TOP 5 Don’t Miss Spots in Ibaraki
In the Japanese region of Kanto, Ibaraki houses 32 beautiful cities, the capital Mito and several other towns and villages. Ibaraki is famous for several reasons, some of the most prominent being Aikido (martial art) and its prominent Shinto culture. The region also has the best watermelons and nuts in Japan. Of course, breathtaking views also make it a privileged place, attractive to tourists from outside and inside the country. If you happen to be in Ibaraki seeking adventure or leisure, here are 5 suggestions of activities and tours that you’ll most certainly enjoy!
1) Oarai Marine Tower
Oarai Marine Tower, the symbol of Oarai. Rising 60 feet above the ground, the tower has an observation deck on the third floor, which offers a 360 degree wide panorama. On clear days, visitors can see Mount Fuji, Nikko and Mount Tsukuba. At the Marine Theater, located in the first floor lobby, visitor can learn about the future of the oceans and other secrets of the sea.
Oarai Marine Tower
Address: 10 Minato Chuo, Oarai-machi, Higashi Ibaraki-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture
Admission: Adults 330 yen; high and middle school students 160 yen, free to elementary school and younger
Access: Approximately 5 minutes by bus from Oarai station in Kashima Rinkai
Opening hours: From 9:00 to 21:00 (March 1st to August 31st, December 22nd to 25th, and January 2nd and 3rd)
9:00 to 18:30 (September 1st to the end of February)
5:00 to 21:00. (January 1st) Closed December 28th to 30th.
2) Walk through the garden of Kairakuen
Wander the ethereal landscape and marvel at one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. Check out the Kobuntei, a historic three-story wooden building, consisting of a main house and the private chambers of the nobility of that time. Built in 1842 by the 9th Mito feudal lord, Nariaki Tokugawa, the gardens have always been one of the favorites for the local publics recreational activities. Bonus if you can visit in February, make sure to stop and take part in the famous plum blossoms festival known as Ume-matsuri.
Address: Tokiwa-cho, Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture
Admission: Park: free / Kobuntei: Adults 200 yen; elementary and high school 100 yen
Access: 15 minutes by bus from Mito station
Opening hours: from 6:00 to 19:00 (February 20th to September 30th), from 7:00 to 18:00 (October 1st, February 19th)
3) Nakaminato fish market
The Nakaminato fish market is filled with tourists looking for fresh seafood at reasonable prices. Many restaurants line the market, selling seasonal seafood dishes by receiving large pieces of fresh fish through conveyor belts. We recommend getting there early in the morning to indulge in super fresh sushi.
Nakaminato fish market.
Address: 19-8 Minatohon-cho, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture
Access: Approximately 10 minutes walk from Nakaminato Station, at Hitachinaka Sea Railway Station
Operating period: varies according to the shop and seller
4) Admire a beauty of Fukuroda Falls
Be enchanted by one of Japan’s most famous waterfalls, Fukuroda Falls. There are no words as to how incredibly scenic they are, having been praised by the Japanese monk and the poet Saigyo in the Heian period. Visit the platforms to see up close waterfalls and stay until later to see them lit up by colorful lights at night.
Address: 3-19 Fukuroda, Daigo-machi
Admission: ¥ 300 (Adults), ¥ 150 (Children)
Access: 10 minutes walk from JR Suigo Line Fukuroda station
Opening hours: from 08:00 to 18:00 (May to October), from 09:00 to 17:00 (November to April)
5) Tsukuba Expo Center
Recently renovated, this planetarium is one of the largest in the world and boasts a world-class system with all of the latest innovations in space study and exploration. A trip to the expo will get you up close to a life size replica of an H-II rocket, let you view the night sky on a 25.6 meter diameter dome, and educate you on various form of energy, the universe and the deep sea with interactive exhibits.
Tsukuba Expo Center
Address: 2-9 Azuma, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture
Admission: ¥ 300 (Adults over 18 years of age); ¥ 150 (Children of 4 years of age up to high school students) Three years old or less, entry is free.
Access: 5 minutes walk from Tsukuba A2 station exit
Opening hours: 09:50 to 17:00 (February of November), 09h50 to 16h30 (December to January) closed on Mondays