14th Annual Natto Eating Contest

When: 10am – 12:30pm, February 28th, 2015
Where: Hotel Lake View Mito 2nd Floor (1-6-1 Miya-cho, Mito, Ibaraki)

A competition to see who can eat natto (fermented soy beans) the fastest! There will be a men’s division and a women’s division. There will be a preliminary round, after which 10 men and 5 women will continue to the final round, where men and women will be required to eat 5 or 3 bundles of natto wrapped in rice straw respectively. Registration for the competition has closed, but you can still go along and watch! There will also be stalls selling a variety of natto products from around the country.

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42nd Annual Mt. Tsukuba Plum Festival

When: February 21st – March 29th
Where: Tsukuba and the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest
Video

Tsukuba’s plum tree forest sits at around 250m above sea level, and from among the trees you can gaze out upon Tsukuba City, and even spot Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Sky Tree in the distance. The Mt. Tsukuba Plum Festival is unique in offering the chance to enjoy such a splendid view while walking amongst the red, pink, and white blossoms.

Every day during the festival there will be free plum tea and performances by gama no aburauri (a spruiker from the Edo period who would give lively performances to sell bulrush oil, which was used to treat wounds. It is now a famous local product in the Tsukuba area, particularly on Mt. Tsukuba). On weekends there will also be folk entertainment.

Throughout the festival stores around Tsukuba will sell a variety of plum-themed dishes for you to try. There will be a free bus between the various inns and hotels around Mt. Tsukuba that have onsen facilities on weekends and public holidays.

Strawberry Picking in Ibaraki

Ibaraki has the second largest amount of cultivated land after Hokkaido Prefecture, with 1,766 square kilometers dedicated to agriculture. That’s 28.8% of Ibaraki’s total area, making us number 1 in terms of percentage! Ibaraki is the top producer of a huge number of agricultural products, including melon, lotus root, hoshi-imo (dried sweet potato), mizuna (potherb mustard), and bok-choy. It is also a major producer of strawberries. With an annual strawberry production value of 7.6 billion yen, we are the second biggest producer of strawberries in the Kanto region.

The reason that Ibaraki’s strawberries are so abundant is the climate – in strawberry production, the difference between high and low temperatures and the amount of sunlight is very important. Ibaraki gets excellent marks in both departments! With long hours of sunlight and just the right amount of variation between high and low temperatures, Ibaraki’s strawberries grow delicious and sweet. With spring just around the corner, try picking some strawberries yourself and taste them as fresh as they come!

Hitachiota

Setsuko no Ichigo
Address: 1047 Matsudaira-cho, Hitachiota, Ibaraki (常陸太田市松平町1047)
Period: Late November to mid-June
Cost:
Adults: 1000 – 1500 yen
Children: 600 – 1000 yen
Varieties: Aki-hime, Beni Hoppe
PH: 0294-85-1160

Kanko Noen Ichigo BOX
Address
: 345 Shimomurata, Hitachiota, Ibaraki (茨城県常陸大宮市下村田345)
Period: December 8th – May 31st
Hours: Strawberry picking: 10am – 4pm (last entry 3pm)
Store: 10am – 6pm
Cost:
Weekdays
Adults (junior high and above): 1250 – 1650 yen
Children (aged 3 and over): 650 – 850 yen
Weekends and Holidays
Adults: 1400 – 1800 yen
Children: 700 – 900 yen
*60 minutes all-you-can-eat. Price may vary depending on the time of year. Closed   Mondays and Thursdays. On Fridays only the store is open.
Varieties: Hitachi-hime
Parking: 20 spaces (some space also available for buses)
Access: 25 minutes on National Road 118 from the Joban Expressway Naka IC (set your GPS to Shimomurata 887)
PH: 0295-51-3254
Homepage: http://www.15box.jp/

