Upcoming Events

Disaster Recovery Support Exhibit, “Celebrating the 110th Anniversary of Walt Disney”

In order to support recovery efforts for the earthquake disaster the Ibaraki Tenshin Memorial Art Museum will be hosting roughly 700 pieces, including artworks and videos, featuring the life of Walt Disney, who overcame many difficulties in order to gain success.


August 18th to October 8th

Sun thru Thurs, 9:30am to 5pm

Fri/Sat, 9:30am to 8pm

(last entry is always 30min before closing time)


Before becoming the man beloved by people of all ages from around the world, Walt Disney had to overcome repeated failures in order to create his own unique world. In order to focus on the life of this man who continues to inspire dreams in people of all kinds the museum has borrowed artifacts and videos that have never been seen in Japan before from the Walt Disney Archives and the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. The goal is to send out a message of hope and dreams to aid in the earthquake recovery efforts.

The first 110 children of elementary school age or younger will be given free gifts of goods from this exhibition, from August 18th to 27th and every weekend after that (until limit is reached).

Special events:

–          Let’s draw Mickey Mouse!

A character artist from the Disney corporation will be giving special lessons on how to draw Mickey and other characters for elementary school aged children (first 40 children each lesson).

Date: August 25th, 11am/3pm, 30 minutes each time

Location: Entrance Lobby (free admission)

–          Family Workshop, Make your very own unique Disney strap!

There are as many personalities as there are people. This is a workshop where you can use various different beads and parts to create your very own strap accessory.

Dates: 8/26, 9/9, 9/16, 9/23, 10:30am/11:30am/1:30pm/2:30pm each day

*For the morning classes registration begins at 10am, for the afternoon classes at 1pm, first 10 groups of elementary age kids with their guardian)

Location: Lecture Room (free admission)

–          Heart-warming Disney Song Concert

Walt Disney also felt that music had the power to make people happy. This concert features Disney songs performed by the Ibaraki Prefectural Police Band.

Date: 9/22, 11am and 3pm

Location: Entrance Lobby (free admission)

Includes: It’s a Small World, Alice in Wonderland, etc

–          Disney Movie Screenings

8/19 Peter Pan

8/26 Cinderella

9/2 Alice in Wonderland

9/30 Dumbo

10/7 Pinocchio

Starting at 2pm each day

Location: Lecture Hall, free admission, max. 114 people

Upcoming Events

52nd Annual Mito Komon Matsuri

This festival began in the 36th year of the Showa era (1951) as a commemoration of Mito’s most famous leader, Mito Komon (also the prefecture’s mascot and title character of Japan’s longest running drama). The festival is held every year on the first weekend of August and includes parades, dancing, floats, portable shrines, a citizens carnival, and 4100 fireworks launched over Lake Senba.

Period: August 3rd to 5th

Location: Mito City, specifically around Mito Station, along the main roads by the North Exit, and Lake Senba

Event lineup:

8/3     7:30 to 8:30pm         Fireworks exhibition, Lake Senba (moved to 8/10 in case of bad weather)

8/4     10am to 9pm          Float parade, between Mito Central Post Office and Daiku-machi

2 to 4pm              Mito Komon Parade, between Mito Central Post Office and Daiku-machi

2 to 4pm            Children’s portable shrine procession, between Mito Central Post Office and Daiku-machi

4:30 to 9pm           Citizens Carnival in Mito, between Mito Central Post Office and Daiku-machi

10:30am to 12pm       Mito Komon Parade, between Hon-machi 1chome and Hon-machi 3chome

2 to 9pm             Hon-machi Town Festival, between Hon-machi 1chome and Hon-machi 3chome

1 to 8:30pm           Summer Dream Music, Art Tower Mito Plaza

11am to 9pm          Summer Dream Festa, Minami-machi Jiyu Plaza

8/5      10am to 9pm         Float parade, between Mito Central Post Office and Daiku-machi

2 to 6pm             Portable shrine procession, between Mito Central Post Office and Daiku-machi

