Ibaraki prefecture is home to almost three million people. It is blessed with many beautiful natural features, and also serves as a major historical and cultural center for Japan. Transportation options here are plenty, with the ever-reliable train system being the primary mode. The area is also known for some good food like natto, Mito ramen, and chestnuts. Some of the most iconic tourist spots include the twin peaks of Mt. Tsukuba, the Hitachi Seaside Park, a giant statue of Buddha, and the gate in the Oarai coast. We’ve listed many more places for you to visit, and activities to do. This is the comprehensive list of things to do in Ibaraki, Japan.
1. Dine on the waters at Sea Birds Cafe
This little cafe right by the JR Hitachi Station offers great panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, with a seaside highway running right in front of it. If you happen to visit on a sunny day, you can be sure to have a great scene. You can choose from local favorites like sushi and fish to internationals like steaks and pancakes. The food is inexpensive, and you can choose to have unlimited drinks here too. This restaurant is a nice place to chill and relax after a long trip around Ibaraki.
Hitachi Sea Birds Cafe
Address: 1 Chome-3-20 Asahicho Hitachi-shi Ibaraki-ken
Website: Hitachi Sea Birds Cafe
Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)
2. Admire stunning seas of flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park
With almost 200 hectares (494.2 acres) of green space, the Hitachi Seaside Park is best known for the blue flower fields that dominate the landscape. During the spring season, nearly five million baby blue-eyes flowers bloom, giving the park a look reminiscent of Holland’s tulip fields. When the skies are clear blue, you can see the full beauty of these flowers. The best time to visit the park is from late April to Early May, during Japan’s Golden Week. You can also visit during August when the park hosts the annual Rock in Japan Festival.
Hitachi Seaside Park
Address: Japan, 〒312-0012 Ibaraki, Hitachinaka, Mawatari, 大沼605-4
Website: Hitachi Seaside Parkn
Opening hours: 9:30am - 5pm (daily)
3. Feed the friendly animals at Hitachi City Kamine Zoo
The Kamine zoo is located inside the Hitachi Kamine Park, which overlooks the large Pacific Ocean. It is home to many creatures, including elephants, giraffes, capybara, beavers, and lesser pandas. There are around 500 creatures of 70 varieties housed here. Petting Square is one of the main attractions, where you can touch the smaller animals and the python, and observing the other animals up-close. The Elephant Cafe is a great place to enjoy a snack after a tour around the zoo.
Address: Ibaraki Pref. Hitachishi Miyatachou 5-2-22
Opening hours: Mar - Oct: 9am - 5pm (daily); Nov - Feb: 9am - 4:15pm (daily)
Price: 510 JPY (5 USD)
4. Soak up the healing energies of Oiwa Shrine
Mt. Oiwa in Hitachi, Ibaraki prefecture, is a mountain that was considered sacred for centuries. it is home to the Oiwa Shrine - a rare shrine, dedicated to 188 gods. It is known to have powers that can reinvigorate visitors’ physical and mental states. You will also encounter a large cedar with a trunk radius of 9 meters, and stands at over fifty meters tall. It is a tree that is over 600 years old and is designated as a natural monument. There is plenty of nature around the shrine you can explore around the shrines.
Address: 752, Irishima-cho Hitachi, Ibaraki 311-0402, Japan
Website: Oiwa Shrine
5. Buy the freshest catch at Nakaminato Fish Market
Nakaminato Fish Market is one of the largest of its kind in the country, bringing in over a million visitors a year. It runs along the Ibaraki coast, and boasts some of the freshest catch. You can buy many varieties of fish like salmon, tuna, and carp, along with shells, crabs, and even octopus. You name it, they’ll probably have it. You can also dine in the restaurants after your visit, knowing that the food is of the highest quality, straight from the sea.
