Journey to Ibaraki Prefecture: Experience the natural beauty of the sea and the mountains very close to Tokyo

2019年 08月12日

Located in the northeastern part of the Kanto region, the prefecture's capital is Mito. Ibaraki is a fascinating prefecture with many tourist spots such as the Izura coast, which was chosen as one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan, one of Japan's three most famous gardens, but also the Ushiku Daibutsu, the world's largest buddha, Hitachi Seaside Park in which Nemophilas bloom, Oiwa Shrine, a holy spot with sacred trees, and the Oarai Isosaki Shrine on a hill facing the Pacific Ocean. 
How about enjoying beautiful nature on a day-trip from Tokyo? 

Top places to visit
‐ Kairakuen: one of Japan's three famous gardens. This park was created in 1842 by the Lord Tokugawa Nariaki of Mito. As a city park, it is the second largest area (300 ha) in the world after Central Park in New York. It is 64 times the size of Tokyo Dome, and there are over 3,000 plumtrees of a hundred different types, and the plum festival takes place from late February to late March. In addition, you can enjoy cherry blossoms, azaleas, buds, cherry blossoms, and beautiful seasonal flowers.

 Ushiku Daibutsu:The world's largest bronze statue, it is 120m tall! It is that big that the Great Buddha of Nara could fit in its palm. Located in the Jodo Garden, there is a small zoo, a flower garden and restaurants.

‐ Oarai Isosaki Shrine:A shrine that stands on a cape facing the Pacific Ocean and is designated as a cultural asset of Oarai City. “Torii of Kamisu”, a white traditional Japanese Gate, stands tall in the middle of the striking waves, its beauty is breathtaking. This is also a popular place to worship the first sunrise.

 Izura Coast:With striking waves, cliffs, small coves and ridges, you will find yourself suddenly transposed in the world of classic Japanese paintings. You can also visit the Ibaraki Tenshin Memorial Izura Museum, founded by Okakura Tenshin, who is also at the origin of The Tokyo University of the Arts.

‐ Hitachi Seaside Park : Nemophila, daffodils and tulips in spring, poppies and roses in early summer, sunflowers in summer, cosmos in autumn, ice tulips in winter, there are blossoming flowers at every season in this park. It is also a place for adults and children to enjoy different attractions, such as a ferris wheel, amusement park, and there also is a barbecue area.

‐ Natto (Mito City): Japanese national food, it is made of fermented beans. It contains abundant vitamins, minerals such as magnesium, dietary fiber, lactic acid and proteins. It is good for bones and is popular outside the country for enhancing the immune defence mechanism. Mito's natto has a long history, and it is said that natto was created by chance, after rice straw bacteria adhered to boiled beans from horse feed. It is said this happened when Minamoto no Yoshiie, a famous samurai general, stayed at a residence in the town of Watari in Mito on his way to Oshu (an area in the present-day Tohoku region) during the Gosannen War in 1083. In the Mito region, each farmer used to eat home-made natto, and it eventually turned into an established natto manufacture, entered the modern food industry, expanded sales through modern marketing, and became a national brand known as Mito Natto.

‐ Umeboshi (Mito City): the Kairakuen garden, one of the three largest gardens in Japan, is a park that is especially famous for the plumtree forest established by the Mito lord, NariakiTokugawa. In an ancient book names Shubaiiki, the beauty of the plum is mentioned, but also the fact that the acidity of plums can heal thirst and fatigue. Umeboshi have a preservative effect and a bactericidal effect. After the establishment of Kairakuen, Umeboshi culture spread to Ibaraki.

‐ Anko-nabe (Oarai Town): A hot-pot made of goosefish, which despite its unrefined appearance, is a delicious fish to eat with plenty of collagen. Anko-nabe is a very healthy meal that can be eaten with vegetables. 

Local specialities
‐ Yuzu miso : Ibaraki is also famous for its yuzu, the famous Japanese citrus. It is such a pleasure in Japan when it is cold outside to eat this yuzu miso with boiled and steamed vegetables, such as radishes and mushrooms, which are called burifuki.

‐ Frozen Konjac : Konjac is also a special product of Ibaraki, and it is gaining popularity overseas as a low-calorie meal. This frozen konjac is said to be an ingredient that has been made since the Edo period. It is a preserved food that can be completed in 20 days by slowly thawing, freezing in the night, and melting in the day. It is common to taste at home with sugar, sake, soy sauce, mirin, etc. but you can also eat it as tempuras or in a soup. Zero calories, rich in fiber and calcium, it is also excellent for health. How about a buying some as souvenir?
‐ The Dragon Bridge, Ryujinkyo:Located in the Okukuji Prefectural Natural park, it is the perfect spot to enjoy beautiful landscapes and admire the Ryujin river flowing between the valleys. It is 375 meters long and is the largest pedestrian suspension bridge in Japan, and you can enjoy seasonal panoramas from the top of the bridge.

‐ Warp Station Edo:A location operated by the NHK, Japanese television, which recreated the “Middle and Early Modern Areas” where Japanese streets and facilities from the Sengoku period and Edo period  are reproduced, as well as the shopping streets and buildings of Meiji, Taisho, and Showa era. The “Modern Area” is open to the public. There may be traffic restrictions during filming, but you can enjoy the feeling of being back in the old times.

‐ Furusato Stable riding experience : Ishioka City, Ibaraki Prefecture. After a beginner's class, you can enjoy riding a horse in the forest with your family and friends.
‐ Mito Plum Festival : Mid-February to late March, Mito City, Kairakuen.

‐ Hitachi Furyumono : A folk cultural property handed down to Hitachi City, which refers to the large movable and deformed floats and the Karakuri puppet show that are carried over to the Kamine Shrine. It will be opened during the “Hitachi Sakura Festival” held in the middle of April every year.

‐ Mito Komon Festival : A festival that celebrates Mito Komon, the second owner of the Mito Domain in Mito City.



-Ryujin Bungee Jump : Bungee jump from the Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge. The height is a 100 meters! For those who are good at bungee jumping, those who want to enjoy the “thrill beyond imagination”.

-Blueberry picking: Blueberries can be picked from early June to early September in several places in Ibaraki Prefecture.

- Earthline net-fishing experience: In the early mornings from April to October, at Oari Sun Beach, you can experience pulling a fish net that a boat spreaded in the sea before and gather with many other people to catch fishes.
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