One crisp autumn day in 1993, a delegation from Sayama, Japan, sipped tea in the garage bays of the old Worthington fire station, which served as the temporary home of the City administration while the new Municipal Building was under construction. Seeking to identify a friendship city, the Japanese delegation was visiting several central Ohio cities, including Worthington. Later that winter, officials in Worthington received an official request from the Sayama International Friendship Association (SIFA) to become Sayama’s friendship city.
In acceptance of the invitation, the City of Worthington formed the Worthington International Friendship Association (WIFA) and visited Sayama in 1994 to bind the friendship. Five years later, in 1999, that friendship deepened even further with the signing of a sister-city agreement between the two cities.
Today, Worthington and Sayama enjoy a thriving sister-city relationship. Over the years, dozens of Worthington and Sayama delegations of citizens, city officials, students, artists, youth choirs and sports teams have visited each others cities. Delegates enjoy a homestay and cultural immersion experience in the two cities.