Ibaraki: Japan’s “Drab” Prefecture ... Is Actually Full of Charm, with Ocean and Mountains!

Ibaraki Prefecture has unwillingly garnered a dull image among the Japanese, even placing last in Japan’s “Most Attractive Prefecture” ranking. But wait—there are, in fact, numerous exciting adventures that can only be encountered in Ibaraki! With easy access from Tokyo, one of its main attributes is that you can effortlessly go and see stunning views of oceans and mountains even on a day trip. Here, we introduce two recommended one-day itineraries with an ocean theme and a mountain theme!

Tokyo Sta. → 1 hr 15 min by Limited Express (Ueno-Tokyo Line or JR Joban Line) → Mito Sta.

Relish ocean views and delicious cuisine! Oarai Cycling Route

The Oarai area, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is a center of various tourist spots, with a fishing port and beach in the middle of it all. More recently, a cycling road was developed, garnering popularity for its easy-to-ride paths with few slopes and refreshing location along the coast!

Mito Sta. (Kashima Rinkai Railway)
↓ 15 min by train (Oarai Kashima Line along the Kashima Rinkai Railway)
Oarai Sta. (Kashima Rinkai Railway)
↓ 1 min walk

The journey starts at Umimachi Terrace!

Rent a bike here. The Umimachi Terrace is a hub for Oarai tourist information, so rest assured that you’ll be thoroughly informed before heading out.
Electric bicycle 4 hours 1,000 yen, 1 day 1,500 yen

↓ 8 min

Business hours 9:00-17:30
URL https://www.instagram.com/oarai_umimachi/

Oarai Seafood Market

Fuel up on Oarai’s grilled seafood! You can enjoy fresh-out-of-the-water seafood such as clams and shrimp at the Oarai Fishing Port.
They don’t just offer grilled seafood, though. You can choose from a medley of seafood bowls and set meals!

↓ 5 min

Address 8253-56 Isohamacho, Oarai, Higashi-Ibaraki County
Business hours 7:00-17:00 (depends on the season)
URL http://www.oarai-kaisen.com/

Oarai Isosaki Shrine

One of Ibaraki’s most famous “power spots,” this shrine has over 1,100 years of history. Here, you can witness the beautiful scenery created by the sacred “Kamiiso no Torii” gate.
People also flock to see the divine view of the gate illuminated from behind by the rising sun, so we suggest waking up early to catch the sunrise!

↓ 45 min ~The coastal view is exhilarating!~

Access 6890 Isohamacho, Oarai, Higashi-Ibaraki County
Business hours May-Aug. 5:30-18:00, Sep.-Apr 6:00-17:00

Hitachi Seaside Park

In this vast, 215-hectare park are flower gardens, playgrounds, barbecue areas, and even an amusement park where you can enjoy numerous attractions. Different flowers blossom throughout the year, like baby blue eyes in April and May, kochia flowers in October, tulips and narcissus in the spring, sunflowers and roses in the summer, cosmos in the fall, and ice tulips and plum blossoms in the winter.

↓ 15 min

Address 605-5 Onuma, Mawatari, Hitachinaka City
Business hours Varies depending on time of year
URL https://hitachikaihin.jp/en/

Hoshiimo Shrine

This shrine wishes for everyone to “obtain whatever they desire.” It has a unique yellow-colored torii gate in the hue of a dried sweet potato, or hoshiimo, in Japanese.
Hoshiimo dried sweet potatoes are the local specialty of Ibaraki Prefecture, where they boast the No. 1 production of sweet potatoes. Its gooey texture and natural sweetness are second to none!

↓ 20 min

Address 172-2 Ajigauracho, Hitachinaka City
URL https://horide-hachiman.com/


Take a break while eating sweets made with Beniharuka, sweet potatoes from Ibaraki.
Don’t forget to buy some dried sweet potatoes as a souvenir.
Hoshiimo dried sweet potatoes are the local specialty of Ibaraki Prefecture, where they boast the No. 1 production of sweet potatoes. Its gooey texture and natural sweetness are second to none!

↓ 5 min

Address 21-1 Shakamachi, Hitachinaka City
Business hours 10:00-18:00
URL https://potato-labo.jp/

Ume café WAON/Ume Sonare oarai

Wave your fatigue goodbye by wrapping up the day with food, drinks, and sweets made with plums.
While they offer a multitude of individual pickled plums, their extensive menu also includes dishes showcasing the unique traits of each type of plum.
At “Ume Sonare oarai,” Japan’s first “plum experience park,” you can even make your own plum syrup and wine. (Reservations recommended)

Ume café WAON:https://kk-yoshidaya.co.jp/umecafe/
Ume Sonare oarai:https://select-type.com/s/ume_sonare/

