In Japan, a ranking of attractiveness is released every year. In that ranking, there is a weakest king that is at the bottom in 2013~2019 and 2021. That is Ibaraki Prefecture. My friends and I who have lived in Ibaraki for many years were proud to be at the bottom of the list, so we felt sad when we were no longer at the bottom in 2020.
However, being at the bottom of the list does not mean that it is not attractive. Surrounded by nature such as the ocean, mountains, and forests, it is a wonderful place with places to visit. In this article, I would like to introduce some of the attractions of Ibaraki prefecture of which there are several.
- Fukuroda Falls
Fukurota Falls is one of the three most famous waterfalls in Japan. It is characterized by its four-stage flow. The biggest attraction of the waterfall is that it changes its appearance depending on the season. In spring, the surrounding trees are budding and the waterfall is framed in green. In the summer, it is surrounded by blue skies and deep green trees, and during the rainy season, the flow rate increases, making it a very powerful experience. In the fall, it is a spectacular sight as it is surrounded by vivid autumn leaves. In the winter, the entire area freezes over, giving you a different view.
- Mt. Tsukuba
Mt. Tsukuba is only 877 meters high, but it is called “Fuji in the West, Tsukuba in the East” in comparison to Mt. Many kinds of plants grow in clusters here, and the ropeway and cable car make it possible to enjoy mountain climbing and hiking. There is also the Tsukuba Shrine on the mountain.
- Hitachi Seaside Park
Hitachi Seaside Park has a variety of facilities including an amusement park with attractions such as a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster, athletic facilities, barbecue facilities, and a cycling course. The best place to visit is Miharashi-no-oka, where from mid-April to early May, flowers called “nemophora” bloom, turning the whole vast hill a bright blue color. It is a heavenly view. In autumn, the kochia trees planted after the nemophilas turn red and the hill is dyed red, creating a spectacular view.
- Aqua World Oarai
Aqua World Oarai is one of the largest aquariums in Japan. You can observe about 580 species of creatures that live in the world’s oceans. It has the largest collection of sharks in Japan, and one of the largest tanks dedicated to sunfish in Japan. There are nine zones and dolphin and sea lion live shows, making it a very enjoyable experience.
- Kashima Jingu shrine
Kashima Jingu shrine is said to have been founded in 660 BC. The shrine is dedicated to Takemikazuchi, the god of war. In the precincts of the shrine, there is the Tower Gate, one of the three largest tower gates in Japan, the main shrine and the inner shrine built by the Tokugawa Shogun, the keystone that is said to holding the head of a large catfish that causes earthquakes, the Mitarashi pond, and the Deer garden.
Kairakuen is one of the three most famous gardens in Japan, along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Korakuen in Okayama. It was built in 1842 and is known as a famous plum blossom viewing spot because of the 3,000 plum trees of about 100 varieties that bloom in early spring.
- Ushiku Daibutsu
Ushiku Daibutsu is 120 meters long and is the largest Buddha in Japan. It is also registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest standing bronze statue. The interior of the Buddha is used as a panel display area and an observatory.
Natto is a fermented food made by fermenting soybeans with bacillus subtilis natto. It has a lot of nutrition so it is good for your heath. In Ibaraki , there is a brand called “Mito Natto”. This has the characteristics of small beans and strong stickiness.
- Monkfish stew
Monkfish is a deep-sea fish with a very strange appearance, but it has a light and gentle taste that you would never imagine from its appearance. It is rich in collagen and low in calories. Every year in November, an monkfish festival is held in Oarai.
Ibaraki is the largest producer of melons in Japan. It produces varieties such as the Ibarra King with its elegant fragrance and sweet flesh, and the Quincy melon with its mouthwatering and rich sweetness.
How was that? I could only introduce a few of them this time, but Ibaraki still has a lot to offer. Please visit Ibaraki to find them, as they are close to Tokyo. The kind-hearted people of Ibaraki are waiting for you!
Thanks for reading my blog.