Tokai

Fujito Ichigoen
Address:  2-870 Muramatsu, Tokai-mura, Naka-gun, Ibaraki (茨城県那珂郡東海村村松870-2)
Period:
Strawberries: January – May
Blueberries: June – August
Hours:
Strawberries: 10am – 4pm
Blueberries: 9:30am – 4pm
*The hours may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Strawberries: 900 – 1500 yen
Blueberries: Current market price
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Yayoi-hime, Momoka, Ibara Kiss
Parking: 20 spaces
Access: 5 minutes by car from Tokai Station. 10 minutes by car from the Joban Expressway Tokai Smart IC
PH: 090-8057-0593

Mito

Harada Ichigoen
Address
: 2932 Kobuki-cho, Mito, Ibaraki (茨城県水戸市小吹町2932)
Period: Early January to mid-May
Hours: 9:30am – 3:30pm (every day)
Cost:
Adults (junior high and above): 800 – 1400 yen
Children (3+): 500 – 1000 yen
*30 minutes all-you-can-eat
Varieties: Aki-hime, Beni Hoppe
Parking: 25 spaces
Access: 15 minutes by car from the Joban Expressway Mito IC
PH: 029-241-5356
*If you are a group or a wheelchair user, please call ahead and book

Kasama

Kasama Kanko Ichigoen
Address: 2292 Kasama, Kasama, Ibaraki (茨城県笠間市笠間2292)
Period: Late January – mid-May
Hours: 9:30am – 3:30pm (last entry 3pm)
*The hours may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
January/February: 1300 yen
March: 1200 yen
April: 1100 yen
May: 1000 yen
*30 minutes all-you-can-eat. Discounts for groups with 20 members or more
Varieties: Tochi Otome
Parking: 20 spaces
Access: 5 minutes from the Tomobe IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway
PH: 0296-72-9280
Homepage: http://www.city.kasama.lg.jp/index.php?code=2313

Najihara Kanko Ichigoen
Address: 4258 Motodo, Kasama, Ibaraki (茨城県笠間市本戸4258)
Period: Early February – early May
Hours: 9:30am – 3:30pm (last entry 3pm. Closed on Mondays)
*The hours may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
January/February: 1400 yen
March: 1300 yen
April: 1200 yen
May: 1100
*30 minutes all-you-can-eat. 100 yen discount for groups with 20 or more people. 200 yen discount for children elementary school aged and below.
Varieties: Tochi Otome
Parking: 40 spaces
Access: 10 minutes from the Tomobe IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway
PH: 0296-70-3133

Oarai

Oarai Berry Fields
Address: 2054 Kamiyama-cho, Oarai-machi, Higashi Ibaraki-gun, Ibaraki (茨城県東茨城郡大洗町神山町2054)
Period: Early January – late May
Hours: 9am – 4pm
*The hours may vary depending on weather, bookings, and the strawberries, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Elementary school aged and above
January – March: 1600 yen
April – May: 1400 yen
May 10 onward: 1000 yen
Children 3+
January – March: 800 yen
April – May: 650 yen
May 10 onward: 650 yen
Children 1-2 years
January – March: 400 yen
April – May: 200 yen
May 10 onward: 200 yen
*45 minutes all-you-can-eat. Separate cost for taking strawberries home.
Varieties: Beni Hoppe, Ibara Kiss, etc.
Parking: 15 spaces
Access: Train – 20 minutes’ walk from Oarai Station on the Oarai-Kashima Line (pick up from the station can be arranged)
Car – 6.2km from the Mito IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway
*Pick up and drop off to hotels and inns in Oarai can be arranged
PH: 090-9135-0391
Homepage: http://oaraiberry.com/

Ishioka

Nakamura Ichigoen
Address: 225 Asahi, Ishioka, Ibaraki (茨城県石岡市朝日225番地)
Period: Early January – late May
Hours: 10am – sold out
*The hours may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead. Showers and toilets available onsite
Cost: 800 – 1500 yen
*30 minute time limit. Cost may vary between children and adults depending on the time of year, please confirm costs ahead of your visit
Varieties: Beni Hoppe, Tochi Otome, Ibara Kiss
Parking: 20 spaces
Access:
Car – 12 minutes from the Tsuchiura IC on the Joban Expressway, or 25 minutes from the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC
Train – 30 minutes by bus from Ishioka Station
PH: 0299-42-3112
Homepage: http://www18.ocn.ne.jp/~naka-i/index.html