6 to 9pm             Town Festival

10am to 12:30pm     Portable shrine procession, between Hon-machi 1chome and Hon-machi 3chome

1 to 8:30pm          Summer Dream Music, Art Tower Mito Plaza

11am to 9pm         Summer Dream Festa, Minami-machi Jiyu Plaza

Upcoming Events

Ibaraki Fireworks Festivals 2012

This is an attempt at a comprehensive list of all the fireworks festivals in Ibaraki this summer, so that everyone can enjoy them at some point. Please remember that the scale of the events varies; the Mito Komon Matsuri, for example, has 4100 fireworks, while festivals for smaller locations/events may only last a few minutes. But either way there will be music and food and good times^^

7/28 Oarai Ocean Fireworks Festival Oarai (Oarai Sun Beach)
7/30 17th Ajigaura Coast Fireworks Festival Hitachinaka (Ajigaura coast)
8/3 Mito Komon Matsuri Fireworks Festival Mito (banks of Lake Senba)
8/4 7th Koga Fireworks Festival Koga (Koga golf links)
8/4 Hitachi Kawarago Ocean Fireworks Festival Hitachi (Kawarago coast)
8/4 Shimotsuma Sanuma Fireworks Festival Shimotsuma (above Sanuma Lake)
8/5 37th Kawashima Region Fireworks Festival Chikusei (banks of Kinu River)
8/11 59th Toride Tone River Fireworks Festival Toride (Toride Ryokuchi Undo Koen)
8/11 Tokai Matsuri Fireworks Festival Tokaimura (Akogigaura Park)
8/12 25th Nakaminato Ocean Fireworks Festival Hitachinaka (Nakaminato fishing port)
8/14 Daigo Fireworks Festival and Lantern Casting Daigo (Kuji River banks, forks with Oshi River)
8/14 38th Gozenyama Cooling Fireworks Festival Hitachiomiya (Noguchi, near Naka River Bridge)
8/18 Hitachinaka Fireworks Festival Hitachinaka (JSDF Katsuta base)
8/18 Kokai River Fireworks Festival Chikusei (near Narita bridge on Kokai river)
8/18 Joso Kinu River Fireworks Festival Joso (Kinu River banks, Hashimoto Undo Koen)
8/18 34th Suigo Itako Fireworks Festival Itako (special venue on North Tone River, in front of Suigo Hokusai Koen)
8/24 Matsuri Tsukuba 25th Fireworks Festival Tsukuba (Gakuen no mori)
8/25 2012 Inashiki Natsu Matsuri Fireworks Festival Inashiki (Edosaki Sogo Undo Koen)
8/25 34th Kashima Fireworks Festival Kashima (above banks of Kitaura near Ofunatsu)
8/26 28th Kirasse Matsuri Fireworks Festival Kamisu (Hasaki beach, Sunsun par

9/22  40th Kamisu Fireworks Festival     Kamisu, Gonoike Ryokuchi Koen






Upcoming Events

Rock in Japan Fes. 2012

This is the perennial Ibaraki rock festival, featuring both local and nationally known artists in a 3 day music spectacular. This year’s festival is scheduled for August 3rd, 4th, and 5th, but unfortunately the tickets for the 4th and 5th sold out quickly so if you want to attend you’ll have to be quick to get tickets for the 3rd (11 500yen).

Location: Kokuei Hitachi Kaihin Koen (Hitachinaka)

Times: Gates open 8am, performances start at 10:30am, closes at 8:30pm

This year’s artists (for the 3rd only) are:

Applicat Spectra       avengers in sci-fi         WEAVER          AA=

Overground Acoustic Underground         Oleska Band         capsule

Kyari Pamyu Pamyu            GOOD4NOTHING             KREVA

Kuroneko Chelsea        Kobayashi Taro        coldrain        Suga Shikao

SCOOBIE DO        Straightener         dustbox         Chara

Kamo        10-FEET        TOTALFAT         Dragon Ash

NICO Touches the Walls         Su Kihaku        back number     the band apart

Hige        Fujimaki Ryota         PRINCESS PRINCESS        plenty

Hemenway         Maximum the hormones         MERRY         UL


THE Live Humans         ROTTENGRAFFTY

The dj booth features:

