Top 10 in Ibaraki

Exploring the best that Ibaraki has to offer

By Tom Roseveare    - 5 min read

Ibaraki prefecture is located north-east of Tokyo in the Kanto region. With large rural and agricultural areas, Ibaraki still has a number of famous sites dotted around the prefecture, including a number of beautiful natural environments, including one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, one of the Three Great Waterfalls of Japan and the second largest lake in Japan at Kasumigaura. Read on for more:

1. Kairakuen Garden in Mito

Kairakuen Garden
Kairakuen Garden

One of the most famous gardens in Japan, Mito's Kairaku-en is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan (alongside Okayama's Koraku-en and Ishikawa's Kenroku-en).

It is especially worth making a trip during the plum blossom season in February and March. This garden 'for everyone's pleasure' (as the name translates) is located not far from Mito Station.

2. Ushiku Daibutsu

The Daibutsu in Ushiku is a 120m tall statue of Amitabha Buddha in central Ibaraki and one of the tallest statues in the world.

Given its size, you shouldn't be surprised to learn you can actually enter inside the statue and take an elevator up to an observation deck with glorious, expansive views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can then take their time going back down around a museum that spreads across 4 floors.

Ushiku Daibutsu (Photo: Biankah Bailey)
Ushiku Daibutsu (Photo: Biankah Bailey)

3. ​JAXA Tsukuba Space Centre

Tsukuba Science City houses a large number of institutions and research facilities, not to mention Tsukuba University and this space centre.

As an introduction to the look and feel of Tsukuba's scientific community, JAXA's Tsukuba Space Centre makes for a good introduction and represents the centre of Japan's space netwdork, being the leading research and development facility in the country. They offer numerous tours for visitors to enjoy.

JAXA Tsukuba Space Centre
JAXA Tsukuba Space Centre

4. Kiuchi Brewery

Kiuchi is a small brewery in Naka, Ibaraki, that produces a variety of beers and sake.

They are most famous for their Hitachino Nest brand of beer, but started out making a name for themselves from their Kikusakari Sake product. A 'Brew on Premises' experience can be booked in advance, allowing groups to make their own original ale.

Kiuchi Brewery
Kiuchi Brewery

5. Hitachi Seaside Park

Located in Hitachinaka along the eastern coast, Hitachi Seaside Park features an incredible range of flower displays and activities across its 190 hectares.

Over anything else, the most identifiable area here is the sprawling fields and hill covered with kochia ('bassia'), which turn red or green depending on the season.

Hitachi Seaside Park (Photo: Yu Nakao)
Hitachi Seaside Park (Photo: Yu Nakao)

6. Fukuroda Falls

Located in the town of Daigo, Fukuroda Falls is a 120m high waterfall at the source of the Taki River, and ranked third in the Three Great Waterfalls of Japan behind Kegon and Nachi.

The falls break at several different levels, with multiple viewing platforms providing different angles to view them. In winter, they are even known to freeze.

Fukuroda Falls (Photo: Elysse Hurtado)
Fukuroda Falls (Photo: Elysse Hurtado)

7. Yuki Tsumugi

Yuki-Tsumugi is a silk-weaving technique which has been on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 1956.

Tsumugi no Yakata makes for a good introduction, but there are lots of craftmen still operating this traditional craft in the areas around Yuki and neighbouring Oyama. The October festival of Yuiichi is one of the best times to discover Yuki's local craft culture.

Yuki Tsumugi (Photo: Elysse Hurtado)
Yuki Tsumugi (Photo: Elysse Hurtado)

8. Oarai Aquaworld Aquarium

The Aquaworld aquarium is one of Japan's largest, and features around 68,000 sea creatures, including 48 species of shark. Dolphin and seal shows are held several times per day, as well as some other interactive events.

This entry should also serve to include Oarai's wider marine, sealife culture, ranging from the seaside markets selling fresh fish caught from the sea, to the Mentai Park theme park/museum which explains all you need to know about one of Japan's favourite ingredients, mentai (​marinated roe of pollock/cod).

Oarai Aquarium (Photo: Elysse Hurtado)
Oarai Aquarium (Photo: Elysse Hurtado)

9. Mount Tsukuba

At 877m Tsukuba-san may not be one of the highest mountains in Japan, but it made the famous list of Hyakumeizan (One Hundred Mountains of Japan) and is well-known amongst hikers.

Tsukuba-san consists of twin peaks (Nyotai-san and Nantai-san), a ropeway and cable car, offering hikers multiple routes.

Mount Tsukuba (Photo: Guilhem Vellut)
Mount Tsukuba (Photo: Guilhem Vellut)

10. Cafe la Famille

Perhaps a subjective choice, Cafe la Famille is a hidden gem of a French cuisine restaurant tucked away in Yuki city, but well-known in the local community.

Best known for its Breton-style galette, Cafe la Famille has a diverse menu for guests to enjoy, surrounded by the perfect rustic, almost-southern France setting.

Cafe La Famille
Cafe La Famille

If you have a chance to visit Ibaraki, do consider checking out these places!

Getting there

Ibaraki enjoys good access to Tokyo via both the Tsukuba Express (Tsukuba to Akihabara), the JR Joban Line (connecting Tsuchiura/Mito to Ueno/Shinagawa) and the Shonan-Shinjuku Line/Utsunomiya Line (Koga to Shibuya)

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Tom Roseveare

Tom Roseveare @tom.roseveare

Creative Director at Japan Travel, based in Tokyo.

Join the discussion

Elena Lisina 2 years ago
Yes, they all seems interesting! Thanks! I've visited only two of those places - Hitachi Seaside park and Kairakuen, both in May.