Tucked up in the hills about 30 km (19 miles) away from Sapporo City, Japan, there is a small village called Sweden Hills. Stepping foot into this distinct Swedish-style town located in Tobetsu, on Hokkaido Island, one is transported out of Japan and straight into another country. The town specializes in all things Swedish: from folk crafts and traditional Swedish holidays to the characteristic red and white European architecture, it is enough to draw Swedish tourists from far and wide to a little chunk of their homeland.
Despite being nearly 8,000 km (5,000 miles) away from Sweden, this little town in Japan has adopted many of the nation's customs, earning itself a sister city. (A sister city or twin town is a legal agreement struck between countries to promote cultural and commercial ties.) The town's sister city is named Leksand in Dalarna County, Sweden which may have something to do with the related atmosphere that can be found in Sweden Hills.
This budding relationship between the two towns and nations actually began over 30 years ago. Planning for Sweden Hills started in 1979, when a Swedish Ambassador visited the area and was struck by how similar it was to his home country. Construction on the city commenced in 1984 and, as of 2005, there were 550 residents reported to have called this quirky little village their home.
Residents of Sweden Hills have absolutely embraced the Swedish culture, from learning the language to celebrating Midsummer festival (complete with a trademark maypole) and even participate in crayfish parties. Lots of national flags and traditional Swedish outfits can be spotted along the streets of this quirky little town, as the locals take the idea of cultural fusion to the next level.
via [Did You Know]
All images via Sweden Hills, Japan Property Central, and KameraTrollet.