This article was originally published on April 11, 2018.

Did you know that there is a place in Japan that looks exactly like Sweden? Where the houses are painted red with white corners — just like a typical Swedish villa!

This beautiful town is located on the island Hokkaido, approximately 19 miles from Sapporo, the island’s largest town.




The Japanese town Sweden Hills was built after the Swedish Ambassador, at the time, was in the area and saw how similar the climate and landscape was to Sweden. They started the construction of Swedish Hills in 1984 and today there are 420 Swedish looking houses in the area.

The people who live there are mostly retired Japanese couples who moved in from bigger cities, and there are around 700 people living in the town today.

 

Lupines in the gardens.
Lupines in the gardens.

 




 

The typical Swedish house: red paint, white corners, and a tile roof.

 

It was odd to see that all the houses looked the same. It felt artificial in some kind of way, a little bit like Disneyland. In Japan we don’t have the same design concept, every family creates their own style.” said the Swedish Hills resident Maki Tago to GP when he saw the town for the first time.

However, the Japanese residents seem to love Swedish culture. They follow Swedish traditions and take Swedish language classes, as well. Here you can experience the midsummer festival, kräftskiva (crayfish party), and Lucia celebrations and, of course, the inhabitants also enjoy Swedish fika. Once a month there’s an event where the people of Swedish Hills can meet up and have a fika together.

Kräftskiva (crayfish party) in August is a must!




Midsummer is, of course, one of the traditions that’s celebrated annually, and the Japanese residents are wearing Swedish traditional clothes.
The sister city to Swedish Hills is Leksand in Dalarna, where they got this traditional Swedish Dalahäst from.




Not only the houses but the nature is identical to Swedens as well.



Johanna Skytt

Johanna Skytt

Editor at Swedes in the States
Johanna Skytt is originally from Linköping, she moved to Los Angeles 2016 to study Business & Management of Entertainment and Producing.

She travels as often as she can and has previously lived on the Greek island Cyprus. When she has a free day she loves to explore LA, go to farmers market and watch movies.
Johanna Skytt

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