Upcoming Events

Winter Ice Falls – Okukuji Fukuroda “Journey of the Falls”

Fukuroda Falls, the waterfall that changes form with each season. During harsh winters, the falls in its entirety freezes solid and ice climbers can be seen, ice ax in hand, scaling the wall of ice. During Okukuji Fukuroda “Journey of the Falls”, the frozen falls are lit up with LED lights and visitors are taken to an elegant and mystical world.


Location: Fukuroda Falls and surrounding areas

Dates: Weekends and holidays through February 11th, 2013 (Monday)
Time: Sunset until 7:00 PM

Price: Adults 300 yen, Children 150 yen

※     Due to weather conditions, the falls may not always be frozen.



■“Winter is the time for hot springs!” Campaign

Discount tickets for local hot springs will be handed out.

Dates: December 1st, 2012(Saturday)- February 28th, 2013 (Thursday)


■     Free Okukuji Shamo (Game Fowl) Soup

Dates: January 12th (Saturday) and 26th (Saturday)

Time: From 4:00 PM (To the first 500 visitors each day)

Location: Near Takimi Bridge


■     Ice Sculpture Exhibits

Ice sculptures will be on display throughout the season to complement the falls.


■     28th Annual Ice Falls National Haiku Contest

Date: January 27th, 2013 (Sunday)
Location: Daigo Town, Bunka-Fukushi Hall “Main”

Disaster Info

Radiation Updates

This week we have:

Air            Shipping Restrictions                Drinking Water              Soy Beans

Fruits & Veggies              Seafood                 Milk                  Poultry & Eggs


Upcoming Events

Art Tower Mito Starlight Fantasy

Dates: December 1st (Saturday) – January 13th (Sunday)

Illumination Time: 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Location: Art Tower Mito, Mito Station North Exit Square


Art Tower Mito Starlight Fantasy is a local residents’ handmade fantasy that begins with the hope “to give children a dream once a year”.


Art Tower Mito, the surrounding buildings and trees, as well as Mito Station North Exit’s clock tower and surroundings trees will be decorated with a countless amount of illumination lights. There will also be various fun events throughout the Fantasy!



■     Light Up Gathering

Date: December 1st (Saturday) 4:50pm –

Location: Art Tower Mito

The illumination displays with be lit with a huge gathering of over 100 Santas!!


■     Christmas Concert

Date: December 2nd (Sunday)
Location: Art Tower Mito Concert Hall

Enjoy an energetic performance and chorus put on by elementary school students.


■     Countdown & Happy New Year

Dates: December 31st (Monday) – January 1st (Tuesday) 10:00pm –

Location: Art Tower Mito

Welcome the New Year with everyone while enjoying music and live performances!


■     Starlight Children’s Drawing Exhibit

Dates: February 19th (Tuesday) – March 1st (Friday)

Location: Art Tower Mito Entrance Hall

For more info about Mito, please see our homepage!

Upcoming Events

Hitachi Starlight Illumination 2012

Date: November 23rd (Friday) – December 25th (Tuesday)

Time: 5:00pm – 9:00pm (10:00pm Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays)

Location: Hitachi Civic Center / Around JR Hitachi Station


Come enjoy a beautifully lit 16 meter tall Christmas tree surrounded 360 degrees by an illumination of over 100,000 lights. The illumination will be accompanied by various events, such as a lighting ceremony on November 23rd (5:00pm to 6:00pm), a daily “Search for Santa”, a “Bubble Voyage” of a million soap bubbles (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays only), and many other events! Come out and enjoy the winter wonderland fun!

Upcoming Events

Star Dust Cruising at Mt. Tsukuba!

“A night view from the peak of Mt. Tsukuba that will take your breath away!”

“Star Dust Cruising”, a way to appreciate the night view and starry sky from the top of Mt. Tsukuba, began running in October for a limited time on Mt. Tsukuba Ropeway.