Nakaminato Fish Market
Address: 19-8 Minatohoncho, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki 311-1221, Japan
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)
6. Get up close with sharks at Aqua World Ibaraki Oarai Aquarium
The Aqua World is a window into the ocean and is a great way to introduce yourself into the marine world. The aquarium has 60 tanks and serves as home to over 68000 creatures. You can interact with some of the animals there, mainly by feeding them. The institution also breeds sharks, a valuable creature here. There are many lectures and exhibits that run here. People of all ages will enjoy the experience at the aquarium.
Aqua World Oarai Aquarium
Address: 8252-3 Isohamacho, Oarai, Higashiibaraki District, Ibaraki 311-1301, Japan
Website: Aqua World Oarai
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 1850 JPY (18 USD)
7. Hail the sunrise at Oarai Isosaki Shrine
The Oarai Isosaki Shrine faces the mighty Pacific Ocean and is built as a celebration of the two deities that created Japan. The most iconic feature here is the Kamiiso-no-Torii, which translates to “gateway to the gods’ beach”. The gate is situated along the rocks set against the crashing ocean waves, in a very picturesque manner. You are encouraged to visit the shrine very early in the morning, as this is the perfect place to view the sunrise. Pictured above is a sunrise over a special new year’s ceremony (on January 1st) with two Shinto priests at Oarai Isosaki Shrine.
Oarai Isosaki Shrine
Address: 6890 Isohamacho, Oarai, Higashiibaraki District, Ibaraki 311-1301, Japan
Website: Oarai Isosaki Shrine
8. Book a beer tour and tasting at Asahi Breweries
Asahi Breweries is one of the more recognized names in Japan. And the Ibaraki brewery gives you a chance to tour around. Here you have a chance to actually touch barley and hops, the primary ingredients of beer. You’ll learn about the entire beer production process from barley-mashing to packaging. You can enjoy a freshly brewed beer in our open-area tasting room too. A tour here will last approximately 20 minutes. And as a bonus, you can get up to three glasses of their beer during the tour.
Address: 1 Chome-1-1 Midori, Moriya, Ibaraki 302-0106, Japan
Website: Asahi Breweries
Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (daily)
9. Relive your astronaut dreams at JAXA Tsukuba Space Center
Looking to expand your knowledge of science? You can visit the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center, Japan’s space exploration center. With mock-ups, replicas of space equipment, and many interactive exhibits, visitors can learn about the country’s efforts in space exploration. You can buy souvenirs from the shop after your trip here. Overall, the space center is the perfect place for curious people of all ages.
JAXA Tsukuba Space Center
Address: 2-1-1 Sengen, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305-8505
Website: JAXA Tsukuba Space Center
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 500 JPY (5 USD)
10. Step back in time at Warp Station Edo
Take a trip back in history with a visit to this picturesque Japanese village, which is actually a replica town built and maintained by Japan’s largest TV network. Used as a setting for many TV shows and dramas, the warp station is built after a typical Edo-period village, complete with the wooden houses and town gates. Parts of the town will be closed at times for shoots, so keep that in mind. You can buy your favorite TV posters in the shop after your visit here.
Warp Station Edo
Address: 1176 Minamiota, Tsukubamirai, Ibaraki 300-2306, Japan
Website: Warp Station Edo
Opening hours: 9:30am - 4pm (closed on Moni)
11. Snack on a local specialty at Daimaruya
Ibaraki is also known for its sweet potatoes, as it is the second-largest producer of the crop. Lapoppo Namegata Farmers Village is the place to visit if you want to experience and learn more about the sweet potato trade. If you want nice potato products to bring home, Daimaruya is a popular destination. It is located beside the Nakaminato fish market, which was mentioned earlier in this list. And if are looking for something unique, you can try their ice cream.
