International relations, Lyon - Yokohama (Japan)

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World region:


City name:

Yokohama, Japan's second largest city

Partnership treated:
  • Cleantech,
  • Cooperation for development,
  • Creative industries,
  • Culture,
  • Energy,
  • Light,
  • Smart city,
  • Sustainable development,
  • University and research.
First year of the partnership:


The renown of Lyon in the Land of the Rising Sun is intrinsically linked to the silk industry. Around 1860, a number of traders from Lyon settled in Yokohama (Japan) where they established import-export offices. As the main packaging centre for Japanese silk, Yokohama became the favoured partner of Lyon. In 1959, the two cities put their friendship on an official footing.

Lyon - Yokohama (Japan) cooperation, key dates

In 2009, Lyon and Yokohama celebrated 50 years of their twinning and the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port of Yokohama to international trade - thereby opening the way for initial contacts between Lyon and Japan focussed on the silk trade. The Mayor of Lyon intervened on behalf of the partner cities of Yokohama at commemorative ceremonies in the presence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan. The delegation from Lyon present for the occasion numbered 50 people - elected officials and senior figures from the agglomeration - involved in economic development, higher education, gastronomy and culture, to promote Lyon in Japan.

In 2010, Lyon and Yokohama developed experimental models for smart energy localities, with the support of the Japanese NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization). The incarnation of this unprecedented partnership, the smart grid experiment developed on the Lyon Confluence perimeter, is organised around three themes:

  • dynamic building management,
  • management of the charging of a fleet of shared electric vehicles and
  • energy management at district level.

In September 2012, the agglomeration of Lyon attended a symposium on urban vulnerabilities in Yokohama, organised jointly by the University of Lyon and the University of Tokyo. This event was an opportunity to present the strategic orientations of the smart city, relying on the collaboration of the Greater Lyon Authority with NEDO.


Guillaume Arnould

Métropole de Lyon - Economic development, employment and knowledge delegation

chargé de mission internationalité territoire et logistique organisation