80KIDZ (dj set)         Endo Koyuki (FREAK AFFAIR)         

STAR GUiTAR~”Traveller” RIJ Special Live Set               TAKUMA (10-FEET)

Tomoyuki Tanaka (FPM)         Hachioji P         Bunta and Kuboty (TOTALFAT)

Hozaka Sohiko (soultoday)         Hori Atsushi (Straightener/ent)

Tickets can be purchased through the consoles at Family Mart, Lawson’s, or from TicketPia (7-11).

For those coming by train, there are paid shuttle buses running from Mito Station South Exit, Katsuta Station East Exit, and Ajigaura, times and prices varying by distance.

For more details see the website (Japanese): http://rijfes.jp/2012/

Upcoming Events

Water crossings and water demons

Shimodate Gion Matsuri

Spanning 4 days and centered around Haguro Shrine in Omachi, this is one of Ibaraki Prefecture’s biggest festivals.

During the festival the Meiji Mikoshi, a large portable shrine built to celebrate Japan’s victory in the Sino-Japanese War in the 28th year of the Meiji era, the Hime Mikoshi, the portable shrine of Haguro Shrine’s resident deity Tamayori Hime, the Heisei Mikoshi, built in the 4th year of the Heisei era and currently Japan’s biggest portable shrine, and around 30 children’s portable shrines will be carried throughout the city streets.

Early in the morning of the last day of the festival the shrines will be carried through the Gogyo River that runs through town, in order to purify the shrines of the impurities they have picked up during the festival, in what is called the ‘River Crossing’.


7/26    6 to 10pm   Shimodate Station North Exit Station-front Avenue

7/27    6 to 10pm   Shimodate Station North Exit Station-front Avenue

7/28    6 to 10pm   Shimodate Station North Exit Station-front Avenue

7/29    6 to 9am    Kanai-cho Gogyo River banks


Chikusei City Hall or the parkade in front of Shimodate Station

*There are a limited number of spaces so please use public transportation if possible

*Due to traffic restrictions in order to create car-free zones during the festival the roads will be very crowded. Please check the times and locations of the blocked routes in advance.


Chikusei Tourism Association (within the Tourism Division)

Tel. 0296-20-1160


31st Annual Ushiku Kappa Matsuri

Dates : July 28th and 29th

*There will be no vehicles allowed in the area from 3 to 9 :30pm

Locations: Hanamizuki Avenue (parade, portable shrines, dancing, etc)/Ushiku City Hall & nearby park (stage performances)/Ushiku Central Adult Education Center Cultural Hall (live music performances and rock show)

Come enjoy a weekend of fun in Ushiku based around the legendary ‘kappa’ (water demon). There will be dancing in the streets, a long parade, portable shrines in the evenings, rock music live shows, and performances by local groups (soccer, karaoke, and more). Not to mention the food! There will be a free shuttle bus from Hitachi-no-Ushiku Station’s East Exit directly to Ushiku City Hall running every 20 minutes from 2 to 10pm on both days. On a side note, some of the energy used to power the festival will be provided by a local wind-based power plant in order to help save the environment.

Upcoming Events

Ibaraki Prefectural Cultural Center Grand Re-Opening

In order to commemorate the re-opening of the Prefectural Cultural Center‘s Main Hall after the damage it suffered during the earthquake, we will be holding a concert featuring performances from local musicians.

Nakamaru Michie Concert

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Curtain up at 6:30pm

Doors open at 6pm

Performers: Nakamaru Michie

NHK Mito Children’s Choir


Sojiro Concert

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Curtain up at 6pm

Doors open at 5:30pm

Performers: Sojiro

The Acorn Tree Ocarina Ensemble

Admission free, assigned seating

Ibaraki Prefectural Cultural Center Main Hall

Children ages 4 and up will be allowed in

 Overview of Childcare services

1000 yen per child; please apply at least 5 days in advance of the performance date

RSVP Method: Using a return postcard please send: the name of the concert you want to attend, your address, your name, your age, your phone number, and the number of people who wish to attend (max. 4) to either ‘Nakamaru Michie Concert Staff’ or ‘Sojiro Concert Staff’ (you cannot apply for both concerts on the same postcard). Please make sure to write your name and address on the return part of the postcard. In case of large numbers of entries there will be a draw.

