Daigo Light – Light and Sound Festival

When: November 1 – February 15
Where: Fukuroda Falls and other locations around Daigo
Cost: Adults 300 yen, Children 150 yen (New Year’s Eve ~ New Year’s Day is free)

Starting November 1 and continuing on Friday to Sunday and holidays* until February 15, Fukuroda Falls will be transformed into a mystical space by the skills of highly acclaimed lighting technicians. The illuminations will commence at sundown and finish around 8pm, except on New Year’s Eve, when the event will continue until 2am. Parking is available on site for a fee and is limited to 900 vehicles. Be careful of ice on the road during the colder months.

Furthermore, from December 1st to January 15th, the Kuji River banks will be illuminated every night from sundown until 10pm.

*Between December 23rd and January 3rd the falls will be illuminated every night

Related Events

Distribution of Onsen Discount Tickets
When: December 1 – February 29
Where: Fukuroda Falls Tunnel Entrance
5000 tickets will be distributed.

Free Okukuji Shamo Hatto-jiru Soup
When: January 9, 4pm~
Where: Daigo Fukuroda Waterfall Viewing Bridge Area
Enough for 700 people – first come first served.

Fukuroda Ice Garden
When: January onward
Where: Fukuroda Falls Area
The freezing of the falls depends on the weather.

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13th Annual Mt. Tsukuba Momiji Festival

When: November 1 – 30
Where: Mt. Tsukuba, Tsukuba

From the end of October, beginning at the summit (877m), the leaves of the trees on Mt. Tsukuba gradually change colour. During the recommended viewing period (early to mid-November, the mountain receives many visitors.

Events

Taiko Performance by Taiko Group Sai
When: November 1, 1pm~
Where: Mt. Tsukuba Summit Cable Car Station Observation Deck

Fossil Excavation Experience
When: November 1, 1pm~
Where: Mt. Tsukuba Summit Cable Car Station Observation Deck
Cost: 500 yen

Mochi Pounding Festival
When: November 7
Where: Nyotai-san Ropeway Station Observation Deck
Free freshly-pounded mochi. First come first served.

Mt. Tsukuba Gama no Abura-uri Show
When: November 7
Where: Nyotai-san Ropeway Station Observation Deck

Free Gift for Cable Car and Ropeway Passengers
When: November 13
Where: Miyawaki Cable Car Station, Tsutsujigaoka Ropeway Station
For the first 100 elementary school students at each station.

Free Mt. Tsukuba Specialty Fukure Mandarin Chili Pork Soup
When: November 14-15, 11am~
Where: Mt Tsukuba Omotenashi Kan
For the first 100 people. Fukure Mandarin products will also be on sale.

Make a Ball Point Pen Using a Branch from a Plum Blossom Tree
When: November 14 – 15, 11am~
Where: Forest Adventure Tsukuba
Cost: 200 yen

Autumn Appreciation Festival Free Gift for Cable Car and Ropeway Passengers
When: November 28, 11am~
Where: Miyawaki Cable Car Station, Tsutsujigaoka Ropeway Station
For the first 50 passengers at each station.

Mt. Tsukuba Gama no Abura-uri Show
When: November 28
Where: Mt. Tsukuba Summit Cable Car Station Observation Deck

27th Ryujin Gorge Autumn Foliage Festival (Breathtaking Autumn Foliage & Fresh Soba Fair)

When:    November 1st (Sunday) ~ November 30th (Monday)
Time:      8:30am ~ 5:00pm
Where:   Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge, Hitachiota
————2133-6 Keganocho, Hitachiota, Ibaraki 313-0351
               竜神大吊橋、常陸太田
————〒313-0351 茨城県常陸太田市天下野町2133-6

27th Ryujin Gorge Autumn Foliage Festival

Admission Fee:
——————Individuals           Group of 30+
Adults:             310 yen                  280 yen
Children:         210 yen                  190 yen
Free admission on November 13th!

