A group of officials and residents takes turns each summer traveling to the other city and spending two weeks with host families. Last summer Antioch went to Chichibu - this summer a group from Chichibu is here in an ongoing effort to learn about and foster good will with another culture.
"This is a good system," said Masao Sakurai, the Chichibu group leader. "We are getting a chance to understand each other and our different lifestyles."
In 1967 then-Antioch Mayor Verne Roberts organized the exchange, and Antioch officials and residents have kept a personal friendship going with Chichibu officials and residents ever since.
Antioch and Chichibu, although different in many ways, share the geographical similarity of proximity to a river and mountain. And both have had industrial districts, although Antioch's industries are fading fast, replaced with homes, stores and offices.
visitors at Prewett Water Park on Tuesday.
"It's an awesome program," said David Massey, vice president of the Antioch sister city group. "We have gained so many friends over the years."
"It is a wonderful program," said City Councilman Jim Davis. "The people we have stayed with in Chichibu have been gracious hosts."
To return the favor, Antioch makes sure the guests experience Bay Area culture. During their two weeks here they will visit an Oakland A's baseball game, tour Yosemite National Park, Sacramento, the State Capitol, Jelly Belly Factory, San Francisco and go swimming at Prewett Water Park.
Next year, the program will celebrate 40 years of sisterly friendship when Antioch visits Chichibu. The program is open to Antioch residents 15 and older. All applicants are screened and five to seven residents are selected to participate. Applications for next year's trip will be available in January at City Hall.