IT IS hoped that an agreement to twin two castles – one in North Wales and the other in Japan – will help attract more visitors from the Land of the Rising Sun and boost the economy .

The arrangement to partner Conwy Castle and Himeji Castle, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites dating back to the 13th century, is believed to be the first of its kind for the UK.

The Mayor of Himeji, Hideyasu Kiyomoto , travelled to Conwy on November 7 as part of a return two-day visit after the formal signing ceremony in Himeji - in the shadow of the castle that provided the backdrop for scenes from the 1967 James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice, in Sean Connery’s fifth outing as 007.

Following a tour of Conwy Castle, Mr Kiyomoto was taken to see the Smallest House in Britain on the quayside before attending a civic reception at the town’s Guildhall where he was entertained by singing schoolchildren from Ysgol Porth y Felin and Conwy Jester Erwd Le Fol.

Accompanying Mr Kiyomoto were Himeji City Council chairman Masato Ayama, Kaneaki Okada, executive director of the Himeji Cultural and International Exchange Foundation, and Eisaku Yanagita, the city’s director of Tourism and Culture.

Mr Kiyomoto said: “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship and I am going to tell all of the citizens of Himeji what a beautiful place Wales is, and about its proud history.”