Tsuchiura, about a one-hour train ride from Tokyo, is home to Japan's first dedicated cycling hub with direct access from the Tsuchiura Station. It is a must-visit suburban attractions near Tokyo for bicycle enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the idyllic countryside as you pedal along, and an abundance of historic treasures and delectable Japanese gastronomy all awaiting your exploration. Allow us to present to you the wonders of Tsuchiura in Ibaraki, where you can indulge in delicious local cuisine and visit historical landmarks while cycling. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, be sure to include it in your itinerary on your next trip to Tokyo.
[Transportation/bike rental options] Incredibly convenient! Direct connection to Ring-Ring Square Tsuchiura
Ring-Ring Square Tsuchiura
Tsuchiura Station in Ibaraki Prefecture is conveniently located about an hour's journey from central Tokyo, with direct trains available, making it easily accessible. Upon arriving at Tsuchiura Station, make your way out through the west exit and descend the staircase. You'll soon spot a bike rental store named "Ring-Ring Square Tsuchiura". If you haven't brought your own bike, it's recommended to rent one from here.
If you've decided to have a cycling trip in Tsuchiura, it's advisable to make a reservation on the official website of Ring-Ring Square Tsuchiura. This way, you won't have to worry about not finding the bike model you desire, and the website also provides a Traditional Chinese version, saving you time from language barriers upon arrival at the store! For detailed information on making reservations, please refer to https://www.ringringroad.com/rentalcycle/
◾️ Transportation: From "Tokyo Station" to "Tsuchiura Station"
Take the Joban Line Express (bound for Katsuta) or the local Ueno-Tokyo Line (bound for Katsuta) without any transfers. Both options provide a direct route to your destination.
◾️ Fare: Joban Line Express: 2,190 yen; Ueno-Tokyo Line: 1,170 yen
◾️ Travel time: Joban Line Express: 49 minutes; Ueno-Tokyo Line: 1 hour 18 minutes
[Cycling road] 180 kilometers! Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road
Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road
Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road is a bicycle path that offers breathtaking views of Lake Kasumigaura, the second largest lake in Japan, and the renowned mountain range, Mount Tsukuba. In addition to its scenic beauty, the path spans across 14 cities and towns, stretching approximately 180 kilometers. Spend a full day cycling along this route, immersing yourself in the stunning scenery, engaging in physical activities, tasting Ibaraki's delicious cuisine, and exploring local attractions.
Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road
The region offers a smooth and stable terrain, making it ideal for cycling, even for beginners, as there's no need to worry about challenging slopes. Of course, there are routes designed for skilled cyclists. Advanced riders are suggested to venture from the bicycle path to the nearby Mount Tsukuba and Mount Kaba, feeling the excitement of off-road biking! Being designated as a National Cycle Route by the Japanese government in 2019, this path is an indispensable sightseeing spot for foreign visitors.
Exterior of Kagetsurou
Kagetsurou, situated in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture, is a well-known local restaurant that has been serving exquisite Japanese cuisine since its establishment in the 22nd year of the Meiji era (1889). Notable figures, including former Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, and American aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh, have all paid visits to this renowned culinary destination. With its longstanding reputation as a gathering place for famous individuals, Kagetsurou is undoubtedly the top choice for anyone seeking an authentic and traditional Japanese dining experience. The exquisite kaiseki cuisine at Kagetsurou use only locally sourced ingredients, with the menu changing according to the seasons. With a history of over 130 years, spanning the eras of Meiji, Taishō, Shōwa, Heisei, and Reiwa, this beloved establishment has been cherished by numerous luminaries and general public. It combines traditional and modern flavors, offering people the pleasure of savoring a diverse range of culinary delights.
Kagetsurou is adorned with an array of captivating historical photos.
Kagetsurou has nine rooms, including a tea room, each allocated based on the number of guests and banquet requirements. The kaiseki cuisine offers four options for both lunch and dinner: 8,000 yen (excluding tax), 10,000 yen (excluding tax), 15,000 yen (excluding tax), and 20,000 yen (excluding tax). Additionally, there's the "Limited Lunch" option - the "Ayazuki" set at 6,000 yen (including tax). There's also a houseboat journey where you can savor delectable dishes against the backdrop of an endless seascape, just like being in an extraordinary world. To savor the culinary delights at Kagetsurou, it is advisable to make reservations online. For more information, please refer to https://yoyaku.toreta.in/kg/#/.