Ozeki Ichigoen
Address: 382 Tsuji, Ishioka, Ibaraki (茨城県石岡市辻382)
Period: Early December – early May
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Strawberry Picking
Adults: 1000 – 1500 yen
Children: 800 – 1300 yen
One pack of strawberries: Market price
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Beni Hoppe
Parking: Space for 3 large buses
Access: 20 minutes by car from the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC or the Tsuchiura IC on the Joban Expressway
PH: 0299-42-2885
Homepage: http://mito.cool.ne.jp/oozekiitigoen/

Marusaka Ichigoen (Kayabuki Minge)
Address: Tsuji 179, Ishioka, Ibaraki (茨城県石岡市辻179)
Period: Early January – late May
Hours: 10am onward
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Strawberry picking
Adults: 800 – 1500 yen
Children: 600 – 1300 yen
One pack of strawberries: Market price
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Ibara Kiss
Parking: Space for large buses
Access: 20 minutes from the Tsuchiura IC or the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC on the Joban Expressway
PH: 0299-42-3330

Ichigoya Nomu Nomu
Address: 1416 Obata, Ishioka, Ibaraki (茨城県石岡市小幡1416)
Period: January – mid-May
Hours: 10:30am – sold out (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather and the strawberries, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults
January – March: 1600 yen
April: 1400 yen
May: 1000 yen
Children
January – March: 1400 yen
April: 1200 yen
May: 800 yen
*April pricing continues until the end of Golden Week
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Beni Hoppe, Aki-hime, Yayoi-hime, Ibara Kiss
Parking: 150 spaces
Access:
Car – 30 minutes on the Flower Park route from the Tsuchiura IC or the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC
Train – 30 minutes by bus or taxi from Ishioka Station on the Joban Line
PH: 0299-42-4126

Maruyo Ichigoen
Address: 138 Tsuji, Ishioka, Ibaraki
Period: Mid-January – early May
Hours: 10:30am – sold out
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults (junior high and above)
January – February: 1500 yen
March: 1300 yen
April – May: 100 yen
Children (elementary school and below)
January – February: 1300 yen
March: 1100 yen
April – May: 800 yen
*30 minutes all-you-can-eat
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Ibara Kiss
Parking: 5 spaces
Access: 20 minutes by car from the Tsuchiura IC or the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC on the Joban Expressway
PH: 0299-42-2048

Tsuji Ichigoen
Address: 165 Tsuji, Ishioka, Ibaraki (茨城県石岡市辻165)
Period: Early January – late May
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults (junior high and above): 1000 – 1500 yen
Children: 800 – 1300 yen
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Beni Hoppe, Ibara Kiss
Parking: 20 spaces
Access: 20 minutes from the Tsuchiura IC or the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC on the Joban Expressway
PH: 0299-42-3181
Homepage: http://tsuji15.blog36.fc2.com/

Kasumigaura

Ikeda Farm
Address: 967 Shimotsuchi, Kasumigaura, Ibaraki (茨城県かすみがうら市下土田967)
Period: Mid-January – late May
Hours: 9am – sunset
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults
January – March: 1500 yen
April: 1200 yen
May: 1000 yen
Children
January – March: 1200 yen
April: 1000 yen
May: 800 yen
*30 minutes all-you-can-eat
Varieties: Tochi Otome
Parking: 30 spaces
Access: 5 minutes from the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC on the Joban Expressway
PH: 0120-15-2305
Homepage: http://www.city.kasumigaura.ibaraki.jp/kankosuisin/kajukankou/kajukankoutop.htm

