Mito, the center of Ibaraki Prefecture, has a population of 260,000. The Kairakuen garden in the center of the city is one of the three great gardens of Japan along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, and Korakuen in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture. This garden was built in 1842 by the 9th lord of Mito, Tokugawa Nariaki, who wanted to make the garden a place in which the lord and his people could enjoy together. There are more than 3,000 ume (plum) trees of about 100 kinds and the aroma of those plums wafts around the garden. A plum festival takes place from mid-February through March.
Mito’s most famous food is natto (fermented soy beans), which lately has been drawing attention as a healthy food. There are many restaurants serving various kinds of natto dishes. Try your favorite dish with natto … how about natto soba or a natto omlet?
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