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Ibaragi prefecture has a strong tie with the famous Samurai Shogun, (Kohmon Sama) also, it has a less than an hour easy access by a train from central Tokyo. In this article, you can read about this uprising tourist destination Ibaragi where Hitachi Seaside Park’s blue carpet of Nemophila, the mysterious Oarai Isosaki Shrine which is flowing on ocean and Sea Birds Café that is also flowing on ocean, are three of the many attractions they offer.
- 10th Rokkakudo
- 9th Ushiku Daibutsu
- 8th Kairakuen
- 7th Kashima shrine
- 6th Fukuroda Falls
- 5th SL Mooka
- 4th Mt.Tsukuba
- 3rd Kasama Inari Shrine
- 2nd Suigo Itako Ayame-en
- 1st Hitachi Seaside Park
1. Spot Ranking in Ibaraki area
Current Rokkaku-dō is a new 2012’s reconstructed version, in March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami destroyed the original building. Thank to “Tenshin-Rokkaku-dō recovery Project” led by Ibaraki University who carried an intensive research for this instauration. This beautiful reconstruction also became the symbol of the recovery process of the disaster itself. Tenshin Okakura who was the original architect of Rokkaku-dō, visited Izara accompanied by painter Shuzan Hida in May 1903, and he fell in love with this place. Tenshin built Rokkaku-dō within 2 years, he worked in Boston museum during winter and spent his summer in this place near the sea.
He made this place as his home for his international life style. The entrance gate (Nagaya Gate) is the Registered Tangible Cultural Property; the view of this gate against the backdrop of rough coast line and strong waves shall not be missed. This vivid dynamic view is quite impressive. Their opening hours are from 8:30 to 17:30, their entrance fee is 300 yen.
From Tokyo, visitors can take JR Tokiwa 82, a limited express train service to Takahagi, then transfer to JR Jōban Line, then get off at Ōtsukō Station, and 5 min taxi ride.
9th. Ushiku Daibutsu
Ushiku Daibutsu is on Guinness World Records for the tallest statue in the world; the height is eye-opening 120m. It attracts many tourist in and outside of Japan. Visitors are allowed to go inside of the statue, thus you shall try to do so! The entrance fee to go inside it would be 800 yen, if you would only watch it from outside, it would be only 500 yen; that would include looking around the garden and the small zoo next to it.
The best season to visit would be during spring due to cherry blossoming. 800 yen tickets are recommendable. The best access to this place would be, the combination of train and bus rides. From Tokyo, visitors can take JR Jōban Line to Ushiku station, then take a bus from East exit of the station, bus stop no 2. They can take either “destination: Ushiku Daibutsu” or “destination: Ami Premium Outlets” service.
The duration of the ride would be 30 to 40 min and get off at Ushiku Daibutsu. The bus service would be one departure every hour during weekdays but it would be reduced during weekends so please check the time, before you travel.
Kairaku-en is one of the three Great Gardens of Japan along side with Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture and Kōraku-en in Okayama Prefecture. In Edo period 1842, Tokugawa Nariaki was 9th prominent Japanese daimyō who ruled the Mito Domain; he built this garden for his people as a great relaxation place.
Kairaku-en is about 3,000,000㎡, about 64times bigger than the Tokyo Dome. It is the second largest public park after the Central Park in NYC. Visitor would be able to see moso bamboo trees after passing the main entrance. There are the old healing water fountain and Koubuntei which is a small cottage built by , Tokugawa Nariaki himself.
There are about 3000 plum trees, which can be divided into 1000 different groups. From the end of February to the end of March, they would host the Plum Festival. From April, the cherry blossom season would start as well as rhododendrons would be opening up. Bush clover would be nice during autumn; early winter, visitors can see cherry blossom as well. The entrance to the garden is free; however, entering the small cottage would be ticketed: 200 yen for an adult and 100 yen for a child age 6 to 15. The opening time is 7:00 to 18:00, from 1st of October to 19th of February. From February 20th to September 30th, the opening time would be 6:00 to 19:00. The garden is opening all year around.
