By Juli McDonald

BOSTON (CBS) – A meeting of young minds from across the world at the Children’s Museum! Close to 100 sixth graders came all the way from Kyoto, Japan to meet Boston kids and celebrate 60 years of a Sister Cities friendship.

“Today it’s important for young people to build cultural competency, learning skills; how to respect each other and try to understand each other,” said museum educator Akemi Chayama.

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Sure, there are differences – but the similarities among the new friends win: everyone loves to play and smile.

“They have the best smiles here! Not in the classroom. They’re having a great time here,” said Kyoto teacher Arisa Furimoto, who teaches English and made the same trip 20 years ago as a student herself.

Students from Kyoto, Japan at Children’s Museum (WBZ-TV)

Even more than 6,800 miles from home, the Japanese students are still learning about their own culture. The Museum is home to the Japanese House, an authentic silk merchant’s house from Kyoto, Japan. This house was originally built in late 1800s, and it was transported to Boston as a generous gift from Kyoto to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Sister City Relationship in 1979. While it is the 60th anniversary for the sister cities, it is also the 40th anniversary of this special historic cultural house exhibition in the Museum.

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The Kyoto kids are excited to see some of our favorite local things too! They’ll visit Fenway Park and other landmarks during their week-long trip.

Local children who happened to visit the museum Friday night learned Japanese games and dances… and practiced origami!

“How creative you can be and how you just look at what you’ve done after it and see what you’ve accomplished,” said 9-year-old Annamarie Blanchard from New Hampshire.

A night of priceless lessons of culture… and kindness.

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“Everyone is kind to us and I’m very happy to come to here,” said 11-year-old Rio Oshiba from Kyoto.

Juli McDonald