Address Ume café WAON : 624 Isohamacho, Oarai, Higashi-Ibaraki County / Ume Sonare oarai : 6793-5 Isohamacho, Oarai, Higashi-Ibaraki County
Business hours Ume café WAON : 10:00~18:00(L.O. 17:00)/ Ume Sonare oarai : 10:00~17:00(L.O. 16:00)

↓ 7 min
Umimachi Terrace
Return bike (closes at 17:30)

Travel on the JR Suigun Line! Fukuroda Falls & Onsen Relaxation Route

The Fukuroda area is located in the northern part of the prefecture. Visitors can unhurriedly make their way on the local JR Suigun Line while appreciating the beautiful view. The highlight of this route is “Fukuroda no Taki” (Fukuroda Falls), one of the most scenic spots in Ibaraki that is well worth the travel. In the summer, you can escape the heat as you bathe in the negative ions.

JR Mito Sta.
↓ 70 min (JR Suigun Line)
JR Fukuroda Sta.
↓10 min by bus

Fukuroda Falls

Fukuroda Falls boasts a size of 120 meters in height and 73 meters in width.It is regarded as one of Japan’s Three Great Waterfalls.
A dynamic waterfall, it transforms with the seasons: fresh green leaves in the spring, cool sprays of water in the summer, autumn foliage in the fall, and a frozen icefall in the winter.

Admission: Adult 300 yen, Child 150 yen

↓ 5 min walk

Access Fukuroda, Daigo, Kuji County

Eat and walk on the shopping street

The road connecting Fukuroda Falls and Fukuroda Station is home to an array of restaurants and souvenir shops. Enjoy a stroll while munching on some salt-grilled sweetfish, dango (rice dumplings), or round konjac.

↓ 5 min walk

Honen Mansaku

This region offers a natural hot spring known for its slightly viscous consistency. “Honen Mansaku” is a hot spring inn in Fukuroda where you can relax in the presence of vast nature.
Be sure to check out the homemade apple pies made with locally harvested Okukuji-ringo apples. They’re very popular, so people line up in queues for a slice!

Address 169-4 Fukuroda, Daigo, Kuji County
URL http://www.fukuroda.co.jp/english/index.html

That’s not all Ibaraki has to offer!
Several other experiences you can’t get anywhere else in the Kanto region await.

Mt. Tsukuba

Included as one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains, Mt. Tsukuba is the lowest mountain on the list at 877 meters high. It has cable cars and a ropeway, allowing even novice mountain climbers to aim for the summit. Mt. Tsukuba has two peaks, Nyotai (female peak) and Nantai (male peak). In particular, the female peak delivers a sweeping panoramic view of the Kanto Plain.

Tsukuba City Tsukuba Tourist and Convention Association (TTCA)

Access Tsukuba Sta. (TX) → Shuttle Bus → Tsukubasan Jinja Iriguchi (Tsukubasan Shrine Entrance) Cable Car Side (36 min), or Tsutsujigaoka Ropeway Side (50 min)
URL https://ttca.Jp/

Ushiku Daibutsu

Listed in the Guinness World Records, this 120-meter-tall bronze Buddhist statue is one of the world’s biggest. Depending on the weather, you can see the TOKYO SKYTREE and Mt. Fuji from the observatory located 85 meters from the ground in the statue’s chest.
In the expansive Jodo Garden spreading forth at its feet is a carpet of flowers, and there is also a street with food and gift shops.

Access JR Joban Line Ushiku Sta. → 20-30 min by bus
Business hours Mar.-Sep. 9:30-17:00 (weekdays), 9:30-17:30 (weekends/holidays), Oct.-Feb. 9:30-16:30 (admission until 30 min. before closing)
URL https://daibutu.net/index.html

Ryujin Otsuribashi

At 446 meters long, this suspension bridge is one of Japan’s largest pedestrian-only suspension bridges. It hangs roughly 100 meters high, and you can enjoy the spectacular seasonal views.
For a more exhilarating experience, try looking through the viewing window that looks down on the lake surface, or even bungee jumping!

Access JR Hitachi-Ota Sta. → 40 min by bus
Business hours 8:30-17:00 (admission until 16:40)
URL https://ohtsuribashi.ryujinkyo.jp/index.html


This cafe with sensational views is designed as though it is floating on the ocean. With glass windows on all sides, you can see the Pacific Ocean while enjoying the food and beverages made with local Ibaraki ingredients. The cafe opens at 7 a.m., so you can also soak in the beautiful morning sun.

Access JR Hitachi Sta. → 1 min walk
Business hours 7:00-22:00 (last order 21:00)
URL http://seabirdscafe.com/

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I am Sana, born in Tokyo. I love travelling, dancing, drinking, very spicy food, sauna, thrill rides at amusement parks, camera, and monozukuri(handcraft), which tells me that I am curious about many things. There are more than 1,500 spots/places on my travel bucket list. I am going to provide information while enjoying myself!

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