Food
Soba, udon, konjac, locally grown vegetables, and grilled salted fish.
Hitachiota is known as the birthplace of Hitachi Aki Soba (Japan’s best buckwheat).  You can enjoy fresh Hitachi Aki Soba at local stores. (However, available date of Hitachi Aki Soba varies by stores.)

Would you like to make soba using fresh Hitachi Aki Soba?
First-timers are welcome!
Date:       November 14th (Saturday)
Time:      10:00am ~ 3:00pm (Registration begins at 9:00am)
Where:    Soba House Rutin (そばハウス龍亭) (TEL: 0294-87-0333)
Price:      1,500 yen per person

Autumn Foliage Festival Stamp Rally
During the Autumn Foliage Festival, Suifu District will have 3 stamps from 3 different checkpoints.  Collect them and 20 applicants chosen at random will win a prize worth 3000 yen!

Mini Live Concert by Isoyama Jun
Date:       November 28th (Saturday)
Time:      11:00am~, 1:30pm~
Where:    Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge #1 Parking Lot

Satomi Autumn Flavour Festival

When: October 31 – November 1, 9am – 3:30pm
Where: Satomi Fureai Kan Event Square, Hitachiota

20151031_satomiautumn

Enjoy the delicious foods of autumn at the Satomi Autumn Flavour Festival.

Events

Both Days
53rd Specialty Product Exhibition and Sale
Soba Corner (Handmade soba demonstration and sale)
Satomi Milk Corner
Shooting Gallery
Pizza Corner
Delicious Satomi Rice Corner
Yakiniku Corner
Satomi Coffee

October 31 (Saturday)
1000 Person Nabe
Autumn Performing Arts Exhibition
-Satomi Poetry Society
-Satomi Karaoke Association
-Satomi Kasui Group (Yosakoi)
-Satomi Taiko Drums
-Satomi Day Care and Kindergarten
-Satomi Junior High School
Scarecrow Award Ceremony (from 1pm)
Kami-shibai (picture show) (from 2pm)
Aju World (from 2:30pm)

November 1 (Sunday)
Song and Performance Show (10:30am – 3pm)

108th Annual Kasama Chrysanthemum Festival

When: October 17 – November 23
Where: Kasama Inari Shrine, Kasama (1 Kasama, Kasama)

The Kasama Inari Shrine Chrysanthemum Festival began in 1908, when the chief priest at the time put together a gardening department to display chrysanthemum flowers in the grounds to help soothe the hearts of people who had been devastated by war and foster religious faith, with the belief that it would bring people closer to the earth and soothe their hearts.

During the festival approximately 5000 colourful chrysanthemum flowers of a number of varieties will be on display in the grounds of Kasama Inari Shrine.

Events

Chrysanthemum Doll Exhibition – Hana Moyu
When: 8:30am – 4:30pm (Last entry at 4:00pm)
Admission
Adults (senior high school and above): 800 yen
Children: 400 yen
(100 yen discount for groups of 20 or more, 200 yen discount for visitors to the Kasama Inari Shrine Art Museum)

Yabusame (November 3rd)

Dedicatory Kasama Jigen-ryu Iai Battoujutsu Performance (November 7th)

Yamato Koryu Dedicatory Ceremony (November 8th)

Bugaku Festival (November 15th)

Autumn Leaves in Ibaraki 2015

Autumn, the season of changing leaves, is finally upon us. Blessed with a diverse natural environment, there are many places in Ibaraki that you can visit to appreciate the colourful leaves of autumn.