RSVP Period: Monday, July 2nd to no later than Monday, August 6th

RSVP Address: Ibaraki Cultural Revitalization Foundation

745 Sakasagawa, Senba-cho, Mito 310-0851

Hosted by:

Ibaraki Prefectural Government, Ibaraki Cultural Revitalization Foundation

2012 Agency for Cultural Affairs Regional Arts and Culture Production Promotion Initiative

Contact them at (Japanese only):

Ibaraki Prefectural Cultural Center

Tel: 029-241-1166

Ibaraki Cultural Revitalization Foundation

Tel: 029-305-0161


Upcoming Events

Ibaraki Airport News

Did you know that this summer Okinawa got just a little bit closer? As of July 1st, Ibaraki Airport now offers flights once a day to Naha, Okinawa at prices comparable to those of Narita or Haneda!

Skymark Airlines, who also operate Ibaraki Airport’s Sapporo and Kobe routes, now offers flights daily between Okinawa and Ibaraki:

SKY533 Ibaraki -> Naha  12:45 -> 15:50

SKY530 Naha -> Ibaraki   9:30 -> 12:05

Reservations can be made on the Skymark website (the cheap seats go quickly!). But for those who are looking for more of a deal there are special packages available. Skymark is offering a 3 day 2 night package including hotel and airfare starting at 28, 800yen, HIS has a 3 day 2 night package for the same price, Hankyu Kotsu has a 2 day 1 night package including a rental car for 28, 800yen, Skypack Tours has a similar plan for the same price, while Tabix Japan Mito Office has a 4 day 3 night plan including a stay at a resort hotel for 69,990yen. All of these and more can be found via search engine or through the Ibaraki Airport website (www.ibaraki-airport.net). But these flights are only until September 30th, so you’ll have to act fast!


Down Home Flavor from the Bottom of the Sea

**This is a new section of the blog focusing on food and drink establishments in Ibaraki. I hope to have many more such pieces up soon^^ Again, if you have any suggestions for places/people/things you would like to see covered on the blog, or have written a short ‘review’ of your own, please contact me at: intl.ibaraki@gmail.com Bon appetite!**

Place: Kaachan no mise (Mom’s place)

Location: Oarai Fishing Port

Cuisine: Seafood

Price range: 700 – 1300 yen

When you’re in a town right beside the ocean you know you have to try the seafood. Kaachan no mise is locally famous because it was started by the mother of one of the fisherman working out of the port here and began by serving other fisherman; if people whose life’s work is fish keep coming back, you know it has to be good. Expect to find a line up outside as word about the reasonably-priced, freshly-caught fare has spread, but the service is extremely fast so you won’t be kept waiting too long. Inside, the décor is fishing-themed, with the big triumphant ‘large catch’ banners that fisherman wave when they come back with a big haul hanging from the ceilings in their multi-colored glory, accented with nets and buoys. Everything is local and the seafood is brought straight from the morning fish market no more than 50 feet from the front door (which you can visit yourself if you get there early enough). Specials include the marinated fish rice bowl, the ‘Mom meal’ which has deep-fried fish and onions and shirasu and shiso leaf on rice, sashimi, and more. The menu is rather small, only 10 or so dishes with some changing daily specials depending on the catch of the day, but the food is very tasty and brought out quickly. That said, this is probably not a good choice for those with small children, as the portions are quite large and it’s seafood or nothing. Water and tea are free, but they do have beer on tap for only 300 yen a glass. The seats are cafeteria style, but overall it’s clean and pleasant. If you’re in the area you might as well drop in for some home cooking!