The best access way would be taking Hitachi no 18, the limited express train service from Tokyo main station to Mito station, then take a bus from the north exit bus terminal; the ride would be about 20 min.
7th. Kashima shrine
Kashima Shrine has very long history of 2677 years which is the same length as the Japanese royal family; this shrine was built during the same year as the first Japanese emperor started to rule Japan. Every year on Summer Solstice day, the sun light shines thorough their gate from the West that makes the longest sun lighted path; because of this reason, this shrine was name as “the place of beginning of everything”. Kashima Shrine is enormous; their area would spread about 7000m2 which is about 15 times bigger than Tokyo dome. The must see points would include the vermilion coloured Sakura Gate which is registered as important cultural property.
This gate was donated by Tokugawa Yorifusa who was the first governor of Tokugawa family in Mito area. Also, every year on the 1st of May, the Yabusame festival would take place in the back of the shrine where a beautiful avenue of cedars are. The shrine is also known as a place to get lucky charms and amulets, the most popular thing would be Kashima Obi fortune telling, this is a very unique thing to try out.
Kashima Shrine is open for 24 hours a day all year around thus visitors can pay respect anytime. However, their office for purchasing goods are opened from 8:30 to 16:30 only. Their treasury would charge visitors 300 yen for an adult and 100 yen for a child.
The best access from Tokyo would be, taking the JR Sōbu Line (Rapid) to Chiba station, then transfer to the Sōbu Line to Sawara Station. At the station, visitors need to change to JR Kashima line, and get off at Kashima Shrine station then walk about 7 min to the actual shrine.
6th. Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda Falls is one of the main sightseeing spots in Ibaraki Prefecture. This waterfall is considered as one of the three best healing power waterfall in Japan. Hōshi Saigyō who was a famous Japanese poet of the late Heian and early Kamakura period wrote a poem about this waterfall. People are able to see vague white lines from the distance, but if they go near the fall, they would be able to see the mighty power of the natural waterfall. Visitors can loose track of time by just gazing at this natural phenomenon. The best time to visit this place would be during autumn to winter; the leaves would change its colour to various autumn colours and during winter, it would be decorated with icicles. Moreover, during the festival of Fukuroda Falls Okukuji in the autumn, the waterfall and the bridge near by would be illuminated with lights; this illumination is a perfect match to create a dream-like atmosphere. the opening hours are 8:00 to 18:00 (November to April: 9-17), the entrance fee is 300 yen for an adult and 150 yen for a child. They are opening all year around.
The best way to get this place would be, taking the Joban Line limited express “Hitachi” “Tokiwa” to Mito station, then transfer to Suigun Line to Fukuroda Station. There are bus services to the waterfall but its only 4 times a day thus its better to get there by foot which is only 10 min.
5th. SL Mooka
SL Mooka is a SL train that is running between Shimodate Station and Motegi Station. The distance is about 41.9km and the duration is about 90 min. From the train, people can see wonderful seasonal sceneries. They attract many visitors from Tokyo and Saitama area. The train itself has many features that people shall take photos.
This SL Line would offer service during weekends and holidays; during summer holidays, they offer Friday services as well. In order to ride this special train, people need to purchase two tickets: a normal train ticket which is 1030 yen for an adult, 520 yen for a child, a SL ticket which is 500 yen for an adult and 250 yen for a child. People are not able to reserve any seats on the SL train.
The best option to get here would be take TSUKUBA EXPRESS from Akihabra station to Moriya Station, then transfer to Jōsō Line and get off at Shimodate Station where people can get on the SL train.
4th. Mount Tsukuba
Mount Tsukuba is the second famous mountain in Japan after Mount Fuji. It’s called “Shihou” due to the its change of colour during sunset and sundown. This mountain has two peaks: one male and one female. (This naming is due to traditional worshipping history) On its pathways, there are more than 1000 different types of plants growing; this attracts many researchers.