Address: 18-38 Shakamachi, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki 311-1225, Japan
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 9am - 5pm
12. Climb the famous double peaks of Mount Tsukuba
Mt Tsukuba is one of the most famous mountains in Japan, located near Tsukuba. It is known for its double peaks, named Nyotai and Nantai, a tribute to Izanami and Izanagi, two deities involved in the creation of Japan. There is a large shrine at the foot of the mountain, and smaller ones at the top of each peak. You can climb along the routes, or use the cable car to get to the top. From the summit, you can see most of Tsukuba and even Mount Fuji in the distance.
Address: Tsukuba, Ibaraki 300-4352, Japan
13. Be awed by the large Ushiku Buddha
Standing at 120 meters (393 ft) in height, the Ushiku Daibutsu is one of the tallest statues in the world. It is made from almost 4000 tons of bronze and houses a four-story museum. Inside, you are greeted by a large pot of incense, and upstairs you can view 3000 statues of Buddha, all made from gold. At last, on the top floor, there is an opening where you can view the flower garden, and on good days, you can even spot Mount Fuji, another dominant landmark in Japan.
Address: 2083 Kunocho, Ushiku, Ibaraki 300-1288, Japan
Website: Ushiku Buddha
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9:30am - 4:40pm; Sat - Sun: 9:30am - 5pm
14. Pick up fine wines at Chateau Kamiya
Chateau Kamiya was Japan’s first full-fledged winery. It is made up of the office building, fermentation room, and the warehouse for storage. The structures were constructed out of bricks and were completed in 1903. It was damaged during the 2011 earthquake damaged, and a major restoration effort was conducted. Today you can view this winery in much of its old glory, and even buy some souvenir wines from the shop.
Address: 3 Chome-20-1 Central, Ushiku, Ibaraki 300-1234, Japan
Website: Chateau Kamiya
Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (daily)
15. Take a sailboat cruise around lovely Lake Kasumigaura
Sail around Kasumigaura, the second largest lake in Japan. It covers almost 170 square kilometers (65.6 square miles) and is a place thriving with tourism, fishing, irrigation, and recreation. It is surrounded by towns and farmland, as it is a source of livelihood. You’ll see many boats in this clear lake, sailing around for fish or for fun. A sailboat is available for you to ride during limited periods from summer to fall, when snow and strong winds are not around. And visible from the lake are the twin peaks of Mount Tsukuba.
Address: Kasumigaura Bay, Ibaraki, Japan
16. Get bungee-jumping thrills on Ryujin Suspension Bridge
The Ryujin (dragon god) bridge is the third-longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the country, spanning 375 meters (1200 ft). From the center of the bridge, you can see the Ryujin Dam and plenty of lush cliff faces and mountains. The center is also over 100 meters (330 ft) from the ground, providing a perfect site for some exciting bungee-jumping. After your jump, you earn a certificate you can use for special discounts in the shop.
The Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge
Address: 2133-6 Kegano-cho, Hitachiota, Ibaraki 313-0351
Website: Bungy Japan
Opening hours: Sat - Thu: 9am - 5pm (closed on Thu & Fri)
Price: 16000 JPY (150 USD) for 1 jump
17. Visit the magnificent Fukuroda Falls
Bask in the beauty of Fukuroda Falls, one of the most beautiful sights in all of Japan, and one of the most iconic places in the Ibaraki prefecture. Rising at 121 meters (397 feet) in height, the waterfalls are reminiscent of giant steps to the heavens. The trees around the falls show their full colors during autumn, where brilliant reds and yellows provide a perfect contrast to the blue and gray of the falls. You can view all these from a pedestrian pass, which is open from November to April and is best viewed in mid-November.
Address: 3-19 Fukuroda, Daigo, Kuji District, Ibaraki 319-3523, Japan
Website: Fukuroda Falls
Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)
18. Stroll beneath the breathtaking autumn foliage of Hananuki Valley
If you visit Ibaraki in the fall, pass by this great area. Cliffs and waterfalls are present along the famous Hananuki Valley. These breathtaking views stretch from the Hananuki Dam to the Namerigafuchi and Kotakizawa Camping Grounds. The Shiomi Waterfall and the overhanging branches of trees along the clear Hananuki River provide picturesque views of nature. And from the hanging pedestrian bridge, visitors can enjoy a close-up autumnal leaves experience!