"Ayazuki" set: 6,000 yen (including tax)
Information on Kagetsurou
Business hours: Lunch 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM (last order), Dinner 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM (last order)
Closed on Tuesdays
Official website: https://www.kagetsu.org/
[History] Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum offers a profound reflection on peace through the perspective of a young boy
Exterior of Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum
The Kasumigaura Navy Air Corps, located in Ami Town, Ibaraki, was established during the Taishō era. In 1939, Shōwa Yokaren relocated from Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture to Ami Town, assuming a vital role in the education and training of pilots until the end of the war.
Ami Town has always carried the historical reputation of being the "Navy Capital" and has experienced a unique era in modern Japanese history. It prompts us to contemplate the significance of the wars and peace that Japan has gone through, ensuring that we do not forget the numerous deeds deeply engraved in its culture and history. Apart from preserving and showcasing the rich history of Yokaren and the wartime experiences of Ami Town, the establishment of the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum aims to instill in the next generation a profound appreciation for the value of life and the importance of peace.
Inside the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum
The Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum is composed of seven permanent exhibition rooms, symbolizing the seven buttons on the Yokaren uniforms. It also features the 20th Century Hall, where special exhibitions and lecture events take place, as well as the Information Lounge, providing a relaxing space for visitors to rest and read.
"Yokaren" refers to "Naval Aviator Preparatory Course Trainee" and its associated system. With a surge in global demand for airplanes after World War I, Japan, in its pursuit to rival the powerful nations of Europe and America and cultivate a greater number of skilled pilots, began training young boys between the ages of 14 and a half to 17 under the Yokaren program, commencing in the 5th year of the Shōwa era (1930). These aspiring pilots were selected nationwide and underwent training to acquire the foundational skills. The Yokaren program lasted for about 15 years until the end of the war, during which around 240,000 individuals enlisted, with around 24,000 graduates proceeding to actual combat. Most of them joined the kamikaze, accounting for approximately 80% of the total casualties of 24,000, an overwhelming figure of 19,000 individuals.
Inside the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum
Inside the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum
Through the lens of "recruitment" and "volunteering", the first exhibition room, "Enlistment", offers a depiction of the young boys' uncertain emotions, capturing the era's backdrop and the evolving system of Yokaren.
The second exhibition room, "Training", displays illustrations, photographs, and actual items that depict the rigorous daily life and training scenes at Yokaren. It provides a powerful exhibition that allows visitors to appreciate the aspirations of individuals to become pilots during that era and offers a glimpse into the actual appearance of Yokaren students.
The third exhibition room, "Letters and Diaries", showcases letters, diaries, and notes written by Yokaren trainees. It offers insights into the thoughts of these young boys as they diligently undergo training amidst hope and apprehension. The powerful exhibition of the young boys' "emotions" stands as a testament to their enduring spirit, impervious to the erosion of years.
The "To the Sky" exhibit in the fourth room portrays the moments when Yokaren students, having completed their flight instructor and practical aircraft courses, set out for the actual battlegrounds. Despite the Yokaren pilots' bravery on the battlefield, they struggled to convey their longings and had to endure various tragedies.
The "The people of Ami" exhibit in Room 5 sheds light on the quiet backing of Ami's local residents, who support Yokaren trainees undergoing strenuous daily training amidst the harsh war. Information and data reveal the trajectories of life and various forms of communication during wartime.
Display Room 6, "Desperate Straits", unveils the intensifying conditions with enemy attacks on Japan. Through impactful visuals and the presentation of diverse data and testimonials, it vividly brings the terror of "aerial attacks" to life.
Room 7, named "Kamikaze attacks", brings attention to the enrollment of Yokaren trainees in the kamikaze. Enclosed in light, symbolizing those who perished, this space showcases the connection between Yokaren and kamikaze operations.
Information on Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum
Opening hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (last admission at 4:30 PM)
Closed on: Mondays (If Monday is a public holiday, the museum will be closed on the following Tuesday), and during the year-end and New Year holidays
Admission fees: Adults: 500 yen (400 yen for groups); elementary, middle, and high school students: 300 yen (240 yen for groups)
* Groups must consist of at least 20 individuals. Preschool children enjoy free admission.
Transportation: JR Joban Line "Tsuchiura" Station West Exit:
- Take the JR Bus bound for "Edosaki" and get off at the "Ami-Sakashita" bus stop. It's a 3-minute walk from there.
