"When you look at Japanese traditional architecture, you have to look at Japanese culture and its relationship with nature. You can actually live in a harmonious, close contact with nature - this very unique to Japan."

– Tadao Ando

About Yamanashi

  • Population: 880,000 people

  • Capital: Kofu

  • Language: Japanese

  • Area: 4,465 sq.km

  • Religion: Shinto, Buddhism

  • Major Attractions: Mt. Fuji, Southern Alps national Park, Shosenkyo Gorge

  • Government: 50 executive bran headed by governor; legislative branch composed of a Prefectural Assembly

  • Climate: temperate


In 1959, a typhoon devastated Yamanashi Prefecture. In response, Iowa sent 35 breeding hogs and 100,000 bushels of corn to help with the recovery – an event that is famously known today as the Iowa Hog Lift. (Further information about the Iowa/Yamanashi Hog Lift can be found in this 1988 account by Michael E. Delaney.)


Yamanashi and Iowa would become Sister States in 1960 by a formal agreement, signed between Governor Norman Erbe of Iowa and Governor Hisashi Amano of Yamanashi. This agreement marked Iowa's very first Sister State relationship.

The people of Yamanashi and Iowa continue to grow and nurture this relationship.  Over the years there have been exchanges in students, nursing, agriculture, young professionals and even bacon!  The list of exchanges is endless and it continues to grow.  

To connect further with Yamanashi Prefecture, visit the website for the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago.

Feature Projects

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Yamanashi Job Shadow

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Yamanashi Scholars in Iowa

Recent & Upcoming Delegations

Sept 9 - 30, 2018

Yamanashi BaconFest

Aug 17 - 7, 2018

Ten Yamanashi college students  are spending 3 weeks in ESL courses and job shadowing

Aug 12 - Aug 27, 2018

Ms. Aimi Shimizu is touring many Iowa universities and colleges to learn how to improve Yamanashi higher education

July 31 - Aug 5, 2018

Yamanashi students and teachers are visiting different high schools and touring Iowa

Mar 10 - 16, 2018

I-LEAD and Iowa Corn International Study and Leadership Program held in Japan

Feb 16 - 19, 2018

Yamanashi businessmen are visiting the Iowa BaconFest in order to see how it can be implemented in Japan

Jul 26 - 31, 2017 

Yamanashi High School students are experiencing Iowa culture through home hosts and touring Iowa

More info about Yamanashi? Check out these guidebooks.


Meet the Leadership

Chuck Safris has served on the Yamanashi Committee in various positions over the last 15 years. He grew up in Des Moines, graduated from Roosevelt and attended Iowa State University. Chuck then graduated in 1963 and went on to the US Air Force for seven years where he served in Vietnam.

Chuck then returned to Des Moines and worked at Iowa Power and Light Co. (Midamerican Energy) in Management. He retired as assistant VP of Telecommunications and Data Services.


Chuck is interested in natural science including fossils and minerals.  He enjoys canoeing, camping and bicycle riding and serves on several other community volunteer committees, including Living History Farms.

Cover image from Flickr user T-Mizo

Map from 123rf

© 2020, Iowa Sister States

Last Updated: November 18, 2020