Address: Hananuki Valley, Ibaraki, Japan
19. Learn about textile weaving in the 'kimono town' of Yuki
The city of Yuki city is known for its durable, high-quality textiles. The textile making process of Yuki-Tsumugi has a history dating back 2000 years and produces some of the best fabrics for kimonos that can last for decades. Over 40 processes are involved in creating a single kimono’s worth of textile, which can take almost a year to produce. The Traditional Crafts Center is a must-visit place if you want to learn more about these textiles. Don’t forget to check out the shops and diners in the city afterward.
Address: Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
20. Savour Ibaraki's famous chestnuts at Kozawa Kurien
Ibaraki is home to plenty of chestnuts, nowhere more so than in Kasama City. The city itself is famous for its pottery, along with the world-class chestnuts, which is popular across Japan. Chestnut trees have been used for lumber for centuries, and its fruit has also become a delicacy in the city. Kozawa Kurien is one of the more famous farms here, and you can buy their grilled chestnuts. The chestnuts are best eaten immediately, so you can enjoy the full flavor.
Address: 637 Doshi, Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture 319-0204
Website: Kozawa Kurien
21. Arrange for a pilgrimage to the peaceful Kashima Jingū Shrine
The Kashima Jungu is a shrine to the deity of martial arts. It is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, as it was built during the 6th century. It is visited by over 600 thousand people annually and is just a 10-minute walk from the train station. The large red gate is one of the main features of this park, and one of the largest in Japan. There is also a dojo and a beautiful reflecting pond you can visit. Last, you can also feed the deer that roam the shrine grounds.
Kashima Jingū Shrine
Address: Japan, 〒314-0031 Ibaraki, Kashima, Kyuchu, 23061
Website: Kashima Jingū Shrine
Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm (daily)
22. Taste traditional natto at the Takanofoods Natto Museum
Natto is a popular food in Japan and is made from soybeans fermented with special bacteria. Takanofoods is one of the largest manufacturers of natto and has a museum dedicated to the awareness of the production process. The Takanofoods Natto Museum displays the history of natto, the process of making them, and how you can make your own natto at home. You can taste the natto, and even get some to take back home. The tour is free, so you can visit anytime during regular hours.
Takanofoods Natto Museum
Address: 1542 Noda, Omitama, Ibaraki 311-3411, Japan
Website: Takanofoods Natto Museum
Opening hours: 9am - 4pm (daily)
23. Curl up with a book at the spectacular Mito City Seibu Library
The Mito City Seibu Library is known for its circular atrium that takes inspiration from classic European structures. The concrete walls and the circular bookshelves give plenty of open space in the center, make the library conducive to reading. With over 100 thousand books in the collection, there is plenty you can read about. Learning the Japanese language is a bonus. Admission is free, so you can visit during the day and read just about anything you want.
Mito City Seibu Library
Address: 2311-1 Horicho, Mito, Ibaraki 310-0903, Japan
Website: Mito City Seibu Library
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 8pm (closed on Mon)
24. Stroll beneath Kairakuen Garden's famous plum trees
Located in the heart of Mito, the Kairakuen Garden is home to the Mito Plum Festival. Held every March at the start of the spring season, the park’s many plum trees bloom some of the most beautiful pink flowers, very comparable to the concurrent cherry blossom festival. You can also view these trees at night, where the lights create a highlight effect on the trees The lights give them a very beautiful glow and makes the garden a place of pride for the locals of the city.