Mount Tsukuba is suitable for both hiking and climbing; visitors can enjoy this natural habitat for all year around. There are cable car and ropeway services which run to the top of the mountain; thus everyone can enjoy the gorgeous panoramic view from there. Every year on weekends from October to February, the Stardust Cruising Festival would take place that is ran by the ropeway service; visitors can enjoy the night view of the surrounding area which may include as far as Tokyo and Saitama area. The service operates from 9:20 to 17:00.
The one way ticket for the cable car service would be 580 yen for an adult and 290 yen for a child. The one way ticket for ropeway would be 620 yen for an adult and 310 yen for a child.
The best way to get Mount Tsukuba would be taking TSUKUBA EXPRESS from Akihabara station to Tsukuba station. There is a shuttle bus service from Tsukuba Center bus stop to Mount Tsukuba that is running everyday.
3rd. Kasama Inari Shrine
Kasama Inari Shrine has a very long history; this shrine attracts about 350’000 visitors a year. this makes Kasama Inari Shrine as the busiest shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture. Inari Shrine’s main branch is Fushimi Inari-taisha In Kyoto but this shrine has longer history than that. It was built in 661 therefore it has 1350 years history. Kasama Inari Shrine was built for the god Ukanomitama who was a deity in classical Japanese mythology; the god has the highest class and people normally would call the god “Inari”. Kasama Inari Shrine’s main structure was built in the end of Edo time period and it was registered as important cultural property.
Its detailed craftsmanship of carving must not be missed. The Kasama Chrysanthemum festival would take place during the autumn season, it would attract many visitors. During the festival, Worshipping Yabusame and Worship dance festival would be also happening. There is a shopping district near by, where visitors can get some shopping done. The famous handmade Inari Japanese rice cracker can be bought from Nakamise – Marui.
This shop uses local grown rice and natural spring water to make this signature snack. The shrine is open to public from 6:00 to sun down; there is no entrance fee.
The best way to get this place would be taking the the Joban Line limited express “Tokiwa No 71” from Tokyo main station to Tomobe Station where you need to stransfer to JR Mito Line and get off at Kasama station. Kasama Inari Shrine is about 20 min walk from the station or 5 min by taxi ride. There is a tourist bus service which goes around the town and takes visitors to Kasama Inari Shrine as well.
2nd. Suigo Itako Ayame-en
Suigo Itako Ayame-en opened in 1976, there are about 500 different types of Japanese water irises in this special garden; there are all together about 1’000’000 plants. This garden is chosen to be one of 500 passages that people would like to walk in Japan. Suigo Itako Ayame-en is one of the uprising gardens in Japan. Itako is located between Lake Kasumigaura and Lake Kitaura; this town developed as a stopover place for waterway to Edo city.
During the time, the famous Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder and first shogun, ordered to build an extension canal from the main river to this town; this led this town to build docks and more canals to operate as the main hub for this waterway. Now, there are many bridges over many canals in this town.
Suigo Itako Ayame-en opened in 1976, there are about 500 different types of Japanese water irises in this special garden; there are all together about 1’000’000 plants. This garden is chosen to be one of 500 passages that people would like to walk in Japan. Suigo Itako Ayame-en is one of the uprising gardens in Japan. Itako is located between Lake Kasumigaura and Lake Kitaura; this town developed as a stopover place for waterway to Edo city. During the time, the famous Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder and first shogun, ordered to build an extension canal from the main river to this town; this led this town to build docks and more canals to operate as the main hub for this waterway. Now, there are many bridges over many canals in this town.
The famous thing to do in this town would be the boat ride to enjoy those bridges from the canal. The one people shall not miss would be Suigo Itako Ayame Festival. This festival is taking place from late May to the end of June every year although, the best time to visit would be June. During the festival, special lighting would be used to help the flower display, visitors can go on Gondola-like boat to enjoy the flower display and may be able to witness a special wedding boat. In 2018, this festival started on 25th of may and ended on 24th of June. The entrance to this garden is free and they open all year around.
