Kairakuen Garden is ranked among Japan’s top three most beautiful gardens, alongside Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Korakuen in Okayama. The garden was established in 1842 by Nariaki Tokugawa, the ninth feudal lord of the Mito Domain. It has since served as a place of relaxation and recreation for the public.
Kairakuen is famous for its Plum Blossom Festival (Ume Matsuri) held from late February to early March. It is home to around 3,000 plum trees from 100 different varieties. Cherry blossoms and azalea in the spring and Japanese bush clovers in autumn keep Kairakuen looking beautiful year-round.
Founded in 1805, Hirose Shoten is blessed with the perfect conditions for sake brewing: a cold climate and underground reserves of fresh water from Mount Tskuba. The company aims to produce timeless sake that all generations will love. Hirose sake is well-balanced and refreshing with a memorable fragrance and flavor.
Traditional Crafts/Sake Breweries
Shizumine Furusato Park
This spacious park is famous for its cherry blossoms. There are nearly 2,000 Yaezakura (double-flowered cherry) and Someiyoshino cherry trees. During the cherry blossom season in April, various events are held in the park to make the cherry blossom viewing experience extra special.
Located in the heart of Mito City, Lake Senba is a great place to relax for locals and visitors alike.
The lake is encircled by a 3-kilometer-long walking and jogging route near Kairakuen Garden and the Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art. It is the ideal route for a relaxing day of sightseeing. Bicycles and swan-shaped pedal boats are also available to rent. Moreover, there are several cafes on the lakeshore for a coffee or ice cream after your stroll.
Plenty of wildlife can be found around Lake Senba. Koi carp and terrapins inhabit the lake, while swans and other birds are seen swimming along the banks. Around 30 whooper swans make their nests at the lake between mid-October and March each year. Be sure to observe these swans from afar.
Located next to Kawajiri Harbor, this beach is known for its shallow waters and gentle waves.
Muramatsusan Kokuzodo Temple
The temple is one of just three of its kind in Japan. Visitors can pray to end a streak of bad luck or ask for good fortune.
It is a popular spot for hatsumode, or the first temple visit of the New Year. Visitors line up in the early hours on January 1 to say their prayers for a prosperous year ahead.
Fukuroda Falls is ranked among Japan’s "Three Great Waterfalls." A visit here will quickly reveal why. Water cascades over four levels of the rocky cliff face, earning it the nickname "Yondo no Taki" (four times waterfalls).
In autumn, the falls are breathtaking when the fiery foliage transforms the surrounding mountains. But if you can’t make it in autumn, don’t worry! In winter, the waterfall freezes over in a stunning icy spectacle. In the summertime, the cool spray of the rushing water makes them a great place to escape the heat.
The Fukuroda Falls area is where several beginner-friendly hiking trails begin. It's a great way to explore more of northern Ibaraki’s stunning mountains.
If hiking isn’t your thing, head to one of the soba noodle restaurants or souvenir shops at the base of the falls. You can even sample the area’s famous apple pie!
Sekisho no Yu Hot Spring
The water at this natural hot spring is said to make bathers' skin smooth.
The on-site restaurant serves dishes made with Okukuji shamo, a type of local wildfowl unique to the area.
Osugi Shrine is dedicated to Anba-sama, a deity traditionally associated with fishing villages. In fact, shrines devoted to Anba-sama are rare. In particular, Osugi Shrine is known for its brightly-colored green and vermillion buildings. Visitors to the shrine can pray for protection from bad luck and misfortunes. Participants drive out lousy luck with music during one of the shrine's annual festivals. Local governments even designate the dancing as an intangible folk culture asset.
Oarai Sun Beach
Oarai Sun Beach is one of Ibaraki’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting thousands of visitors daily during the summer months. The beach's popularity is owed to its pristine sands and shallow waters.
Oarai Sun Beach is also accessible for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. Wheelchairs for use in the sea are available to borrow, and accessible changing rooms are on-site.
The beach is just a 10-minute walk from restaurants and souvenir shops.
Oarai Marine Tower
This 60-meter-tall tower is the symbol of Oarai Town. On clear days in winter, the building offers stunning views of Mount Fuji and the Nikko mountains in Tochigi Prefecture.
On the ground floor, visitors can purchase souvenirs in the gift shop or visit an anime-themed cafe at the "Girls und Panzer" restaurant.
Oarai Science Museum
This museum aims to help children learn science through hands-on exhibits and experiments. There are four themed areas: water, wind, light, and sea.
The museum is just a 5-minute walk from Oarai Sun Beach and Seaside Station shopping mall, making it the perfect addition to a day out in Oarai.