• For most of its history, Ibaraki Prefecture (formerly known as Hitachi Province) was a comparatively sleepy rural quarter of the country. In recent years, Ibaraki has become known as both a treasure house of traditional culture, home to countless shrines and temples, castle ruins and well-preserved gardens, as well as a center of high-tech industry: the prefecture birthed well-known firms like Hitachi and is now home to Tsukuba’s Science City, tech headquarters and universities. As the Tokyo megalopolis stretches down the coast, absorbing more and more of Ibaraki’s southern reaches, the prefecture has provided an exurban refuge for Tokyo residents willing to make the commute, and convenient transit links make its cities and towns attractive day-trip destinations.

    Tsukuba is perhaps the city with which Tokyoites are most familiar, especially since the inauguration of the mighty Tsukuba Express in 2005 which cuts travel time from Akihabara to Tsukuba to just under an hour. Tsukuba is sometimes known as Japan's Silicon Valley, and although that’s something of an understatement, it gives a picture of a well-developed and well-planned community with a surprisingly international character. Sites like the Tsukuba Space Center and Tsukuba Expo Center’s science center and planetarium are a good way to appreciate cutting-edge Tsukuba. Many also make the trip out to the city to hike Mount Tsukuba—although the hike is easy compared to other local routes, the Mount Tsukuba Cable Car (a funicular railway, despite the name) also takes visitors up the mountain.

    Mito, the prefectural capital, has a distinctly different vibe—still a modern Japanese city but home to many historical and culture destinations, ranging from the one of Japan’s finest old gardens at Kairakuen, Tokiwa Shrine, the ruins of Mito Castle, and Tokugawa Museum to the stunning Art Tower Mito and Ibaraki’s Museum of Modern Art. Mito also provides a convenient jumping-off point to other areas in the prefecture, as it sits on three JR East lines (Joban, Mito and Suigun Lines) and other local railways.

    Venturing out from Tsukuba or Mito, there are countless destinations to suit any taste or interest: beaches like Mizuki Beach around Hitachi City, the sacred mountain anchored by Oiwa Shrine, the lakeside town of Tsuchiura, the preserved buildings and cutting edge architecture at Makabe, or Oarai’s Isosaki Shrine with its oceanfront tori gate.

    Ibaraki is a microcosm of modern Japan: looking into the future but still reverential of its past.

    Hitachi
    place
    Ibaraki Pref
    Tsukuba
    place
    Ibaraki Pref
    Tsukuba Expo Center
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Tsukubashi Aduma 2-9
    phone
    029-858-1100
    opening-hour
    9:50-17:00 (Latest entry is …
    Mt. Tsukuba
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Tsukubashi Tsukuba
    Tsukubasan Cable Car
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Tsukubashi Tsukuba 1
    phone
    0298660611
    opening-hour
    9:20-16:40(depending on the …
    偕楽園
    place
    茨城県水戸市見川1丁目1251
    phone
    0292216570
    no image
    Giretsukan
    rating

    3.5

    108 Reviews
    place
    Ibaraki Mito-shi Tokiwacho 1-3-1
    phone
    0292210748
    opening-hour
    9:30-15:30 (Saturday Sunday …
    Mito Castle Ruins
    place
    Ibaraki Mito-shi Sannomaru 2-9-22
    The Tokugawa Museum
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Mitoshi Migawa 1-1215-1
    opening-hour
    10:00-17:00 (may vary, pleas…
  • Art Tower Mito
    rating

    4.0

    101 Reviews
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Mitoshi Gokenchou 1-6-8
    phone
    0292278111
    opening-hour
    9:30-18:00 (Extended by the …
    The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Mitoshi Sembachou Higakubo 666-1
    phone
    029-243-5111
    opening-hour
    9:30-17:00 (Admission is unt…
    Mizuki Beach
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Hitachishi Mizukichou
    phone
    0294247978
    opening-hour
    9:00-16:00 (observer residen…
    御岩神社
    place
    茨城県日立市入四間町752
    no image
    Tsuchiura
    place
    Ibaraki Pref
  • Mito(Ibaraki)
    place
    Ibaraki Pref
    Oarai Isosaki Jinja
    rating

    4.0

    195 Reviews
    place
    Ibaraki Pref. Higashibarakigunoaraimachi Isohamachou 6890
    phone
    0292672637
    opening-hour
    6:00-17:00

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