43rd Annual Mt. Tsukuba Plum Festival

When: February 20th – March 21st
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.

On Saturdays during the festival, there will be a pottery making workshop at the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest kiln. It costs 1500 yen to participate, with a separate fee to have the completed piece posted to you afterwards.

Throughout the festival stores around Tsukuba will sell a variety of plum-themed dishes for you to try.

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Ibaraki Contents Collection

When: 10:30am – 5:30pm, March 6
Where: Akihabara UDX, 4F Gallery Next, Akihabara (4-14-1 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
Admission: Free

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Ibaraki Contents Collection is an exhibition of creators working in Ibaraki. It is a chance to see content including manga, games, animation, and characters that is being created in Ibaraki. There will be numerous booths showcasing the works of Ibaraki’s creators, and stage events throughout the day, including live performances by Denshi Jision and Bujin Soran Dragon, and a talk show* at 1pm by Higuchi Shinji, director of Shin Godzilla and Shingeki no Kyojin – Attack on Titan (live action film), who went to high school in Koga, and Dr. Hikawa Ryusuke, a researcher of animation and special effects. The theme of the talk show is ‘what it takes to make it as a creator’.

If you like making things, or if you’re simply curious about the work of Ibaraki’s creators, this is one event that you shouldn’t miss!

*Seats for the talk show are limited. Tickets will be distributed at 11am, so if you would like to watch the show please arrive early.

Participating Creators
SHiFT-UP
Otasaku Shouji
Yokoyama Takuhiko
4th Cluster
Isekai Toukei Kazoeuta
Kuriu Eiko
Studio Kinako
Studio PuYukai
Realize+
Hitachi Risshi Juku – Business Journal Bunkakai
Harukaze Mika
Ibaraki Prefectural Ryugasaki 2nd High School Commerce Course
and more!

Hinamatsuri Events in Ibaraki

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.

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 4th – March 3rd
Where: Downtown Makabe in Sakuragawa
Website: http://www.makabe-hina.com/
Video
Public Transport: Take the Special Event Bus from Iwase Station or the Hinamatsuri Special Event Bus from Tsukuba Center

Special Events
Wa no Kaze Nagashibina
When: March 3rd, 11:30am
Where: Yamaguchigawa River

100 Step Hinamatsuri

When: February 28th 9am – 3pm (cancelled in poor weather)
Where: Juunisho Shrine 100 Steps, (Honmachi-dōri, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki)
Website
Public Transport: 3 minutes’ walk from JR Hitachidaigo Station

Miyata House Saku Café Hinamatsuri

When: Wednesday to Sunday 10am – 2pm from February 17th – March 3rd
Where: Miyata House, 4902 Korofuji, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki
Website
Public Transport: 5 minutes’ walk from the north side of JR Kamiogawa Station

Handmade Hina Doll Festival

When: February 18th – March 3rd
Where: Takahagi Shimin Center, Hozumi-ke Residential Area, and various locations around Takahagi
Website
Public Transport: (Takahagi Shimin Center) 5 minutes’ walk from the JR Takahagi Station West Exit

Hitachi Hinamatsuri

When: February 7th – early March
Where: Hitachi Station, Heiwa Doori, Hitachi 3 Mall Shopping District
Video

Slowtown Kujiragaoka Hinamatsuri

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

Events

Kujigaoka Hina Walk Rally
When: March 1st – 31st
Where: Kujigaoka Shopping District
Collect stamps at the various stores displaying Hina Dolls and receive an original postcard (first 2000 people).

Nighttime Food Stalls (Ota Waku Waku Kai)
When: 10:30am – 3:30pm and 5 – 9pm, March 30th
Where: Kujigaoka Fureai Park (Higashisan-cho)

Serving of Refreshments
When: 10:30am – 3:30pm, March 2nd, 16th, and 30th
Where: Yaechan-ke (Higashiichi-cho)

Hina Matsuri Concert
When: 2 – 2:40pm, March 2nd
Where: 1st Floor Lobby, Palty Hall (Nakajo-cho)
Admission: Free

Nakamura Uri Live Concert at Open Gallery Kura
Bookings essential. See here for more information.

