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City of Novi
City of Novi

Sister City Program

Declaration of Kokeshi Doll as the Official Japan Mascot of the City of Novi for 2007

The City of Novi and Novi Community Schools welcomes visitors from our Sister City, Owani, Japan.In the spring of 1988, an informal Sister School relationship began between Novi's Orchard Hill's Elementary School and the Owani Daimi Elementary in Owani, Japan.

Relations began with the exchange of a design for the Alexander Graham Bell kite from Orchard Hills students to Owani students.  The exchange was organized through a Novi teacher and a Japanese family living in Novi that was returning to Owani for an extended period.  The exchange sparked the interest of both schools and the relationship grew through the sharing of art, poems, music, and books.  The idea of expanding the relationship to encompass both school districts and cities was soon brought forward.

In 1990, the prefecture of Aomori provided funds to the Owani school district to finance a student exchange for cultural enrichment.  The first formal visit of Owani students to Novi took place in January 1991.  Further friendships and exchanges were fostered between Novi and Owani students during this stay.  Groups from Owani have continued to make the trip to Novi once every other year, most recently in July 1996.

In the spring of 1993 and 1995, a delegation of students and adults from Novi Schools went to Owani.  The Novi delegations visited all the Owani schools and were hosted by the Mayor and the community.  The trips were made possible through an agreement with Northwest Airlines, business and community sponsors, and the families of individual students.

Read more about Sister Cities at the Sister Cities International website.

Program Goals and Benefits

  • Promote understanding of a foreign culture
  • Foster cordial relations between two countries
  • Provide the opportunity for personal experience of a foreign culture
  • Provide opportunities for learning and individual growth
  • Provide opportunities for exchange visits of students, city and school administrators, and community members
  • Provide opportunities for growth in the area of communication
  • Promote better understanding of international issues
  • Stimulate student interest in careers within the international business and communications fields.

Sister City Facts

Owani, Japan

Location: 140 degrees 41'E    40 degrees 32' N
Area: 164.85 square km
Population 15,116
Households 4,464

Source: City of Owani

Owani is a resort area in the Aomori prefecture at the northern tip of the island of Honshu.  Major industries include "commerce, manufacturing, apples, and rice."  Owani hosts a number of festivals including the Tsutsuji Flower Festival, the Ski Festival, and the Daienji Temple Festival.  The town can also date occupation of the area back to 4500-7000 B.C. through "historic relics of dwelling."


WHEREAS, the President of the United States has requested the participation of cities as part of his program on international relations for the purpose of aiding in the development of mutual understanding between the cities; and,

WHEREAS, it is to the mutual advantage of the cities and school districts of Owani, Japan and Novi, Michigan, and the citizens thereof, to cultivate an educational and cultural exchange, and international outreach between the cities; and,

WHEREAS, this Sister City relationship between Owani and Novi will offer an unequaled opportunity for people of all ages to experience, explore and absorb another culture through a long-term partnership;

WHEREAS, when a community establishes a relationship with a community in another country, virtually unlimited opportunities for communication and creative exchanges are unleashed; and

WHEREAS, Owani and Novi will be committed to a process whereby values are examined, differences acknowledged, and experiences shared, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and City Council of the City of Novi, do hereby join with the Novi Community School District Board of Education and citizens of Novi in welcoming Owani, Japan as a Sister City of Novi.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that through this Sister City partnership, Owani and Novi can learn together, work together, live together, and dream together.  The people of Owani and Novi can reach out to grasp new challenges and begin to solve some of life's problems...together.

Novi City Council
Novi Board of Education