Address: 1 Chome Tokiwacho, Mito, Ibaraki 310-0033, Japan
25. Tour the modern Tokiwa Jinja Shrine
The Tokiwa Jinja Shrine is a relatively new shrine constructed in 1873, beside the Kairakuen gardens in Mito. It was commissioned as a replacement to a smaller shrine that housed the spirits of two great feudal lords, Giko and Rekko. The shrine is also believed to grant favor to practitioners of martial arts and is visited by many people. There is a museum adjacent to the shrine, which houses artifacts from the Edo period. You can see a lot of Japan’s history through this temple.
Tokiwa Jinja Shrine
Address: 1 Chome-3-1 Tokiwachō, Mito-shi, Ibaraki-ken
Website: Tokiwa Jinja Shrine
Opening hours: Fri - Wed: 9am - 3:30pm (closed on Thu)
Price: 300 JPY (3 USD)
26. Slurp up a traditional bowl of Mito Clan Ramen
Mito Clan Ramen is based on a recipe served as long as 300 years ago, and remains a popular eating spot today. It has eight spots located around Ibaraki. Their eponymous signature dish is a bestseller and is made from unique noodles. The ramen is served with five different condiments, and the clerk will even assist you in how to eat the ramen. If you want a place to eat after a long day in Ibaraki, Mito clan Ramen is the place to be.
Mito Clan Ramen
Address: Ibaraki, Japan
27. Learn about war history at the Tsukuba Navy Air Corps Memorial Hall
Once the headquarters of the Tsukuba Naval Air Group, the memorial hall now serves as a museum. The building also served as a hospital for a time, after the war. Today, the museum is home to letters and mementos from pilots who engaged in World War II. Photographs, maps, and a detailed history of the group that stayed here are also on display here. The tour, pamphlets, and exhibits are all in Japanese, so knowing the language is recommended for a visit here.
Tsukuba Navy Air Corps Memorial Hall
Address: 654 Asahimachi, Kasama 309-1717, Ibaraki Prefecture
28. Indulge in sweets at the Confectionery Museum
You can indulge your sweet tooth in this confectionery museum, which is located in the outskirts of Mito city. A white kitchen greets you, white all the way from the utensils to the appliances. You can also view many candies and posters in other rooms too, showing the different products from Mito. There are also many kinds of sweets for sale in the store once your tour is done. Note that opening hours vary, so you’ll want to call them first before you visit.
Confectionery Museum Mito
Address: 2139-5, Migawacho, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture
29. Feast on signature melon cakes at Hitachi Sweets
Looking for some unique confectionery to enjoy? Hitachi Sweets has plenty to offer you. Their whole fruit cakes are the best sellers, which are made of carved out fruits like melon and peach, and are filled with some sweet pudding. They also offer roll cakes, stick cakes, dorayaki, and much more. If you are up for a challenge, try their giant watermelon cake, a fruit cake good for three. You’d want to come earlier, as many of these treats sell out quickly.
Hitachi Sweets Ichikawa
Address: Yubinbango 319-1414 Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture Hidaka-cho 3-12-1
Website: Hitachi Sweets
Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 9am - 8pm (closed on Wed)
30. Explore the kawaii world of Sylvanian Families at Sylvania Park
Located in Inabishi City, the Sylvanian Park is a place filled with animal puppets that are set in a model of Sylvania village, complete with furniture and housing. Kids can even dress up in costumes if they want to, and visit the cute rooms and houses present. It is based on the Sylvania Families, a dollhouse series that was born in Japan in 1985. These adorable puppets have captivated the hearts of many girls in the country and loved in over 60 other countries. With all the cuteness and charm, a visit to the Park is a fun experience.
Address: Kamikimiyama 2060-1, Inashiki, Ibaraki Prefecture 300-0528
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 9 USD
Ibaraki: a mix of nature and culture
Ibaraki boasts some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country, from blue flowers to the red waterfalls, all the way to the yellow sunrise. It also boasts some of the best of culture, including fine kimonos, bountiful chestnuts, and classic natto. Add a dash of modern science and history, and Ibaraki definitely is a place you should visit. This is exactly where you should come with your family or friends and enjoy a great time bonding.
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