Bazaar Under the Eaves
When: March 30th
Where: Under the eaves of select stores

Kujigaoka Dance Festival
When: 10:30 – 11am, 1 – 2pm, March 30th
Where: Kujigaoka Fureai Park

Tokai Terra Park Tsurushibina Exhibition

When: 9am – 4:30pm (3pm on the final day), January 14th – March 21st (closed Mondays, or the following Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday)
Where: Tokai Terra Park, Tokai (1-1 Shirakata, Tokai-mura, Naka-gun, Ibaraki)
Website
Public Transport: 10 minutes by taxi from JR Tokai Station

Naka Hinamatsuri

When: 9am – 4:30pm, January 30th – March 6th
Where: Magariya (4520-1 Sugaya, Naka, closed on Mondays), Rekishi Minzoku Shiryōkan (428-2 Tozaki, Naka), Chūo Kōminkan (1819 Fukuda, Naka), Sōgō Center Rapōru (371 Kotoku, Naka)
Website

Special Events
Magariya Event
When: 9:30am – 3pm, February 27th
Where: Magariya
Food stalls, Yosakoi and Kendama performances by Sugaya Elementary After School Care Students, monkey tamer performance, and other events

Kasama Ceramic Hina Doll Festival

When: January 26th – March 3rd
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
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

Events
Make Your Own Kasama-yaki Hina Doll
When: January 16th – March 3rd
Where: Isobe Toen (341 Taira-machi, Kasama), Ohtsu Kouyou (68 Tegoshi, Kasama), Seito Fukuda (754 Shimoichige, Kasama) Tou no Komichi
Cost: 2000 yen

Make Your Own Kasama-yaki Hina Doll – Tou no Komichi*
When: March 7th (Toufusha), March 14th (Tanno Toubou), 1:30 pm onwards
Where: Toufusha (2192-3 Kasama, Kasama) Tanno Toubou (2192-10 Kasama, Kasama)
*Bookings essential. Call Toufusha (0296-72-5205) or Tanno Toubou (0296-72-4028) to book

Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa Family Memorial Room Hina and Doll Exhibition

When: February 20th – March 13th
Where: Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa-ke Kinen Shitsu, Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History, Mito (2-1-15 Midori-cho, Mito, Ibaraki)
Website
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, February 28th (Mito Hinanagashi) and 11am, March 5th (Goken Kobai Hinanagashi)
Where: Kairakuen Togyokusen Spring, Mito
Website
Public Transport: 15 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station

Meiji – Showa Retrospective Hina Doll Exhibition

When: 9am – 4pm, February 1st – Late March
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 6th – March 13th
Where: Shopping area north and south of Shimodate Station and the Alterio, Chikusei (372 Hei, Chikusei, Ibaraki)
Website
Public Transport (Alterio): 10 minutes’ walk from JR Shimodate Station

Yūki Hinamatsuri

When: February 13th – March 3rd
Where: North Yūki
Public Transport: 5-10 minutes’ walk from JR Yuki Station
Website

Special Events
Yui no Oto
When: March 20th
Where: Kyū-Kurokawa Rice Shop, Tsumugi no Yakata Museum, Café La Famille, Oryoriya kokyu, Okujun Shin Zashiki,
Website
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 is free, however tickets are required for the other locations.

Ohina-sama in the Sakano Family Residence

When: 9am – 4pm, February 2nd – March 6th (closed Mondays)
Where: Sakano Family Residence, Mitsukaido Museum, Joso (2037 Oonogou-machi, Joso)
Admission: 300 yen (100 yen for students)

Ishioka Hinameguri

When: February 13th – March 3rd
Where: Ishioka Central Shopping District, Ishioka
Public Transport: 5-10 minutes’ walk from JR Ishioka Station

Tsuchiura Hinamatsuri

When: February 4th – March 3rd
Where: Various locations around the Tsuchiura Machikado Warehouses (Daitoku, Nomura, etc.)
Website
Public Transport: 10 minutes’ walk from JR Tsuchiura Station

Toride Hinamatsuri

When: 10am – 4pm, February 11th – March 3rd
Where: Various locations around Toride
Website

Edosaki Hinamatsuri
When: February 11th – March 3rd
Where: Edosaki Syoyukan and the Edosaki Shopping District, Ina
Website

Tonemachi Hina Displays
When: 9:30am – 3:30pm, February 20th – March 3rd
Where: Yanagida Kunio Kinen Koen, Tone (1787-1 Fukawa, Tone-machi, Kitasoma-gun, Ibaraki)

120th Annual Mito Plum Festival

When: February 20th – March 31st
Where: Kairakuen and the Kodokan, Mito

Access via Public Transport
Kairakuen: Take a bus heading to Kairakuen from Bus Stop 4 or 6 on the north side of Mito Station (see map here)
Kodokan: 8 minutes’ walk north of Mito Station (see map here)

Admission
Kairakuen: Free
Kobuntei: Adults 200 yen, junior high school and younger 100 yen
Kodokan: Adults 200 yen, junior high school and younger 100 yen, over 70 free

Opening Hours
Kairakuen: 6am – 7pm (7am to 6pm until February 19th. Open until 9pm for the illuminations from March 4th – 21st
Kobuntei: 9am – 5pm (Open until 6pm on weekdays, Sundays, and public holidays and 8pm on Saturdays during the illuminations from March 4th – 21st)
Kodokan: 9am – 5pm (9am – 4:30pm until February 19th)

The Plum Blossoms of Kairakuen

There are approximately 100 varieties of plum tree growing in Kairakuen, and they all bloom at different times. Early blooming varieties (hayazaki) begin blooming from around mid-January to mid-February, mid-season blooming varieties (nakazaki) bloom from early February to mid-March, and late blooming varieties (osozaki) bloom from early March to early April. These times can vary every year though, depending on the climate.