Ozeki Ichigoen
Address: 231 Gotanda, Kasumigaura, Ibaraki
Period: Early January – May
Hours: 9am – 4:30pm (last entry 4pm)
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults (junior high and above): 1000 – 1600 yen
Children (3+): 800 – 1300 yen
Infants 300 – 500 yen
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Beni Hoppe
Parking: 15 spaces (can fit two large buses)
Access:
Car – 10 minutes from the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC on the Joban Expressway
Train – 20 minutes by taxi from Ishioka Station or Kandatsu Station on the Joban Line
PH: 0299-59-5508
Homepage: http://www.city.kasumigaura.ibaraki.jp/kankosuisin/kajukankou/kajukankoutop.htm

Suzumekko Mori
Address: 978 Shimosaya, Kasumigaura, Ibaraki (茨城県かすみがうら市下佐谷978)
Period: Mid-December – mid-May
Hours: 9:30am – 5pm (strawberry picking until 3:30pm)
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults (junior high and above): 1000 – 1600 yen
Children (3+): 800 – 1300 yen
Infants: 300 – 500 yen
Varieties: Tochi Otome, Nyoho, Beni Hoppe, Aki-hime
Parking: 50 spaces
Access:
Car – 13 minutes from the Tsuchiura-Kita IC or 10 minutes from the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC on the Joban Expressway
Train – 15 minutes by taxi from Ishioka Station on the Joban Line
PH: 0299-59-3477
Homepage: http://www.suzumeko.com

Numata Noen
Address: 1186 Shimosaya, Kasumigaura, Ibaraki (茨城県かすみがうら市上佐谷1186)
Period: Mid-February – mid-May
Hours: 9:30am – 5pm (strawberry picking ends at sunset or when the strawberries run out)
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults: 1000 – 1600 yen
Children: 800 – 1300 yen
Infants: 300 – 500 yen
Varieties: Tochi Otome
Parking: 30 spaces
Access: 5 minutes by taxi from the Chiyoda-Ishioka IC or 12 minutes from the Tsuchiura-Kita IC on the Joban Expressway
PH: 090-3475-3288
Homepage: http://www.city.kasumigaura.ibaraki.jp/kankosuisin/kajukankou/kajukankoutop.htm

Tsukuba

Ichigoya Tsukubane Farm
Address: 24-1494 Wadaihara, Tsukuba, Ibaraki (茨城県つくば市和台原1494-24)
Period: December – mid-May
Hours: Four times a day (10am/11:30am/1pm/2:30pm)
*Please book ahead by phone or using the website
Cost:
Adults (junior high and above): 1500 yen
Children (3+): 1200 yen
Infants: 900 yen
Varieties: Beni Hoppe, Tochi Otome
Access:
Car – 20 minutes from the Tsukuba Chuo IC on the Ken-O Expressway
Public Transport – Take the Tsukubus Sakuoka Shuttle from Kenkyu Gakuen Station or the bus bound for Techno Park Oho from Tsukuba Station and get off at Tsukuba Kitabu Kogyo Danchi Chuo Bus
PH: 029-869-0069
Homepage: http://tsukubanefarm.com/gari/

Hokota

Kenko Tasshaka Mura Fukasaku Noen
Address: 361 Dainigorisawa, Hokota, Ibaraki (茨城県鉾田市台濁沢361)
Period:
Strawberry picking: mid-January – early May
Melon picking: mid-June – early July (booking required)
Hours: 9:30am – 3:30pm
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Strawberry picking: 900 – 1500 yen (no time limit)
Melon picking: 2000 yen (you can take home one melon)
Varieties: Princess, Love Song
Parking: 200 spaces
Access: 30 minutes on National Road 51 from the Itako IC on the Higashi-Kanto Expressway or 40 minutes on National Road 51 from the Oarai IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway
PH: 0291-39-8560
Homepage: http://www.fukasaku-ichigo.com

Shimotsuma

Daichi Shimotsuma Nojo
Address: 833 Osagaya, Shimotsuma, Ibaraki (茨城県下妻市長萱833)
Period: January 2 – end of May
*The hours and cost may vary depending on weather, so it is recommended that you call ahead
Cost:
Adults: 1400 yen
Children: 1000 yen
*Price drops after March
Varieties: Tochi Otome
PH: 0296-43-9215
Homepage: http://www.yasai.joso.jp/shimotsuma_farm.htm