The best way to get this garden is taking JR Sobu Line from Tokyo main station to Narita (about 70 min) then transfer to JR Narita Line to Sasahara station (30 min) then transfer to JR Kashima Line (10 min) and get off at Itako Station. The garden would be about 3 min walk away.
1st. Hitachi Seaside Park
National Hitachi Seaside Park is located in Hitachinaka town, and ran by Japanese government. The park is about 350’000㎡ and about 5 times bigger than Tokyo Disneyland and about its 55% is used as a park. Although, this garden has wonderful seasonal view each season, spring’s Nemophila and autumn’s Bassia scoparia are highly recommended. Once this land was considered as the location for Disneyland.
This park is well known internationally via social media and world media. National Hitachi Seaside Park’s best spot would be MiharashinoOka where visitors can enjoy the breath-taking view of Nemophila from the end of April to mid May. About 450’000 Nemophila would create amazing blue colour landscape. The opening hours are 9:30 to 18:00 (depending on season). The park is closed on every Mondays, during new year holidays and 1st Tuesday of February to Friday of the same week; except fallowing dates: 3.26〜5.31、7.21〜8.31、10.1〜10.31、12.25〜30、1.2〜7.( during those dates, the park is open everyday) .
The best way to get to this park is taking JR Jōban Line Express from Tokyo main station to Katsuta Station (85 min). From Katsuta station the east exit bus stop, take a bus to Seaside Park West entrance or South entrance. The duration would be about 20 min.
2. Getting In
①From Tokyo to Mito Station by train
From Tokyo main station, a traveller can take Tokiwa No79 to get Mito station.
Duration :about 1hour 30 min
Ticket Price : 3818 yen
Ticket can be purchase from Midorino Madoguchi (green ticket kiosk)
If you are traveling often by train during your whole stay in Japan, It’s recommended to get a prepaid train card: Suica or PASMO
②From Tokyo to Shimodate Station by train
From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR UenoTokyo Line to Akabane station, then transfer to JR Tohoku Main Line, Commute Express, towards Ustunomiya, and get off at Oyama Station. At the station, transfer again to JR Mito Line, and get off at Shimodate Station.
Duration: about 2 hours
Ticket Price : 1660 yen
③From Tokyo to Ushiku Station by train
From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR UenoTokyo Line to Ushiku Station.
Or take JR Yamanote Line to Nippori Station then transfer to JR Tokiwa Line and get off at Ushiku Station.
Duration : about 1 hour
Ticket Price: 970 yen
④From Tokyo to Hitachi Station by train
From Tokyo station, a traveller can take Hitachi No13 to Hitachi Station.
Duration: about 1 hour 30min
Ticket Price: 4790 yen
Take JR Yamanote Line to Ueno station, then transfer to JR Joban Line Special Rapid Express towards Tsuchiura, then get off at Tsuchiura station. At the station transfer again to JR Joban Line normal regular service towards Tomioka, then get off at Hitachi Station.
Duration : about 3 hours
Ticket Price: 2790 yen
⑤From Tokyo to Fukuroda Station by train
From Tokyo station, a traveller can take Hitachi No15 to Mito station, then transfer to JR Suigun Line to Fukuroda Station.
Duration : about 2 hrous 30 min
Ticket Price: 4570 yen
Take Yamanote Line to Ueno station, then transfer to JR Joban Line to Mito station, then take JR Suigun Line to Fukuroda Station.
Duration: about 4 hours
Ticket price; 3020 yen
⑥From Tokyo to Itako Station by train
From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR Sobu rapid Line to Narita station, then transfer to JR Narita Line regular service towards Choshi and get off at Sawara Station, then transfer again to JR Narita Line regular service towards
Kashima Shrine, get off at Itako Station.
