Ibaraki. Tokyo’s overlooked neighbour: Part 2

Continuing from the last blog, here are more recommended attractions that Ibaraki has to offer that make perfect day trips from Tokyo.

Kairakuen Garden

Located in Mito, the capital of Ibaraki, Kairaku Garden is famous for being one of the “3 gardens of Japan”, making it one of the three most beautiful gardens in the country.

Specialising in Plum Blossoms, the garden hosts its Ume Matsuri Plum Festival every March giving visitors the chance to walk around its Plum Tree groves at full bloom and experience a plum wine tasting event, which showcases plum wines from all over Japan.

Adjacent to the garden is Lake Senba, which offers gorgeous scenery and visitors can even try the swan paddling boats to sail into the middle of the lake.

During Cherry Blossom season in April, Gokoku shrine opposite the gardens hosts a large hanami (Cherry blossom viewing) party with outdoor karaoke and a variety of local japanese cuisine from its food stalls.

Ibaraki Beaches

Being situated on the Pacific coast means Ibaraki is home to a number of wonderful beaches.  Ajigaura beach, a 5 minute car ride from Hitachi Seaside Park this quaint beach is commonly used together with the seaside park to make a full day-trip. A large hot spring is located right next to the beach giving you the chance to clean off and have a nice soak after a day at the beach

Hitachi-taga beach is a popular beach in north Ibaraki, known for its waves that makes it a frequented spot by amateur surfers. Overlooking the beach is a large hotspring that offers spacious outdoor baths that gives you the chance to watch and listen to the crashing of the waves while you relax.

Oarai is becoming the most popular beach resort in Oarai thanks to its appearance in the anime Girls und Panzer. The town has two beaches. Its main beach is a few minutes walk from a large outlet mall with many shops and restaurants. Its other beach is famous for its torri shinto gate that floats on a sea bed rock, which is especially popular at New Year for people who want to watch the first sunrise appear through the gate.

 

Kashima Antlers

Ibaraki is also home to one of the strongest football teams in the country, kashima Antlers. Playing games at the Kashima Stadium, built in 2002 for the FIFA World Cup, the Antlers have won 8 league titles here to become the most successful club in the J-League. Match day here will give you the most authentic Japanese football atmosphere available just outside Tokyo.

The stadium is either a 70-minute train from Ibaraki’s capital Mito or 50-minutes from Narita with a transfer。

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