Makabe Hina Doll Festival
In Japan, hina dolls were traditionally displayed to celebrate Girl's Day in early March. Locals started the Makabe Hina Doll Festival to encourage visitors to the historic town during the colder winter months.
During the festival, residents and businesses create elaborate displays of traditional hina dolls in their homes and shops. Visitors are free to enter to see these magnificent displays. Many of the dolls have been passed down through families for generations.
The historic area of Makabe is also home to warehouses known as "kura" and streets lined with traditional townhouses. Visitors can truly feel transported back in time during the festival.
- Makabecho, Sakuragawa City
- By public transport: From Iwase Station on the JR Mito Line, take a bus bound for Makabe Station (around 25 minutes). Alternatively, from Shimodate Station on the JR Mito Line, take a bus bound for Makabe Station (around 30 minutes).
By car: Exit the Kita-Kanto Expresswy at Sakuragawa-Chikusei IC and drive 20 minutes on Route 50 and Route 41. Alternatively, on the Joban Expressway, exit the expressway at Tsuchiura-Kita IC and drive 50 minutes on Route 125 and Route 41.
- Business Hours
Early February to early March
Many shops in the area are closed on Wednesdays. It is recommended to visit on other days.
- Sakuragawa City Tourism Division
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Established in 1716, Raifuku Brewery produces ten varieties of sake using rice suitable for brewing and yeast made from flowers. In addition to their most popular sake, the eponymous Raifuku, the brewery produces sake for export and liqueurs brewed using local ingredients.
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Ibaraki Nature Museum
Ibaraki Nature Museum is located next to Sugao Marsh, the largest nature conservation area in Ibaraki Prefecture.
The 16-hectare ground is home to the museum and a range of outdoor facilities.
Permanent exhibits showcase the history of planet Earth from prehistoric times, geology, and local flora and fauna from Ibaraki. Visitors can explore the museum then head out to observe some of the exhibits in real-time!
The museum offers free admission on two national holidays: Spring Equinox Day and Greenery Day.
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This 250,000 square meter park is located in the center of Koga City. The park encompasses a large swamp and lotus pond. It is also home to several traditional Japanese farmhouses and the grave of Yoshiuji Ashikaga (1537–1597), the former ruler of the province.
The Koga City Peach Blossom Festival occurs in the park from late March to early April annually. More than 1500 peach trees fill the grounds with delicate pink and white blossoms during the festival. Various special events and performances take place beneath the canopy of flowers.
If you miss the peach blossom festival, the lotus flowers bloom from June to July. The variety of lotus found in Koga Park is the Ogahasu variety, dating back some 2000 years!
Koga Park is a recipient of the UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes. It was the first place in Japan to receive this award.
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