Hinamatsuri Events in Ibaraki 2015

Hinamatsuri, also known as the Doll Festival or Girls’ Day, is held on March 3rd every year. This historical seasonal festival can be traced back to the Heian Period (794-1185). Many places display dolls for around a month before the day of the festival. Many people will drink shirozake, a sake made from fermented rice, and eat hina-arare, coloured and flavoured crackers, and chirashizushi, sushi rice with a variety of toppings, usually raw fish and other seafood.

Doll displays and events in the name of this popular festival can be found in various locations around Ibaraki.

Useful terminology:
Nagashibina: Floating dolls down rivers to get rid of bad spirits and misfortunes
Tsurushibina: Stuffed dolls hung up on strings

Makabe Hinamatsuri

When: February 4 – March 3
Where: Downtown Makabe in Sakuragawa
Website: http://www.makabe-hina.com/
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H1uVuHwlzMk
Public Transport: Take the Wa no Kaze Special Event Bus from Iwase Station or the Hinamatsuri Special event bus from Tsukuba Center

Special Events

Japanese Puppet Show
When: February 16
Where: Makabe Denshokan Hall
Wa no Kaze Nagashibina
When: March 3, 11:30am
Where: Yamaguchigawa River

100 Step Hinamatsuri

When: March 1st 9am – 3pm (cancelled in poor weather)
Where: Juunisho Shrine 100 Steps, (Honmachi-dōri, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.daigomachi.or.jp/webdir/32.html
Public Transport: 3 minutes’ walk from JR Hitachidaigo Station

Miyata House Saku Café Hinamatsuri

When: Wednesday to Sunday 10am – 2pm from February 2 – March 1
Where: Miyata House, 4902 Korofuji, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki
Website: http://miyata-tei.com/event/hina.html
Public Transport: 5 minutes’ walk from the north side of JR Kamiogawa Station

Handmade Hina Doll Festival

When: 10am – 4pm, February 18 – March 3
Where: Takahagi Shimin Center, Hozumi-ke Residential Area, and various locations around Takahagi

Slowtown Kujiragaoka Hinamatsuri

When: March 1 – March 31
Where: Kujiragaoka Commerical District and various locations around Hitachiota

Tokai Terra Park Tsurushibina Exhibition

When: January 13 – March 6
Where: Tokai Terra Park, Tokai (1-1 Shirakata, Tokai-mura, Naka-gun, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.japc.co.jp/
Public Transport: 10 minutes by taxi from JR Tokai Station

Naka Hinamatsuri

When: January 31 – March 8
Where: Various locations around Naka (Click here for a list of display locations)
Website: http://www.naka-kanko.jp/news.php?category=0&code=235
Public Transport to Magariya, Town Hall, and the Chūo Kōminkan: 15 minutes’ walk from JR Kamisugaya Station

Kasama Ceramic Hina Doll Festival

When: February 3 – March 3
Where: Tou no Komichi, Gallery Road, Kasama Inari Monzen-dōri area, Kasama Station area, Yakimono-dōri, Tomobe Inter area and other locations around Kasama
Website: http://hinatouen.exblog.jp/
Public Transport: Take the free Kasama Loop Bus (does not run on Mondays) from JR Tomobe Station, or 10 minutes’ walk from JR Kasama Station

Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa Family Memorial Room Hina and Doll Exhibition

When: February 14 – March 15
Where: Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa-ke Kinen Shitsu, Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History, Mito (2-1-15 Midori-cho, Mito, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.rekishikan-ibk.jp/
Public Transport: Take the bus going to Sakuragawa Nishi Danchi from Mito Station Bus Stop 4 and get off at Rekishikan Kairakuen Iriguchi

Mito Plum Festival Hinanagashi

When: 11am, March 1, and 10am, March 7
Where: Kairakuen Park, Mito
Website: http://www.mitokoumon.com/
Public Transport: 15 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station

