• Locations in Japan

LJC Spotlight – Living in Ibaraki Prefecture

What is it like living in Ibaraki Prefecture

Ibaraki prefecture in Japan is located just north of Chiba and is famous for its natural environment. Mito city is only a short distance from central Tokyo by car or train (about 90 minutes). Ibaraki is a place that has a bit of everything that makes Japan special, and if you are an individual who enjoys nature and living a relaxed life, Ibaraki is the place for you. 

 

Whether you are an outgoing person or not, Ibaraki prefecture has many interesting places for you to consider. 

Places of Ibaraki prefecture

 

Mito city

The city is the capital city of Ibaraki prefecture. It has a fair amount of attractions that you can see, including the Ibaraki castle ruins, Hitachi seaside park, and Kairakuen gardens. The city’s climate remains relatively cool and is quite accessible to central Tokyo via train or car.  What’s more, you can easily access several beaches such as Ajigaura beach during the summer with proximity to the ocean. 

 

Mito castle ruins

In particular, this castle rose to prominence during the Edo era when Tokugawa Ieyasu designated Mito city as a key base for one of his three branch families. In 1764 a large fire destroyed many nearby buildings and, the castle was later decommissioned. Nevertheless, it remains a point in history, and you can still see the gate within the city.

 

Mito Han School

 In 1841 the 9th daimyo Tokugawa Nariaki established the school.

Roughly an 8-minute walk from Mito station, this site was a former clan school of the Mito branch of the Tokugawa clan. For the retainers and associates of the Mito branch, the school was an important landmark for learning military and literacy. Unfortunately, many of the older buildings were destroyed during the feudal wars.

 

However, the Mito Han School still has a meditation hall, gates, and auditorium, which you can visit. What’s more, over 800 plum trees are located on the premises, and the park itself remains a popular place to view the trees during later February and early March. If you are interested in learning more about the history of Mito, we recommend checking out the Mito Han School. To find out more about the Mito Han School, please click here.

 

Kairaku-en garden in Mito, Ibaraki

Kairakuen gardens

Kairaku-en gardens are easily one of the most famous locations in Ibaraki. Along with Koraku-en in Okayama and Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, it is known as one of Japan’s ‘three finest landscape gardens. Kairakuen is famous for its large amount of plum trees. Like the school mentioned above, if you wish to admire the plum blossoms, it is a popular destination to visit during late February and early March. If you do go during this time, be aware there may be crowds as the garden celebrates its ”Mito Plum Festival’.

 

Ajigaura beach

At only a 25 minute drive from the city or an hour train ride, Ajigaura is a popular breach in Ibaraki and contains a number of hotels, shops, and facilities for you to enjoy a summer day by the sea. If you decide to drive, we recommend that you arrive early as parking is limited and the beach remains massively popular with the locals. Ajigaura beach is also a short distance from…

 

Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park is another location that remains a popular destination for not just people in Ibaraki but also those who live in Tokyo. The seaside park is close to the ocean and has various thousands of flowers displayed throughout the year (the flowers in spring are arguably the most famous). Tulips, chrysanthemums, and roses are just some of the many flowers you can see in this impressive park.

While in the park you can also ride the seaside train to get around. To find out more about the park, click here.

Additional places of note while living in Ibaraki

Hitachi city 

A city that is famous for its history for its company of the same name and its history of power points, appliances, and electronic products. 

Tsukuba

A city 40kms from Narita airport, famous for its university (Tsukuba University).

Ibaraki Airport

Ibaraki Airport is a small domestic airport located in Omitama.

 

Food of Ibaraki

The prefecture is famous for many fresh fruit and vegetables, and you can even go picking several times in the year.

 

Strawberry 

Strawberries are best picked throughout late February and early March, but a number of places throughout the prefecture offer January to April as an acceptable time frame. If you are interested in hunting strawberries, be sure to click here for more information.

 

Melon

From early May and several times throughout the latter half of the year, you can also go melon picking in Ibaraki. The melons that you can pick are often a nice green in color and are quite sweet. 

 

Hitachi beef

Although not a fruit, Hitachi beef is nationally renowned throughout Japan for its high quality. 

What do you think about living in Ibaraki prefecture?

 

For more of our original coverage of various prefectures in Japan, click here.