2015 Hitachi Sand Art Festival

When: July 19th, 10am – 8:30pm
Where: Kawarago Port and Kawarago Beach, Hitachi

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This year’s event includes many different attractions. There will be sand art creations on display and a section where you can learn how to make your own! There will also be stalls selling food and goods throughout the day and dancing on stage. For those who want to spend more time in the water there will be a banana boat to ride around on and aqua balls to try out so bring your swimmers! There will also be a water pistol survival game! To cap it all off, there will be a theatrical firework performance by Nomura Fireworks at 8pm.

There will be a free shuttle bus running from JR Hitachi-taga Station, and there will be no vehicles allowed in the area between 6 and 8:30pm, so hop on and leave your car behind. Come have some fun in the sun!

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6th Annual Lake Hinuma Hydrangea Festival

When: July 4-5, 10am – 4pm
Where: Lake Hinuma Nature Park (2263 Nakaishizaki, Ibaraki-machi, Higashiibaraki-gun, Ibaraki)

Bask in the beauty of around ten thousand hydrangea plants blooming by Lake Hinuma and enjoy a variety of fun events throughout the weekend.

Events

July 4 (Saturday)
Aoba Junior High School Brass Band
Performances by students from local daycares and kindergartens
Hydrangea Photo Contest Award Ceremony
Mita Kaori Live Performance
Performance by Local Characters
Shinohara Kazuhiro Jazz Quartet
Fairykids&Angelkids Hip Hop Dance
And more!

July 5 (Sunday)
Ibaraki Prefectural Police Band Performance
Tahiti & Hula Dance Show
Hiroura Anba-bayashi (traditional music performance)
Isoyama Jun Live Acoustic Performance
Mito 2nd High School Dance Club
Mito Local Idol Live Performance
NEVA GIVE UP Live Performance
Woodwork Workshop (make a xylophone and chopsticks)
Ikebana Workshop
And more!

Weird – Rare Plant Exhibition

When: June 20 – 28 9am – 4:30pm (last entry 4pm)
Where: Tsukuba Botanical Garden, National Museum of Nature and Science (4-1-1 Amakubo, Tsukuba, Ibaraki)

‘Plants have roots, stems, and leaves.’
‘The roots are below the ground and the stem is above.’
‘Plants use photosynthesis to make nutrients.’

Come see this bizarre collection of plants and have your preconceptions turned upside down! This exhibition, with the theme ‘weird’, will introduce you to unusual plants as well as threatened species that are now rarely seen in the wild.

Tomato Festival

When: June 19 – July 5
Where: Hitachiota Farm and Kitchen Participating Farms and Restaurants

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The Hitachiota Farm and Kitchen project is a collaboration between farms and restaurants in Hitachiota. The farm produce grown by Hitachiota’s young farmers with know how passed down through generations is cooked in innovative ways by local chefs. The Tomato Festival is their 7th project.

Tomatoes are delicious raw, but their nutrients are easier to absorb when they are processed, making them ideal for cooking, and perfect for a Farm & Kitchen ingredient. The refreshing umami of tomatoes has been used in western cooking as a recipe base for many years. It has been ranked number 1 for three years in a row among the vegetables most popular with children. Head to one of the participating restaurants to enjoy delicious tomato dishes!

Participating Farms and Restaurants

Farms
Kawasaki Shinpei (Sanzai-cho)
Miyake Shotaro (Matsudaira-cho)

Restaurants
Kogami (Konaka-cho)
Oguraya Shokudo (Takagaki-cho)
Hogetsudo (Higashiichi-cho)
Ahiru no Kobo Café (Higashisan-cho)
Kanasa no Yu (Kamimiyakawauchi-cho)
Gateau Daisy (Osato-cho)
café+1 (Higashiichi-cho)
La Verude (Sanzai-cho)
Tamakiya Main Store (Wada-cho)
Wataruya (Higashiichi-cho)
Nagomiya (Baba-cho)

Mt. Tsukuba Onsen – Edoya

After viewing the beautiful plum forest on the side of Mt. Tsukuba or after a climb to the top, nothing is more relaxing than a dip in one of the local onsen. Nestled at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba next to Mt. Tsukuba Shrine is Edoya, a traditional Japanese inn (or ryokan) and onsen.

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Although the three current buildings that make up the ryokan date from between 1968 and 1985, Edoya’s rich history can be traced back to 1628 during the Edo Period. After the Mt. Tsukuba Chuzenji Temple was built by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the area saw a sudden increase in worshipers, and Edoya was built to help meet those needs. After the temple was dismantled in 1872, the owner at the time built a western style mansion on the site, called the Holland Mansion, in 1873 in order to continue to draw visitors to the area.

Holland Mansion (Courtesy of Mt. Tsukuba Onsen - Edoya)

Over the years, Edoya has had many important and famous guests, including the 19th Sumo yokozuna (grand champion) Taniemon, Hitachiyama (born in Mito), poets Hakushu Kitahara and Yau Yokose, and even Emperor Showa (Hirohito) in 1985.

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Nowadays, Edoya is still enjoyed by visitors, both from within Japan and from abroad. For those who only want to stay the day, Edoya is a great place to stop and relax. Inside, one can enjoy lunch at its café Seseragi, or just enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while resting your feet in the ashiyu (footbath) located on the veranda overlooking a small river and greenery. Day visitors can also take a dip in Edoya’s onsen, which also overlooks the same wonderful greenery, and refresh after a long day’s hike around the area. For those looking for a nice place for dinner, Edoya is also home to the Japanese style restaurant Yusentei, where guests can enjoy a private dinning atmosphere.

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For those who wish to experience a traditional Japanese ryokan, Edoya offers Japanese style rooms to stay the night. With a large range of rooms, Edoya can accommodate between 2 to 7 people per room, making it a great place to stay for any occasion. They also have rooms with western style beds for those who want to still experience a traditional ryokan without sleeping on the floor on a futon. As most rooms do not have a bath, guests can bathe in the onsen for free (although rooms with baths are also available upon request). Also included in the price for most plans is a delicious Japanese style dinner and breakfast held in a dining area.

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Edoya also offers banquet rooms that can be rented out for dinners, weddings, enkai (or drinking parties), and even office meetings. They also offer the option to book a free shuttle bus to and from Tsukuba Station, offering easy access from Tokyo, and to those who don’t want to hassle renting a car (or just driving in general).

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While the ryokan is open all year round, it is especially popular during certain times of the year. The first is during the Plum Blossom Festival that runs between late February and late March. The next is during in the fall when Mt. Tsukuba turns red, yellow, and orange with the colors of autumn. Also, as Edoya is located right next to Mt. Tsukuba Shrine, it can become quite busy when shrine festivals take place.

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Whether you find yourself at Mt. Tsukuba just for the day, or decide to spend a weekend relaxing, Edoya is definitely worth a stop!

Address: 728 Tsukuba, Tsukuba 300-4352
TEL: 029-866-0321
Website: www.tsukubasan.co.jp (available in Japanese and Chinese)
Price: Lunch 3,000 yen/ person~
Stay (Dinner and Breakfast) 16,000 yen/ person~