Program and City Histories:
In the 1970’s a group of engineers from Japan visited Sausalito to study the Golden Gate Bridge and in 1978–88 an amazing bridge was built in Japan between the City of Sakaide on Shikoku Island and the City of Kurashikion Honshu Island, linking several islands to mainland Japan. Officials from Sakaide came to Sausalito in 1988 and placed a plaque at the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, acknowledging the similarities between their feat and our beautiful bridge. In a proclamation recognizing the bonds of friendship between the City of Sausalito and the City of Sakaide, the two cities agreed to establish a formal sister city relationship.
The agreement was formalized on February 2, 1988 to “encourage the continued interest of our two communities in cultural exchanges and in the promotion of reciprocal visits by representatives of the two cities in the fields of commerce, government and the arts.” And thus a strong relationship between Sakaide and Sausalito was forged.
We must honor and thank those engineers from Sakaide who initiated our Sister City relationship. It was because of their foresight and enthusiasm that we have enjoyed our rich connection since 1988, the year in which the Great Seto Bridge opened.
Sakaide has a population of 62,000. It is a port city located in the central part of Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in southwest Japan. The city is situated on the Ayagawa River which runs north and south and is southeast of low-lying mountains. The combination of mountains, river and inland sea blend well to form an area rich in scenic beauty. A temperate climate makes Sakaide a comfortable place to live. While Sakaide’s major crop used to be rice, their practices have been changing into more of a suburban type of agriculture that includes vegetables, fruits and livestock.
Sakaide and Sausalito share many geographic similarities being both water-based communities. Shikoku, the island upon which Sakaide is located, was a peaceful, harmonious island that, for many centuries, relied on the production from its numerous salt fields. In 1972 a new method was developed that revolutionized salt production and this technology eliminated the need for salt fields. The salt fields were converted to other uses such as an electrical power station, shipbuilding and the petroleum industry.
Sakaide became a harbor city and an important industrial region. Through land reclamation, many of the numerous islands that comprise the region were joined and Bannosu Harbor became a focal point. A new dam, Fuchu Dam, was built in1967 to accommodate anticipated growth while also creating a beautiful recreation area for personal enjoyment. To further promote transportation and commerce between the islands, a major project that some considered Japan’s “greatest project of the 20th century” commenced. The Seto Grand Bridge includes a series of 11 bridges and viaducts and was built at a cost of $9 billion. Its six bridges connect five small islands and were designed to harmonize with the nature around them. In one of its many inaugurating ceremonies, the Seto Grand Bridge became the “sister” bridge of the Golden Gate Bridge with the ceremony being attended by a Marin County delegation in 1988.
Sausalito is one of the top 20 destinations for tourists in America today. It is the first city on the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County and has a population of 7,099. Built facing the Bay, its terrain consists of steep, wooded hillsides and shoreline tidal flats.
Its history has included fishing and being a shipbuilding center during World War II and a center for the music industry. It has three houseboat communities, a rich community life, and a strong business and food sector with well-known restaurants. It is a haven for boat building, yachting, and the artistic community. It has a well-renowned prestigious Annual Art Festival in September and caters to tourists who visit by car, bus, ferry and cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge.