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Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Mito
Population
2,985,424

Ibaraki

Natto and nature in central Kanto

Full of interesting sights, Ibaraki prefecture should natto be underestimated.

Ibaraki Prefecture is Japan’s no.1 producer and consumer of natto or fermented soybeans, a sticky and stinky staple of the national diet that has been baffling foreign tastebuds for centuries. But fermentation isn’t Ibaraki’s only attraction; it’s also the birthplace of aikido, the site of the seasonal Fukuroda Falls and the plum-filled Kairaku-en, one of the world’s biggest Buddahs and the highest bungee jump in the country. The eastern seashores are lined with great surfing spots; from Oarai you can also catch the overnight ferry all the way to Hokkaido.

Autumn in Hitachi seaside park Ibaraki

See the autumn kochias at Hitachi Seaside Park.

Just northeast of Tokyo, the prefectural capital of Mito city is best known for Kairaku-en Garden, rated in the top three most beautiful Japanese gardens. With more than 3,000 plum trees it’s understandably a popular place to view the plum blossom as winter turns to spring, but it’s just as much of an enjoyable stroll around the tranquil hillside setting during the rest of the year. The annual umeshu (plum wine) festival is a chance to sample this deliciously sweet beverage from brands across the country. Mito is also where you can get your fill, or not, of fermented soybeans in any of the friendly restaurants across the city which offer full-course natto meals

Natto from Ibaraki prefecture.

Mmmmm natto.

For an odd but rewarding combination of hiking and science, head to Mount Tsukuba in the center of the prefecture. On the way up, visit the Tsukuba-san shrine to make offerings to the god of matchmaking and marital harmony. In the shadow of the mountain, the sprawling Tsukuba Science City is home to more than 200,000 researchers and students gathered together in the name of scientific discovery. Visit the Tsukuba Expo Center or the Tsukuba Space Center, and take a tour of the laboratories across the development.

Tsukuba City in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.

Learn about the latest scientific developments at Tsukuba City.

The breathtaking Fukuroda Falls in northernmost Ibaraki flow across tiered levels which transform with the seasons. There’s camping, fishing, hiking and hot springs in the surrounding region of Oto-Kuji too. Towards the coast, Oarai is an attractive beach resort that draws big crowds in the summer. There’s a little known car ferry service running from Oarai to Tomakomai in Hokkaido taking about nine hours – a route less travelled between Honshu and the wild northern island.

Places to visit

Hitachi Seaside Park

Ibaraki’s horticultural highlight.

Oarai Sun Beach

Come soak up the sun at Ibaraki’s favorite summer getaway.


Shrine gateway on Oarai coast at sunrise, Ibaraki, Japan.

Oarai Isosaki Shrine

Let's get spiritual.

Buckwheat field and Mount Tsukuba in the distance with its twin peaks.

Mount Tsukuba

As one old saying goes, “Fuji in the west, Tsukuba in the east.”


Kairakuen Park in Ibaraki.

Kairakuen Park

Plum pleasure.

Kasama Craft Hills

Kasama Craft Hills

Get crafty in the Ibaraki hills at this pottery park.


Honba Yuki Tsumugi History Museum

Where the history of silk comes to life.

Yuki City Gallery of Traditional Arts and Crafts

A full immersion weaving experience.

Other Destinations in Kanto

Chiba prefecture boasts a dynamic and dramatic coastline.

Chiba

There’s a lot more to Japan’s international gateway than you might expect.

Takaragawa Onsen, Gunma Prefecture

Gunma

Within toe-dipping distance of Tokyo, Gunma's onsen haven is the perfect bathing escape.

Yokohama is Tokyo's chic and cosmopolitan neighbor.

Kanagawa

Kanagawa offers much more than just a convenient location.

Flower-viewing at Hitsujiyama Park, Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture

Saitama

If you’re looking for a no-hassle escape from the city, Saitama is the place to run to.

Wisteria in Tochigi Prefecture

Tochigi

Heavyweight cultural heritage combined with a breathtaking natural landscape.

People eating and drinking in Yurakucho Tokyo Japan.

Tokyo

From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.