Located right next to Tokyo in the Kanto region, Ibaraki is a contender for the most forgotten about place in Japan. Indeed, it was ranked as the most unappealing prefecture for tourism in Japan 3 years in a row between 2009-12 in a national survey. The reason why can be found in Ibaraki’s reputation of being a mainly rural agricultural area. But once you look past that you see that Ibaraki has some fantastic experiences on offer for tourists only one hour away by train from Tokyo. So here’s part one of two articles on why you’re missing out not visiting Ibaraki!
Hitachi Seaside Park
This large spacious park on northern Ibaraki’s Pacific coast is known for the changing colours of its flora and fauna throughout the years, which makes it almost look like a real life location from a Ghibli movie. From its stunning blue Nemophila in March and to its red Burning bushes in October, this park uses all colours of the paint pallet. A theme park, barbeque area and bicycle rentals all make this park a great day trip location.
As well as all this, the park hosts the Rock in Japan Music Festival every August giving you the chance to see some of the hottest J-Rock bands around.
The Great Ushiku Buddha, built in 1992 once held the record for the tallest statue on the planet. 25 years and two statues in China and Myanmar later and the statue is now the third largest but its size will still manage to take your breath away. Only a 50 minute train ride from Toyko and a 20 minute bus from the station, the great buddha is the perfect day trip for those who want to escape the city. The statues surrounding area is home to a koi pond where you can feed the very hungry koi, beautiful floral gardens and even a petting zoo.
Visitors are able to enter the buddha and travel to the top to see the view on offer from this awe inspring statue. A number artwork related to buddhism, as well as prayer rooms are found within the buddha.
Local people say you have to witness Fukuroda Falls in every season to really appreciate its beauty but even if you just see it once you’ll understand its natural exquisiteness. From being surrounded by lushish green trees in the summer to being completely frozen and climable in the winter, the falls offer something for every tourist no matter what time of the year.
The local area is famous for its apples and there are many apple treats in the surrounding tourist shops. A hot spring used by many local tourists is only a 15 minute walk from the falls too, giving you the chance to have a much deserved soak after a day of wandering around the falls.