Below, you can see Tokyo Skytree and the flashing lights of downtown Tokyo. Above, a sea of stars spread out across the night sky. This fantastic view can’t be enjoyed anywhere else!


Dates: November (Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays)
December-February 2013 (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays)

※     Cancelled during times of rugged weather, including strong winds or fog

Location: Mt. Tsukuba Ropeway 【Tsutsujigaoka Station – Nyotaisan Station】

Time: 5:00pm – 9:00pm (20 minute intervals)

Price: Adults 1,000 yen roundtrip, Elementary age children and younger free!

For more info about Mt.Tsukuba, please see our homepage!

Upcoming Events

Steam Locomotive Returns to Suigun Line!

Dates: November 30th – December 2nd

Operation Area: Hitachi-Daigo Station ←→ Mito Station ※One trip per day


After nearly 14 years, a steam locomotive will run on the Suigun Line. The Suigun Line (recently nicknamed “Okukuji Seiryu Line”) attracts popularity as the local line that connects Mito Station in Ibaraki with Asakanagamori Station in Fukushima, as well as branching off at Kamisugaya Station to continue on to Hitachi-Ota Station.

With the steam locomotive running along the Suigun Line (between Mito Station and Hitachi-Daigo Station), there will be tons of fun things, beautiful things, and delicious things to enjoy! The nostalgia of the Okukuji Area is waiting for you!

■     Train Schedule■

<Outbound Train> Diesel Locomotive Okukuji Seiryu Line Train

Hitachi-Daigo Station 9:00am Departure → Mito Station 10:33am Arrival


<Inbound Train> Steam Locomotive Okukuji Seiryu Line Train

Mito Station 12:00pm Departure → Hitachi-Daigo Station 2:17pm Arrival

For more information, please visit: http://suigunsen.lolipop.jp/ (Japanese only)

For more info about Ibaraki or Okukuji, please see our homepage!

Upcoming Events

A Lesson in Good Taste

As sunlight filters through the worn window panes and warms the faded wooden floors it almost seems possible to hear the echoing laughter of children moving through the narrow halls on their way to class. The chalk board and bookshelves, world maps and wooden toys lie just as their owners left them, when this space’s time stopped. However, though Daigo’s Former Uwaoka Elementary School is no longer filled with the rows of students it taught for decades, the air is permeated with appetizing smells and little cries of delight from the adult patrons crowding the ancient classrooms.

With the pastoral scenes of lushly vegetated mountains forming a dramatic background, the Former Uwaoka Elementary School seems a little out of place with the mass of new model cars in the front lot. Opened in 1879, this wooden-frame schoolhouse operated for over a hundred years, finally closing in 2001. Inside one can still see the old fixtures and décor, and a trip through the halls is quite a fascinating glimpse into another era.

In order to make use of this beautiful old building and help bring back visitors to the northern regions of Ibaraki Prefecture, Uwaoka was chosen to host this year’s special gourmet event. Once a year a historical site is chosen to be the setting for an eatery that makes use of local products and labor, with the help of a famous chef, to promote the area and give an economic boost. This year Uwaoka has been transformed into the Delicious Hometown School (Oishii Satoyama Gakkou), an Italian restaurant under the guidance of Hidaka Ryouji, the owner-chef of Tokyo’s Acqua Pazza.

The menu is filled with local delicacies, such as Okukuji spring chickens and Daigo’s famous apples, and the fragrances wafting from the kitchens are as attractive as the beautifully arranged dishes. Thick, butcher block tables are framed with ikebana in fall colors, and sitting in the old classroom in the heat of the fading autumn sun while dining on carbonara is an exquisitely picturesque way to spend an afternoon. Offering both lunch and dinner service in full-course menus, as well as several live jazz music performances and art events, this is one class you do not want to be late for.

