Ibaraki Prefecture is situated northeast of Tokyo along the Pacific coast. Ibaraki is the perfect place for easy and convenient day trip from Tokyo which offers historical shrines, one of the finest landscape gardens in Japan, a large park with stunning sea of seasonal flowers, and much more. Here we have a list of places we recommend you to visit in Ibaraki.
1. Hitachi Seaside Park
This large park, located near Mito City in Ibaraki Prefecture, features a wide variety of seasonal flowers and greenery along with a small amusement park, several cycling and walking trails. The most popular season for the park is during late April until early May when approximately 4.5 million nemophila flowers cover the entire park, transforming it into a sea of blue petals. In addition to the nemophila season, the park is filled with seasonal flowers especially from spring to autumn; narcissus flowers from late March to mid-April, tulips from mid-April to late April, and bright green kochia bushes from mid-July which turn red as the weather turns cooler in September.
From Mito Station, take the JR Joban Line to Katsuta Station (5 minutes). From Katsuta Station, take a bus to Kaihin Koen Nishiguchi bus stop (20 – 30 minutes).
2. Mount Tsukuba
Mount Tsukuba stands at an elevation of 877 meters with two separate peaks. You can ascend to the summit by a cable car, ropeway, or by walking on a hiking trail. From the top of the mountain, a fantastic views of the Kanto Plain can be enjoyed. Three shrines are found in the area; Tsukubasan Shrine at the foot of the mountain, and two shrines each on both of the twin peaks.
There are two cable car lines go up to the summit which are Miyawaki Station near Tsukubasan Shrine and Tsutsuji-gaoka Station near the parking lot. During autumn when the leaves change colors, the cable cars offer night rides to the top and back.
From Tsukuba Bus Center at Tsukuba Station, take a shuttle bus that directly goes to Mount Tsukuba (about 40 mintues).
3. Oarai Isosaki Shrine
This ancient shrine stands on the coastline facing the Pacific Ocean in Ibaraki Prefecture. The torii gate, called Kamiiiso-no-Torii, which means “gate at the beach of the gods” stands at the shore of the ocean while waves crash about its base. According to a history book, two deities, Omunamuchi-no-mikoto and Sukunabikona-no-mikoto who are considered to have created Japan, descended onto this land in 856. It is believed that Kamijiso-no-Torii was built by Omunamuchi-no-mikoto and other deities who descended upon this place.
The main hall of the shrine is situated on a hill close to the coastline. There is a large torii gate right in front of the main hall. The gate was made with wood but had to be reconstructed with concrete in 1963 due to the damage from the sea breeze.
From Mito Station, take the Oarai-Kashima Line to Oarai Station (about 15 minutes). From Oarai Station, the shrine is 2.5 km. Take a taxi or a public bus.
4. Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda Falls is located in Daigo Town, northwestern Ibaraki Prefecture and north of Mito. It is regarded as one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan along with Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture and Kegon Falls in Tochigi Prefecture.
The Fukuroda Falls rise to a height of 121 meters and are 73 meters wide. The most popular season for the tourists is the autumn when the leaves change their colors although this beautiful and dynamic falls are appreciated in every season. In winter, you may be able to see the entire cascade frozen over.
From Mito Station, take JR Suigun Line to Fukuroda Station (about 70 minutes). From Fukuroda Station, take a taxi or a public bus which runs every one to two hours.
Kairakuen, located in Mito City which is the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, is listed as one of the top three finest landscape gardens in Japan along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa Prefecture and Kourakuen in Okayama Prefecture. Kairakuen was constructed in 1841 by the local lord Tokugawa Nariaki. Kairakuen means “park to be enjoyed by everyone”. As its name indicates, this park served not only for the enjoyment of the ruling lord, but was also open to the public.
Kairakuen is particularly popular during the plum blossom season. Many people visit the garden for the Mito Plum Festival that is held from mid-February through March every year when as many as 3,000 trees of over 100 different varieties of plum trees are in bloom.
Besides the plum trees, Kairakuen also features a bamboo forest, cedar woods and the Kobuntei, a traditional Japanese style building which has been used for educational and recreational purposes.
From Mito Station, take Kanto Tetsudo Bus bound for Kairakuen and get off at Kairakuen Bus Stop (about 15 mintues).
Admission 300 yen/adult, 150 yen/child
Open 6am-7pm(Feb.20-Sep.30), 7am-6pm(Oct.1-Feb.19)
6. Kasama Inari Shrine
Kasama Inari Shrine is one of the three largest Inari shrines in Japan, and its deity was awarded the Senior First Rank, the highest court rank granted to shrines. The legends says that the shrine was founded in 651 during the reign of Emperor Kotoku.
Several events are held at Kasama Inari Shrine throughout year. One of the main events at the shrine is “yabusame”, which is the ceremonial form of equine archery in autumn and serves as a divination for the year’s harvest. On November 3 every year, the members of the Ogasawara School of Mounted Archery perform the rite in accordance with ancient precedent with traditional costumes of Kamakura warriors. As many as 100,000 people gather each year for this event.
Another popular event is the Chrysanthemum Festival which is held usually from late October to late November when the blossoms are in bloom. Begun in 1890, the Chrysanthemum Festival at the Kasama Inari Shrine is the oldest in Japan. The shrine gardens were designed specifically for the exhibition of chrysanthemum flowers and as many as 600,000 people visit for the festival every year.
Kasama Inari Shrine is located 20-minute walk from JR Kasama Station. JR Kasama Station is about 25 minutes from Mito Station on JR Mito Line, or about 80 minutes from Ueno Station in Tokyo.
7. Ushiku Chateau
This is the first brewery in Japan to produce wine from grape cultivation to brewing and bottling. It was founded in 1903 by Kamiya Denbee. At its peak, as many as 130,000 vines were planted. Although after the World War II the vineyards were reduced due to agricultural land reform, it was reopened as a leisure site with restaurants and shops. Recently the restaurants and shops were closed, and now you can find a large garden with greenery, a beautiful memorial hall and museum which are made with bricks. The exhibitions in the memorial hall and museum include information on how Japanese wine was made at the beginning of the 20th century, pictures and actual equipment which were used for wine making, advertising posters and alcoholic beverages sold in the group.
8-minute walk from Ushiku Station on JR Joban Line.
Where to stay in Ibaraki
- Tabino Hotel Kashima ―Newly opened in April 2020, comfortable rooms and public onsen hot springs which makes you relax after your long day of exploring
- Mito Plaza Hotel ―4-star hotel where they have three restaurants on site, luxury atmosphere with antique taste furniture and spacious room
- Ryokan Honen Mansaku ―Located near Fukuroda Fall, you can enjoy onsen hot springs including open-air bath with mountain view and great dinner and breakfast
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How did you think about Ibaraki? Convenient public transportation makes it easy for you to have a day trip from Tokyo. We hope you have a lot of fun in Ibaraki.
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