As part of the sister city agreement, Istanbul mayor Mr. Kadir Topbaş and Mr. Shintaro Maeda, the newly elected mayor of Shimonoseki met at Japanese Garden located in Baltalimanı district of Istanbul.
Firstly, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş welcomed his counterpart Mr. Shintaro Maeda and his accompanied delegation at Saraçhane City Hall. Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Topbas expressed his satisfaction in hosting the visit of high-level representatives from City of Shimonoseki.
Following the meeting, Mayor Topbaş leaded the guest delegation to the Japanese Garden located in Baltalimani Districts of Istanbul.
Mayor Topbaş participated in a ritual in its way as precise as a Japanese tea ceremony, a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha, powdered green tea for 400 years.Mayor Topbaş said that he participated in Japanese Tea Ceremony every year and he felt good himself for the next year.
The Baltalimani Japanese Garden in Istanbul, completed in 2003, was built with all-out cooperation from the city of Shimonoseki in Japan.
Official exchanges between Istanbul and Shimonoseki were started in 1968 at the suggestion of the mayor of Istanbul. Both cities are located facing major straits: Istanbul faces the Bosphorus, and Shimonoseki faces the Kanmon Straits (Straits of Shimonoseki), and based on this similarity, they became sister cities. Over the years the two cities have had numerous mutual visits by their mayors and other officeholders, and the Turkish ambassador to Japan has visited Shimonoseki.
The Baltalimani Japanese Garden was built to mark the 30th anniversary of the sistercity relationship. Shimonoseki provided extensive support for the project, including the dispatch of technical experts. It is an authentic example of what is called the chisenkaiyu style of Japanese garden, featuring a path around a pond, along with a rock garden, teahouse, nagayamon (gate in an extended wall), and arched bridge.
After the speeches delivered by both sides, Mr. Shintaro Maeda, the mayor of Shimonoseki has been awarded the title of specially honorary citizen of Istanbul by unanimous decision of the city council.