The Satoyama restaurant is open from October 6th to December 9th, 2012, but reservations must be made in advance and the lunch openings are growing few and far between so you’ll have to be fast. Whether you want to visit the former filming location of dramas like NHK’s Ohisama, see how the children of yesteryear spent their days, or dine on some innovative local food that gives back to the community, you will find much to like in Daigo’s new Italian renaissance.

Reservations can be made online or by phone, from their website

For more info about Daigo, please visit our homepage!


Beneficial Beans

One of the most popular new brands of coffee around the world is from somewhere you wouldn’t normally expect: a small rural area in Northern Thailand called Doi Tung. Developed as part of the Thai initiative to replace the region’s traditional heroin production with something more socially acceptable, the Doi Tung villagers, who are part of a tribal minority, farm coffee beans instead of poppies, with government subsidization. However, coffee beans are only valuable when there’s a market for them, and, as part of their continuing efforts to support developing countries, this is where Yuki’s Josai Hospital stepped in to help.

Josai Hospital has a long history of providing assistance to countries in the Asian region as part of the Japanese International Friendship and Welfare Foundation (JIFF) founded by the hospital’s lead doctor. Starting in 1982 JIFF has worked with refugees in Indo-China, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, forming teams to provide medical care in Thailand and other regions, and building relationships with regional hospitals. As a further step towards supporting the infamous Golden Triangle region (known for drug production) Josai Hospital built a coffee shop within their main building specifically for the sale and consumption of Doi Tung products.

Stepping inside the front door you might be forgiven for not thinking it is a hospital; photo montages of the Doi Tung tribespeople and their home decorate the walls along with tribal textiles. A short walk forward is the coffee shop counter and its menu of hot and cold delicacies, including caramel lattes, americanos, and some sinfully delicious cakes and dainties. After that the room opens into a café area, with tables and chairs formed from beautifully grained natural wood, complete with a gift shop section proferring Doi Tung crafts for sale. It is light and airy, with pleasant music in the background, and it is not until the odd patient or doctor happens by that you are reminded it is a medical facility. In fact, the first three floors of this area are dedicated to the Doi Tung coffee shop, open to both residents and visitors during operating hours, with the profits going back to the Doi Tung villagers.

Though the café only just opened in July of 2012, the hospital hopes that it will be welcomed by the greater community and help provide vital support to future development efforts in the Greater Mekong Region and Doi Tung in particular. If you’re in the mood for some delicious, and ethically conscious, coffee, be sure to drop by!

For more info about Yuki, please see our homepage!

Upcoming Events

A Passion for Watercolour Nakanishi Toshio and the Artists of the Sogenkai

Period: October 27th to December 2nd, 9:30 to 5pm (last entrance at 4:30, closed Mondays)

Location: Tsukuba Museum of Art

Admission: Adults 480yen, High school/university students 380yen, children 280yen

The watercolour style that was brought to Japan during the late Bakufu period and through the Meiji era was widely pervasive at the end of the Meiji era, with many pieces presented at exhibitions. However, during the late Taisho era it slowly fell out of popularity. During this time Nakanishi Toshio (1900-1948) and other young artists with a passion for watercolour gathered to become the Sogenkai (new watercolour movement) group.

When Nakanishi entered the Tokyo Art School in 1922 (Taisho Year 11), he and his friends from the temporary Japanese watercolour study group, Oyama Ryoshu (1898-1991) and Tomita Michio (1901-1994), formed the ‘Tokyo Three-Legged Party’, where they recruited other enthusiasts and promoted the study of watercolour. Two years later they renamed their group Sogenkai and expanded their activities; beginning with the setup of regional branches in 1930 (Showa 5) and the opening of watercolour seminars in all areas, their ‘watercolour revival’ movement spread across the country. Many next generation watercolour artists, such as Kobori Susumu (1904-1975) had their start in this group.

This exhibition will re-examine the activities of the Sogenkai through newly unearthed documents, focusing on Nakanishi Toshio, who left large footsteps on history of watercolour in the Showa period.

For more info about Tsukuba, please visit our homepage!