Meiji – Showa Retrospective Hina Doll Exhibition

When: 9am – 4pm, February 1 – March 10th
Where: Ibaraki Gokoku Shrine, Mito (1-2-1 Migawa-cho, Mito, Ibaraki)
Public Transport:
-Take the Sakurayama Route Bus from Mito Station North Exit Bus Stop 4 and get off at Sakurayama
-Take the bus from Mito Station North Exit Bus Stop 6 and get off at Lake Senba

Chikusei Hinamatsuri

When: February 7 – March 8
Where: Shopping area north and south of Shimodate Station and the Alterio, Chikusei (372 Hei, Chikusei, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.chikuseikanko.jp/index.php?code=279
Public Transport (Alterio): 10 minutes’ walk from JR Shimodate Station

Yūki Hinamatsuri

When: February 14 – March 7
Where: North Yūki
Transport: 5-10 minutes’ walk from JR Yuki Station

Special Events

Yui no Oto
When: March 7 10am – 4pm, 6-9pm
Where: Kyū-Kurokawa Rice Shop, Tsumugi no Yakata Museum, Yūki Kurabikan, Café La Famille, Oryoriya kokyu
Website: http://yuiproject.jimdo.com/
A number of artists will be performing at locations near JR Yūki Station. There will also be an area with food and craft stalls. Entry to the stalls and to Yūki Kurabikan is free, however tickets are required for the other locations.

Ohina-sama in the Sakano Family Residence

When: 9am – 4pm, February 1 – March 5 (closed Mondays)
Where: Sakano Family Residence, Mitsukaido Museum, Joso

The World of Hina Dolls

When: 9am – 4:30pm, February 7 – March 8
Where: Furusato Museum, Shimotsuma (2037 Onogomachi, Joso, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.city.shimotsuma.lg.jp/page/page000318.html
Public Transport: 15 minutes by taxi from Mitsukaido Station
Special Events
On March 1st there will be free powdered green tea and violin, flute, and piano performances

Ishioka Hinameguri

When: February 14 – March 3
Where: Ishioka Central Shopping District, Ishioka
Public Transport: 5-10 minutes’ walk from JR Ishioka Station

Tsuchiura Hinamatsuri

When: February 14 – March 3
Where: Various locations around the Tsuchiura Machikado Warehouses (Daitoku, Nomura, etc.)
Website: http://www.tsuchiura-kankou.jp/tanoshimu/hinamatsuri/index.html
Public Transport: 10 minutes’ walk from JR Tsuchiura Station

Toride Hinamatsuri

When: February 11 – March 3
Where: Various locations around Toride
Website: http://www.toride-kankou.net/news/2015/0106/4089.html

Edosaki Hinamatsuri

When: February 11 – March 3
Where: Edosaki Syoyukan and the Edosaki Shopping District, Ina
Website: http://syoyukan.com/

Tonemachi Hina Displays

When: 9:30am – 3:30pm, February 21 – March 3
Where: Yanagida Kunio Kinen Koen, Tone (1787-1 Fukawa, Tone-machi, Kitasoma-gun, Ibaraki)

119th Annual Mito Plum Festival

Locations: Kairakuen, Kodokan Hall
Dates: Friday, February 20th – Tuesday, March 31st 2015

“Spring in Mito starts with plum blossoms…”
The 119th Annual Mito Plum Festival will take place at Kairakuen and Kodokan Hall between February 20th and March 31st, 2015. Kairakuen boasts about 3,000 trees of 100 types of plums, and Kodokan Hall about 800 trees of 60 types of plums that will all be in bloom throughout the festival.

Besides being able to enjoy the wonderful plum blossoms, various events will take place nearly every Saturday and Sunday inside Kairakuen Park. Some events include tea ceremonies, Japanese drum performances, and much much more! Spring is the season when Mito shines! You won’t want to miss out on all the beauty and fun that the festival has to offer!