- Take the Kanto Railway Bus bound for "Ami Chuo Kominkan" and get off at the "Ami-Sakashita" bus stop. It's a 3-minute walk from there.
From Sakura-Tsuchiura IC on the Joban Expressway, take National Route 125 and use the bypass. It takes about 15 minutes.
From the Ken-O Expressway Taken Ami-Higashi (East) IC, it takes about 15 minutes.
Official website: https://www.yokaren-heiwa.jp/07english/index.html
Chisun Inn Tsuchiura Ami
3-1-1 Nishigo, Ami-cho, Inashiki-gun Tsukuba Ibaraki
[History] Kashima Naval Air Base Remnants Unveiled in July 2023 Ibaraki's New Attraction
Kashima Naval Air Base Remnants
Situated within Oyama Lakeside Park in Miho Village, Kashima Naval Air Base Remnants welcomed visitors on July 22, 2023. Intending to offer future generations a glimpse into the realities of war through its preserved relics, the site has emerged as a new destination for tourists. The Kashima Naval Air Corps was established in 1938. Former Yokaren graduates trained here in the operation of seaplanes. Following the war, it was repurposed as a subsidiary hospital of Tokyo Medical and Dental University until its closure in 1997. The site fell into ruins. There were plans to demolish the remnants and create a camping area, but opposition arose, advocating for the preservation of these wartime relics to educate future generations. That’s how Kashima Naval Air Base Remnants came into being.
The building has several movie filming spots.
The worn-out, dimly illuminated buildings create a setting that seemingly transports visitors back to the wartime period. This extraordinary and unconventional experience makes it an ideal destination for pondering the war, peace, and the value of life. Furthermore, thanks to the preservation of the authentic Command Headquarters Building, this site has been chosen as the filming spot for numerous movies, including the famous "映像研には手を出すな (Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!)". Enthusiastic fans should not miss the opportunity to pay homage to this iconic setting. Of course, the scenery is an essential aspect to explore. Let’s take some photos for lasting memories!
Exterior of Kashima Naval Air Base Remnants
Information on Kashima Naval Air Base Remnants
Business hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Open only on Saturdays and Sundays)
Closed on: Mondays to Fridays
Admission fee: Adults - 800 yen; Elementary, middle, and high school students - 300 yen
Official website: https://www.ibarakiguide.jp/event.php?mode=detail&code=89
[Gourmet] とみた家 (Tomita-Ya) - Widely acclaimed and sought after on social media A must-try, incredibly delicious eel burger
In addition to the mouthwatering eel burger, とみた家 (Tomita-Ya) offers a wide range of Tsukudani seafood delicacies.
The last attraction is とみた家 (Tomita-Ya) nestled near the Magaki Fudo Fort in Miho Village, Ibaraki. It is renowned for its mastery of Tsukudani seafood, a popular Japanese cooking style which involves a harmonious blend of soy sauce and sugar, resulting in a delectable balance of savory and sweet flavors. It pairs exceptionally well with steamed rice. Besides the array of Tsukudani seafood offerings, the most renowned specialty at とみた家 (Tomita-Ya) is eel burger! The eel burgers are frozen for storage, and upon ordering, the proprietress reheats them in a microwave. As they are kept frozen, they make for an ideal gift or can be taken back to the hotel and enjoyed later. Although they are called burgers, they are not made with bread but with rice. The steaming hot white rice, paired with the sweet and savory eel and sauce, is so irresistible that you can't help but take one bite after another. The 480-yen burger, a budget-friendly treat for your taste buds, is undoubtedly a must-try in Ibaraki!
Eel Burger: 480 yen per serving
Information on とみた家 (Tomita-Ya)
Business hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed on irregular days
These 4 attractions lie along the scenic route of Ring-Ring Square Tsuchiura. To facilitate a profound exploration and a deep insight into Japan's culture and history for international travelers, significant investments in have been made, enabling foreign visitors to immerse themselves in the historical ambiance of cultural heritage sites. By promoting tourism in Ibaraki Prefecture, we aim to foster a greater understanding of the significance of world peace. On your next trip to Japan, remember to include a cycling journey through Tsuchiura, Ibaraki, in your plan. This captivating bike ride, with a rich historical and cultural legacy, promises an unparalleled experience!