Sister City Information
Chitose, transportation hub for Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, became Anchorage's first sister city in 1969. Considered Japan's "Last Frontier," Hokkaido is home to Chitose International Airport which serves over 4.5 million passengers a year. Chitose is well known for its year-round outdoor activities. Residents and visitors enjoy baseball, downhill and cross country skiing, fishing, and other recreational activities. A mandatory stop on anybody’s visit is Lake Shikotsu National Park and its several vacation resort settings and mineral hot springs. Chitose hosts an annual snow festival in February and sponsors the Chitose International Marathon each July.
In 1983, a boys baseball exchange program was started which has benefited from reciprocal visits every four years.
With the support of Sand Lake Elementary School’s Japanese Immersion Program and Chitose Elementary School, the two schools began a student exchange program in 1994. The Chitose-Anchorage Friendship Association in Japan has been a strong supporter of this program. Students and chaperones from each school make trips to their respective Sister City in alternating years. Students from Chitose Elementary most recently visited Anchorage in January 2008. Students from the Japanese Immersion Program at Sand Lake Elementary visited Chitose in June of 2009.