List of Events
Friday, February 20th
○ Plum Festival Opening – Memorial Present
Kairakuen East Gate, 9:00am~

Saturday, February 21st & Sunday, February 22nd
○ Mito-chan’s Birthday Party
Kairakuen, 10:00am~

Sunday, March 1st
○ Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Sekishu style)
Kariakuen Miharashi Square, 10:00am~
○ Mito Hina-nagashi (Ritual of floating paper dolls in boats)
Kairakuen, 11:00am~

Saturday, March 7th
○ Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Presented by Taisei Girls High School)
Kairakuen Miharasi Square, 10:00am~
○ Goken-kobai Hina-nagashi (Ritual of floating paper dolls in boats)
Kairakuen, 11:00am~

Sunday, March 8th
○ 68th Annual Photography Event and Photo Contest
Kairakuen, 10:00am~
○ Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Omotesen style)
Kairakuen Miharashi Square, 10:00am~

Saturday, March 14th
○ 10th Annual Night Plum Festival
Kairakuen, Kudokan Hall, Tokiwa Shrine, 6:00pm~
Click here for the Official 10th Annual Night Plum Festival Homepage

Sunday, March 15th
○ Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Urasen style)
Kairakuen Miharashi Square, 10:00am~
○ Boys and Girls Traditional Song and Dance Performance
Kairakuen, 10:00am~ & 2:00pm~
○ Bustle of the Plum Forest – Japanese Drums and Dance
Kairakuen, 11:00am~ & 1:00pm~
○ 69th Annual Haiku (Japanese Poem) Contest
Ibaraki Prefectural Youth Hall, 10:00am~

Saturday, March 21st
○ Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Presented by Suijo Senior High School)
Kairakuen Miharashi Square, 10:00am~

Sunday, March 22th
○ Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Edosen style)
Kairakuen Miharashi Square, 10:00am~

Saturday, March 29th
○ Yosakoi Plum Festival Dance
Kairakuen Miharashi Square, 10:00am~ & 1:00pm~
○ Mito Komon Festival Japanese Drum Performance
Kairakuen Miharashi Square, 11:00am~ & 2:00pm~

Tsukuba Robot Festival

When: 10am – 4pm, February 11th, 2015
Where: Tsukuba International Conference Center (Epochal Tsukuba), Tsukuba
Admission: Free

20150211 Tsukuba Robot FestivalHumanoid robots, mobility robots, daily life support robots, and much, much more – this exhibition will display a range of robots that support, rescue, and delight humans. Plenty to do and see for all ages at the Tsukuba Robot Festival!

Exhibitions and Workshops

Mobility Robot Zone
-Introduction of the Tsukuba Mobility Robot Experimental Zone and robots made by the teams that participated in the Tsukuba Challenge
-Try using a mobility robot (Segway, etc.)

Care Robot Zone
-A variety of robots including the communication robot PARLO and the therapeutic robot Paro will be on display

Robot Classroom Zone
-Workshop by Tsukuba Technical High School
-Humanoid Robot Nao Programming Workshop
-Robot Building Workshop

Robot Event Zone
-Robot Theme Park, etc.

*Visitors will need to register in advance for the Humanoid Robot Nao Programming Workshop. The workshop is targeted at children from 5th grade of elementary school to 3rd grade of junior high school. The workshop has a capacity of 20 people, and if more than 20 apply there will be a lottery to decide who can participate. Please apply here (Japanese only).

Presentation and Lecture

Presentation by Junior High Schools that Participated in the Robot Creation Contest Kanto Koushinetsu District Round
When: 12:20 – 1:10pm
Presenters: Namiki Junior High School, Yatabe Higashi Junior High School

Robots and Space Exploration – a Lecture by the Project Manager of the Hayabusa Asteroid Probe
When: 1:30 – 2:40pm
Lecturer: Prof. Junichiro Kawaguchi, Senior Fellow at JAXA

*Please refrain from recording or taking photos during the lecture
**The deadline for registration for the presentation and lecture is February 3rd. Please go here to register (Japanese only).