukawa city.
The history of onsen in Ikaho is long, dating back at least to the 16th century when the stone steps in the town center were built. In 1891, Robert Walker Irwin, the Hawaiian Minister to Japan, purchased a house in Ikaho and used as his summer house. Now the house is preserved as a museum and open to the public.
Shibukawa Ikaho Onsen Tourism Association hosts the annual Ikaho Hula Festival and invites the overall winning halau of MMF to Ikaho Hula Festival 2023 that marks the 25th event this August.
Photos of their visit to Hilo in 2023
Shibukawa Ikaho Onsen Tourism Association website