The Japanese in Cluj

As a result of last year’s trip to Japan, this year we had the chance to host students from the Municipal High School Hiyoshigaoka in Kyoto, Japan. They were accompanied by the deputy director of the school, Ms. Yoko Tayama and their English teacher, Ms. Kazuyo Kawakubo.

The Visits

In the six days spent in Cluj-Napoca the students and their teachers visited the beauties of Transylvania:

Salina Turda and the fortress of Alba Iulia

and took part in a guided tour of the city

ending at the City Hall, where they had the opportunity to meet Mr. Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj Napoca.

The itinerary also included the Ethnographic Museum, where they learned traditional Romanian folk dances,

the Faculty of Letters from Babeș-Bolyai University, where they made trinkets and origami,

respectively the Cluj County School Inspectorate, where they were greeted by the General Inspector, Mr. Valentin Claudiu Cuibus.

To familiarise themselves with the school system and the teaching methods in Romania, the students attended English classes as well.

Being asked what her favorite thing in Cluj was, Mio Yoneda, one of the students said: „I liked the old buildings of the city, they’re very beautiful. However, what fascinated me most were the churches. In Japan there are very few and you don’t get a chance to visit them. I’m so glad I managed to see those here”. „I liked the food, especially the sarmale. They were similar to a type of dish in Japan and I was very surprised to see that they were made with rice,” Kosuke Tahara told us.

The project outcomes

We were curious and wanted to find out what motivated their decision to come to Cluj Napoca, so we talked to the deputy director, Ms. Yoko Tayama, to learn more details: „After your arrival in Japan, last year, our students told me that they would like to meet you, and asked me if we could somehow connect the two schools to make a partnership. It seemed impossible to me. However, they were very convincing, so I started thinking more seriously about it. In the summer of last year, I visited Cluj and I met your teachers who impressed me with their hospitality and kindness, so that’s when I realized that our students should come here too.” When asked if our students could go to Japan, she told us: „Sure. We’ll discuss with your teachers when it would be the most appropriate time for both schools.”


On the last evening of the visit, we organised a farewell party with lots of Romanian specialities for our Japanese guests. Dancing and singing together, we promised to keep these friendships strong in the future.

Although we had many beautiful moments, the school director, Mr. Valentin Maxim-Oros, said that the most important of them all was the last evening: „This informal meeting within the school is the most beautiful moment, one that confirms the success of the Japanese students and teachers’ visit.”

Last year the delegation of George Coșbuc National College presented an official document on behalf of Cluj-Napoca City Hall, represented by Mr. Mayor Emil Boc, to the City Hall of Kyoto, led by Mr. Mayor Kadokawa Daisaku, making the first step in twinning the two cities. Following the visit of our friends from Japan, our school and the Municipal High School Hiyoshigaoka from Kyoto became ‘twin schools’ as well. Therefore, besides the fact that we now have a formal partnership with a Japanese school, we have also created a strong bond with people we trust.