Fukuroda Falls (Daigo)

One of the three great waterfalls in Japan, Fukuroda Falls is sometimes known as ‘Yodo no Taki’, a play on words that can be translated as either the four-tiered waterfall, referencing the four levels of the falls, or the four-time waterfall, as it is said that in order to appreciate their beauty, you must visit them in every season. There is parking on site as well as a store and vending machines. There are also a number of beautiful hiking trails in the area.
Trees: Maple, sawtooth oak
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Recommended spots: The waterfall viewing tunnel, viewing platforms 1 & 2
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Fukuroda 3-19
Access: 10 minutes by bus from JR Fukuroda Station. Get off at Takimoto, it is ten minutes’ walk from there. If travelling by car, it is roughly 50 minutes from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Mt. Yamizo (Daigo)

The highest peak in Ibaraki, Mt. Yamizo stands 1,022m tall and offers spectacular views of Tochigi and Fukushima Prefectures. At the summit you will find Yamizomine Shrine, Nichirinji Temple, and a virgin forest containing a variety of beech trees. Around the eighth station, you will find a group of springs from the Yamizo River.
Trees: Beech, Erman’s birch, Japanese oak, maple
Best time to visit: Late October – Early November
Recommended spots: Mt. Yamizo Viewing Platform
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Kaminomiya
Access: 50 minutes by bus from JR Hitachi-Daigo Station. Get off at Jakechi – it will take around 2.5 hours to reach the summit from there. By car, it is a 1 hour 50 minute drive from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Eigenji Temple (Daigo)

Eigenji Temple is nicknamed the Maple Temple. As the name would suggest, the Japanese maple trees around the temple create a fantastic view as they turn brilliant shades of red when autumn arrives. Eigenji Temple is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of music, and its elevated location provides a splendid view of Daigo, allowing you to see all the autumn leaves in the town.
Trees: Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Daigo 1571
Access: 10 minutes’ walk from JR Hitachi-Daigo Station

Mt. Nantai (Daigo)

Mt. Nantai is located in the south east of Daigo, and stands 654m tall. The northern and eastern slopes are quite gentle, while the western and southern sides are steep cliffs. Mt. Nantai has been a sacred places since ancient times, and is shrouded in a mysterious atmosphere. There are many hiking courses in the area that provide splendid views.
Trees: Maple, Japanese lacquer, Japanese oak
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Recommended spots: Tsutsujigaoka Viewing Platform
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Saigane
Access: 60 minutes’ walk from JR Saigane Station. 50 minutes’ drive from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Okukuji Valley (Daigo)

With the beautiful Okukuji River that flows through it offering splendid views along Route 118, Okukuji Valley is ideal for a leisurely drive. Mt. Yamatsuri, located in Okukuji Prefectural Natural Park among the southern-most peaks of Fukushima Prefecture offers splendid views from season to season. In particular, the changing leaves of late October to late November set the mountain ablaze with colour.
Trees: Keyaki, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Okukuji-gun Daigo-machi
Access: 40 minutes walk from JR Fukuroda Station. Roughly 50 minutes drive along Route 118 from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Hanazono Gorge (Kita-Ibaraki)

Hanazono Gorge is located upstream of the Hanazono River, and is part of the Hanazono Hananuki Prefectural Natural Park. During autumn red and yellow leaves fall from the trees and float down the river, creating another splendid piece of autumn scenery. At the bottom of the gorge you will find Hanazono Shrine. There are two hiking trails; the Nanatsu Taki Hiking Trail that begins behind Hanazono Shrine, and the Eizomuro Hiking Trail, located 15 minutes’ drive from Hanazono Gorge. On a sunny day, you can see Mt. Fuji.
Trees: Maple, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Early to late November
Recommended spots: Shiro Waterfall
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kita-Ibaraki-shi Hanazono
Access: 30 minutes’ drive from JR Isohara Station, or 25 minutes’ drive from the Kita-Ibaraki IC on the Joban Expressway

Sarugajo Gorge (Kita-Ibaraki)

Sarugajo Gorge is located upsteam of Hanazono Gorge. It is said that the Satake clan, after being defeated in battle, survived after receiving walnuts, akebi, and sake from monkeys that gathered in the area. Sarugajo Gorge is renowned for the beauty of its numerous waterfalls, which include Hako Waterfall, Rakuun Waterfall, and Senen Waterfall (which translates to ‘the waterfall of 1000 monkeys!). Listening to the sound of flowing water while appreciating the beauty of the changing leaves is an autumn experience you shouldn’t miss.
Trees: Yamamomiji, maple, beech
Best time to visit: Early to late November
Recommended spots: Hako Waterfall, Rakuun Waterfall, Senen Waterfall
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kita-Ibaraki-shi Sekimoto-cho Ogawa
Access: 40 minutes by car from JR Isohara Station. 35 minutes by car from the Kita-Ibaraki IC on the Joban Expressway