Duration : about 3 hours
Ticket Price : 1940
⑦From Tokyo to Tsukuba Station by train
From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara station, then take Tsukuba Express Section Rapid service to Tsukuba Station.
Duration : about 1 hour
Ticket Price: 1330 yen
①From Tokyo to Mito Station by bus
Take Mito Go Bus service from Tokyo station Yaesu Exit.
Duration : about 2 hours
Ticket Price: 2080 yen (one way)
②From Tokyo to Hitachi Station by bus
Take Hitachi No1 Bus service from Tokyo station Yaesu Exit.
Duration : about 2 hours
Ticket Price: 2390 yen (one way)
③From Tokyo to Itako Station by bus
take HIGASHI-KANTO EXPRESSWAY Bus service Aso Hokota Line from Tokyo station Nihonbashi Exit.
Duration : about 2 hours
Ticket Price : 1750 yen
④From Tokyo to Tsukuba Station by bus
Take Express bus service Tsukuba Go towards Tsukuba Center from Tokyo station.
Duration : about 1 hour and 30 min
Ticket Price : 1180 yen (one way)
No advance booking available so arrive early.
3. Ibaraki Area List
Hitachinaka, Oarai and Nakaminato
Mito – Kasama
Tsukuba, Tsuchiura and Ushiku
Itako, Hokota and Kashima
Yuki and Chikusei
Fukuroda, Daigo and Hitachiota
Kitaibaraki and Hitachi
As one of the Fuji Five Lakes(Fujigoko), ‘Saiko(Lake Saiko)’ is situated in the center of the other 4 lakes, circling around Mt. Fuji together with them. What makes the area special is the unique and beautiful scenery with several volcanic caves, formed during the eruption of Mt. Fuji long ago and wild forests and others.
Relaxing and calm holiday is excellent option but for those who interested in ‘unspoiled nature’, this area offers various nature activities to join. Caving is one of the best recommendations without doubt.
‘Saiko Ryugusai’is an annual festival dedicated to a water goddess. You may enjoy a different view of Mt. Fuji illuminated by fireworks and ‘Toro nagashi’ ceremony, that is a Japan’s own Buddhist ceremony in which paper lanterns are floated down a river and the sea to console the spirits of the dead. You may enjoy this popular summer event without overcrowd at the ‘Saiko Ryugusai’. Quiet and peaceful elegance of Japan is also a charm of the event.
- 1. Spot Ranking
- 5th. Saiko Yachonomori Park
- 4th. Iyashinosato ancient japanese village
- 3rd. Fugaku Wind Cave
- 2nd. Narusawa Ice Cave
- 1st. Lake Saiko
- 2. Getting in
- 3. Other Area List
1. Spot ranking in Lake Saiko area
5th. Saiko Yachonomori Park
Saiko Yachonomori Park(Wild bird’s forest) is surrounded by Aokigahara Jukai and a home to about 210 species of wild birds. It allows visitors to enjoy wild bird watching as well as walking through bird watching room in the‘Jukai Gallery’ room and joining wooden handcraft workshops. If you have your binoculars with you, this is a not-to-miss chance to watch Japan’s indigenous wildbirds.
The park holds the Ice Tree Festival every year from January to February. ‘Jyuhyo Trees(Ice Trees)’ reach over 10 meters high and create fantastical and magical atmosphere being illuminated every night. As this magnificent ice art works can be enjoyed during the winter season only, it is recommended to visit if you are around in this time of year. Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 and closed in Thursday. Admission is Free.
You can take Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line). Boarding section is From Kawaguchiko Sta.to Saiko Yacho-noMori Park/Wild bird’s forest(No.69).
4th. Iyashinosato ancient japanese village
You may be astonished at Iyashinosato ancient Japanese village. Japan’s traditional farming village view and many thatched roof farm houses there are so special. Visitors will find a wide range of cultural and historical attractions such as handcraft workshops and folklore museums here as well as agreeable restaurants with tasty local foods and souvenir shops.
