Where to Go in Ibaraki

Ibaraki Prefecture stretches from the commuter exurbs of Chiba in the south to Fukushima Prefecture in the north, with wooded mountains on the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. The prefecture is home to the hi-tech industry and ancient cultural sites.

  • Yuki and its Hina Matsuri

    Yuki and its Hina Matsuri

    Yuki and its Hina Matsuri

    Yuki City was, until recent times, a major supplier of woven fabrics, silk and paper. Industrial diversification and a reinvigorated old town has renewed Yuki’s prospects. City fathers have been careful to save the architecture of the old storehouse district. As Hina Matsuri approaches, the preserved buildings in the area are decked out for the festival sometimes called Doll's Day which runs from the end of February to the first week of March.

    Visiting Yuki is a wonderful opportunity to see a preserved townscape that has now mostly disappeared from Tokyo and Osaka, while still avoiding the tourist crush in Kyoto. Ichihachi-san Cafe is the perfect place to see how locals and transplants are remaking Yuki. The cafe—formerly a kimono shop—is on a street that’s home to sake breweries and artisanal miso and vinegar producers. After checking out the beautiful display of dolls at the cafe, and getting a cup of pourover, wander next door to Yuinowa Coworking Space, a great opportunity to connect with local creatives.

  • Hitachi City

    Hitachi City

    Hitachi City

    Hitachi City, on the Pacific Coast of eastern Ibaraki is a thriving industrial center with a name forever connected to the conglomerate named after it. Public art and architecture in the city always draws one’s thoughts back to the industrial heritage of Hitachi. The city makes a great jumping-off point for nearby sites and expeditions deeper into the northern half of Ibaraki and beyond.

  • Oiwa Shrine

    Oiwa Shrine

    Oiwa Shrine

    Oiwa Shrine is the focal point of a power spot at the foot of Mount Oiwa, a sacred mountain home to Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples and the small shrines to local guardian spirits. The Oiwa Shrine is said to be home to over a hundred kami, the deities of Shintoism that roost in shrines and natural places. Beyond the shrine, a path begins that takes pilgrims and hikers upwards on a mountain trail that meanders through cedar groves and stands of ancient trees.

  • Mizuki Beach

    Mizuki Beach

    Mizuki Beach

    The beaches of Ibaraki Prefecture offer easy access, and they’re usually a more tranquil affair than beaches closer to Tokyo. Mizuki is one of a string of beaches easily reached from stations on the Joban Line (Mizuki is easiest to reach from Omika Station). The great location and surf make Mizuki a perfect late summer escape.

  • Oarai

    Oarai

    Oarai

    A short ride from the prefectural capital, Mito City, on a locally-owned railway line (Kashima Rinkai Railway's Oarai Kashima Line), Oarai draws suburban beach bums and Tokyoites on weekend getaways to see the penguins at Aqua World. If dinner in the Oarai Marine Tower’s restaurant doesn’t appeal, there are many seaside restaurants specializing in the local seafood.

  • Isosaki Shrine

    Isosaki Shrine

    Isosaki Shrine

    The three main tori of Isosaki Shrine in Oarai all have their charms but most photographers train their lenses on—or frame their selfies against—the dramatically-staged final gate, set on a cluster of rocks in the Pacific. Sunrise is the perfect time to visit.

  • Nakaminato Cannon Foundry

    Nakaminato Cannon Foundry

    Nakaminato Cannon Foundry

    Beginning in the 19th century, the noose of Western imperialism was slightly tightening on East Asia. When Commodore Perry’s Black Ships rolled in, Tokugawa Nariaki of the Mito Domain decided that it wouldn’t hurt to have some cannons ready if things went sideways. The furnaces, built in 1857 only remained operational for a few years before being smashed up in the Mito Rebellion. The foundry, rebuilt in the ‘30s, is one of many points of historical interest in the port town of Nakaminato.

    Hitachi
    Address
    Ibaraki Pref. Hitachishi Saiwaichou 1-chome
    Phone
    Mizuki Beach
    Address
    Ibaraki Pref. Hitachishi Mizukichou
    Phone
    0294513972
    Oarai
    Address
    Ibaraki Pref. Higashibarakigunoaraimachi Sakuramichi
    Phone
    Aqua World-Ibaraki Prefectural Oarai Aquarium
    Address
    Ibaraki Pref. Higashibarakigunoaraimachi Isohamachou 8252-3
    Phone
    0292675151
  • Oarai Marine Tower
    Address
    Ibaraki Pref. Higashibarakigunoaraimachi Minatochuou 10
    Phone
    029-266-3366
    Oarai Isosaki Jinja
    Address
    Ibaraki Pref. Higashibarakigunoaraimachi Isohamachou 6890
    Phone
    0292672637
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