Hananuki Gorge (Takahagi)

There are splendid views along the Hananuki River from the Hananuki Dam to Namerigafuchi and the Kotakizawa Camping Ground. The view from the Shiomidaki Suspension Bridge that stretches across the gorge is particularly spectacular, even more so in autumn when the trees that grow along the river and stretch over the bridge create a gorgeous tunnel of fall colours.
Trees: Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Recommended spots: Shiomidaki Suspension Bridge
Address: Ibaraki-ken Takahagi-shi Ono area
Access: 25 minutes by taxi from Takahagi Station. 20 minutes by car from the Takahagi IC on the Joban Expressway.

Ryujin Suspension Bridge (Hitachiota)

Ryujin Suspension Bridge is located in Okukuji Prefectural Natural Park, and is located 100m above Ryujin Dam, which dams the Ryujin River. It is a 375m long pedestrian bridge and offers unique panoramic views in every season. The bridge is open from 8:30am to 5pm and costs 310 yen (210 for children) to cross.
Trees: Maple, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiota-shi Kegano 2133-6
Access: 45 minute bus ride from JR Hitachota Station. Get off at Ryujin Otsuribashi; it 20 minutes’ walk from there. By car, it is 45 minutes from the Hitachiota IC on the Joban Expressway.

Seizanso (Hitachiota)

Seizanso is the retreat where the second daimyo of the Mito Domain, Mitsukuni Tokugawa, spent his twilight years, from 1691 until his passing in 1700. It is a simple, single-story house with a thatched roof. From the round window in the study, you can gaze out upon the artificial miniature hill and the pond, which is shaped like the Chinese character for heart. Here Mitsukuni Tokugawa supervised the editing of the Japanese history book known as the Dai Nihonshi.
Trees: Japanese maple, ginkgo, konara oak
Best time to visit: Mid November to early December
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiota-shi Arajuku-cho 590
Access: 5 minutes by taxi from JR Hitachiota Station. 30 minutes by car from the Hitachiminamiota Interchange

Kagoiwa (Hitachiomiya)

This cliff face on a mountain south of Mt. Nantai in Okukuji that towers over Yuzawa Gorge has been shaped by years of wind and rain to look like a basket weave, giving the area its name. The viewing platform at the summit provides a splendid view.
Trees: Japanese maple, Japanese lacquer, mountain ash
Best time to visit: Mid November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiomiya-shi
Access: 30 minutes by car from Yamagatajuku Station. 1 hour by car from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway

Kairakuen (Mito)

One of the three great gardens of Japan, Kairakuen was built by order of Nariaki Tokugawa, 9th daimyo of the Mito Domain, in July 1842.
Trees: Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Mito-shi Tokiwa-cho 1-3-3
Access: 15 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station. 20 minutes from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway.

Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History (Mito)

The Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History has permanent exhibits covering history from ancient to modern. There is also a traditional farm house from the Edo Period and a western-style school building from the Meiji Period that have been dismantled and reconstructed in the grounds of the museum. In November, when the leaves of the gingko trees begin to change, the museum holds the Museum Gingko Festival. With most events falling on weekends and public holidays, you can enjoy traditional Japanese music, tea ceremonies, and other activities that celebrate Japan’s history and culture.
Trees: Maple, Japanese maple, ginkgo
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Mito-shi Midori-cho 2-1-15
Access: 15 minutes from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway

Gozenyama Prefectural Natural Park (Hitachiomiya)

The Gozenyama Prefectural Natural Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty. The view from the Naka River Bridge is reminiscent of Arashiyama in Kyoto, and is thus called the Arashiyama of Kanto. Autumn truly brings out the beauty of this region, as the leaves of the keyaki forest change and colour the landscape a variety of brilliant shades.
Trees: Keyaki, konara oak, evergreen oak
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Recommended spots: Fujikura Waterfall, bell tower ruins
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiomiya-shi
Access: 60 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station. Roughly 25km by car in the Gozenyama direction from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway.