Nenba area was once a populated farming village and was seriously destroyed by a typhoon in 1966. The village was reconstructed after the disaster and came back to life as it is today. The old Watanabe House, located at innermost of the village, is especially recommended. This registered tangible cultural property exhibits remaining Japanese old daily life. Take a chance to enjoy cultural experience to walk in the village wearing Kimono.
Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 (March to November) / 9:30 to 16:30 (December to February). There are no closing days. Admission is 350yen (Adult)/ 150yen (Child).
You can take Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line). Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to SaikoIyashi-no-sato-Nenba(No.68).
3rd. Fugaku Wind Cave
Fugaku Wind Cave was used as a natural refrigerator in the past when there was no refrigerating system. The cave measures 201 meters in total lengths and 8.7 meters in heights and features natural lava shelves and ice pillars, which visitors will enjoy during a 15-minute caving tour. The tour is suitable for women and children as the route is relatively easy to walk in.
At the innermost of the cave where visitors will encounter the beautifully shining luminous moss (Scientific name: Schistostega) which grows widely in the area.
“Mori-no-Eki Fuketsu” is a souvenir shop as well as a restaurant, where the visitors can enjoy local delicacy and shopping. Its specialty, `Corn flavored soft-serve ice cream’ is greatly admired even by the locals. The cool climate in the area contributes to make corns taste very sweet.
Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 (the last admission depends on the season), Admission is 350yen (Adult)/ 200yen (Child).
You can take Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line), Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to Fugaku Fuketsu/ Wind Cave(No.71).
2nd. Narusawa Ice Cave
With a depth of 21 meters underground, the temperature in the Narusawa Ice Cave is cool even in the summer. Because of its loop like shape, the cave allows visitors to look attractive features in 15 minutes just going round. At the innermost of the cave there is a hole, called ‘Jigoku-ana’ in Japanese.
Its width and depth and other details are unknown because it is not yet investigated. Over 1150 years ago when volcano Nagaoyama erupted, the lava flow outpoured and created this tunnel type cave. Since being nationally designated as a Natural Monument, it has been acknowledged its worldwide significance.
The most attractive feature here is natural ice pillars. Being illuminated, artistic and mysterious expressions of pillars are breathtakingly beautiful. As they grow to a maximum size from April to July, it is recommended to visit during this time of the year, though they are enjoyed until early autumn.
Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 (the last admission depends on the season), Admission is 350yen (Adult)/ 200yen (Child).
Narusawa/Shojiko/Motosuko Sighteseeing Bus(Omuni Bus, Blue-Line), Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to Narusawa Ice Cave(No.116).
1th. Lake Saiko
The Fuji Five Lakes lie at the north of Mt. Fuji and Lake Saiko is located at the center of the other 4 lakes. It is a very quiet place compared with Lake Yamanaka or Lake Kawaguchi and the best option for those enjoy peaceful moment in nature. The area is famous for having clean water that is pure enough for a habitat of trout and other fishes. It is also a good place to enjoy marine sports.
The area holds several views photograph well. The north-side of the lake is the best among them which allows photographers to shoot Mt. Fuji and the lake together. You may enjoy walking around the lakeside and find the best place for you.
You can tale Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line), Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to East Gate of Lake Saiko (No.77).
2. Getting to Saiko from Kawaguchiko Station
3 Sightseeing Bus services（Omuni Bus）are available departing from Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi); Blue-Line, Green-Line and Red-Line. Please note that each goes to the different destination and make sure the line you take.
Service Name: Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line). Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta. (No.1)to East Gate of Lake Saiko (No.77). Time required Approx.30 minutes. Fare is 440 Yen in One way. Sightseeing Bus 2 Days Ticket（unlimited-ride for 2days with 1,500yen）is recommended for those who get on and off frequently.
Getting to Kawaguchiko station from Tokyo
3. Other Area list
Lake Ymanakako and Oshino
Lake Kawaguchiko and Fujiyoshida
Fuji City – Fujinomiya
Gotemba – Susono