Kitayama Park (Kasama)

In Kitayama Park, you can see the beauty of the seasons reflected in the lake that lies between the mountains. Take a walk through the park and be rejuvenated by its natural beauty. The park includes a viewing platform with 360 degree panoramic views, resting facilities, a camp ground, a barbeque area, and a roller slide. Spend time with your family and friends in this tranquil area.
Trees: Maple, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kasama-shi Hira-cho 1416
Access: 20 minutes’ walk from JR Shishido Station. 5 minutes on Route 355 from the Tomobe IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway. 20 minutes on Route 355 from the Iwama IC on the Joban Expressway.

Mt. Sashiro (Kasama)

Mt. Sashiro is a 15 minute walk from Kasama Inari Shrine. It stands 182m above sea level, and is located in the middle of Kasama Basin. It is covered with thick forest. More than 100 varieties of plant life grow there, and it is sometimes called a natural botanical garden. The autumn leaves in the park at the foot of Mt. Sashiro are a sight to behold.
Trees: Japanese maple, ginkgo
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Recommended spots: The bell tower
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kasama-shi Kasama 2810
Access: 5 minutes by car from JR Kasama Station. You can also take the Kasama Sightseeing bus from Tomobe Station and get off at Nichido Museum of Art. By car, it is 9 minutes from the Tomobe IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway.

Mt. Tsukuba (Tsukuba)

Mt. Tsukuba is sometimes called Shiho (the purple mountain) due to the colour it turns when the sunrise hits it. Over 1000 species of plant grow on Mt. Tsukuba, making it a treasure trove for botanists. Its hiking trails and cable car bring many visitors all year round. From the top, you can see autumn colours across the entire Kanto Plain.
Trees: Japanese ivy, oak, yamaurushi
Best time to visit:  Early to late November
Recommended spots: Mt. Tsukuba Shrine, Mt. Tsukuba summit, Miyawaki Station in the Tsukuba cable car
Address: Ibaraki-ken Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba
Access: 40-50 minutes by direct shuttle bus from TX Tsukuba Station; get off at Tsukuba-san Jinja Iriguchi or Tsutsujigaoka. 55 minutes by bus from JR Tsuchiura Station; get off at the last stop Tsukuba-san Jinka Iriguchi. You can take another bus from there 6 minutes to Tsutsujigaoka. 40 minutes by car from the Tsuchiura-Kita IC on the Joban Expressway.

Sairenji Temple (Namegata)

Sairenji Temple is an ancient Tendai sect temple said to have been built in 782. It contains a number of cultural assets. There is a Deva gate built in 1543 that was originally two stories high. In 1790 it was rebuilt to be the main temple gate and changed into a Deva gate. The big gingko tree in the grounds is a prefecturally designated natural monument that is said to be 1000 years old. The autumn leaves are not to be missed.
Trees: Ginkgo
Best time to visit: Late November to early December
Address: Ibaraki-ken Namegata-shi Sairenji 504
Access: From the Joban Expressway, take Route 355, go straight through the traffic lights at the Route 354 intersection and turn left into Sairenji in roughly 3km.

Koga Kanto Domannaka Festival

When: October 10th-11th
Where: Koga Central Exercise Park (2528 Shimoono, Koga)

The city of Koga is located in the center of the Kanto region, leading locals to refer to it as ‘Kanto Domannaka’ (the centre of Kanto) or ‘Kanto no Oheso’ (Kanto’s belly button). The Koga Kanto Domannaka Festival is a celebration of the 10th year anniversary of Koga’s municipality merger with Sowa and Sanwa. The festival will include performances of the Kanto Domannaka Dance, samba dancing, folk entertainment, and a parade of portable shrines and floats. There will also be around 100 stalls selling food, drink, and crafts.