Of the 3000 plum trees in Kairakuen, only about half of them can be said to be of a particular variety (the other half being mixes of a number of varieties resulting in an unnamed variety). The most common among those with clear names is the Shirokaga variety, of which there are nearly 450 trees. The next most common is the Tōjibai, with 150 trees, followed by Yaekankō, with 130 trees.

Although the trees bloom roughly as described above, they are greatly affected by weather and precipitation, so it is not an exact timeline. This is why you should visit Kairakuen several times to stroll around the park and appreciate the many forms of the plum blossoms.

Early Blooming Varieties (Mid-January to Mid-February)

The Yaekankō, Shironaniwa, Yaetōji, and Rekkōbai varieties are representative of the early blooming plum tree varieties, and can be found scattered around Kairakuen. In particular, the Yaekankō in the East-West Plum Forest near the East Gate and the Shironaniwa by the Onari Gate are well known and among the first to bloom. Searching for the few flowers that have blossomed among the majority that are still in their bud forms is one of the most enjoyable things to do during the early blooming season.

Mid-season Blooming Varieties (Late February to Mid-March)

The single-petaled Tsukikage, with its distinct silhouette and the soft and fluffy Tora-no-o are exemplary of the mid-season blooming varieties. They can be found scattered around the park in the Western Plum Forest and other locations, and are known for their fragrance and colour. It is when the mid-season varieties are in bloom that you can fully feel the coming of spring and enjoy the grand sight of many plum trees in full bloom.

Late Blooming Varieties (Early March to Early April)

The Shirokaga, Kasugano, and Kōnanshomu varieties are representative of late blooming plum trees. In particular Shirokaga trees can be seen all around the park. They bloom slowly and decorate the end of the plum blossom season. The end of the season is when you should savour the last of the blossoms before they are gone.

Events

Major Events

4th Annual National Umeshu Festival in Mito

When: March 4th – 6th, 10am – 4pm (until 3pm on March 6th)
Where: Tokiwa Shrine Grounds

At the National Umeshu Festival you will have the opportunity to sample and compare umeshu from Hokkaido all the way down to Okinawa. You can also enjoy the coupling of umeshu with a variety of dishes and umeshu cocktails.

Night Plum Festival

When:
Kodokan – March 5th, 6 – 9pm
Kairakuen – March 12, 6 – 9pm

The Night Plum Festival will feature candle displays, showing off the beauty of the plum trees in a different light. The festival finale will feature Mito fireworks.

Event Schedule

Presenting of Plum Festival Opening Memorial Gifts
When: February 20th, 9am onwards
Where: Kairakuen East Gate

Mito-chan Birthday Party
When: February 20th – 21st, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

New Plum Blossom Viewing Festival
When: February 26th, 6 – 8pm
Where: Sannomaru Hotel

Plum Blossom Viewing and Shogi Festival
When: February 27th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

World Othello Competition Pre-event: Othello in Kairakuen
When: February 27th 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Sekishū-ryu Style)
When: February 28th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

Taya Staff Technique Demonstration
When: February 28th, 10:30 – 11:30am
Where: The Kodokan Taishijō

Mito Hina-nagashi (Hitachi Washi Doll Association)
When: February 28th, 11am – 12pm
Where: Kairakuen Togyokusen Spring

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Tokiwa University High School)
When: March 4th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

Martial Arts Demonstration
When: March 5th, 10 – 11:30am
Where: The Kodokan Taishijō

Goken Kōbai Hina-nagashi (Five Town Community)
When: March 5th, 11am – 12pm
Where: Kairakuen Togyokusen Spring

69th Annual Photography Session and Photo Contest
When: March 6th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Plum Forest, View Square, and other locations

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Edosenke)
When: March 6th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairaikuen View Square

Poetry Recital
When: March 6th, 10:30 – 11:30am
Where: Kodokan Taishijō

Biwa Performance
When: March 6th, 11:30am – 12pm
Where: Kodokan Seicho

Kodokan Open Lecture
When: March 12th, 1:30 – 3pm
Where: Kodokan Seicho

Gathering of Past Plum Maidens and Plum Ambassadors
When: March 13th, 10am – 12pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square and other locations

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Urasenke)
When: March 13th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Taisei Girls’ High School)
When: March 19th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

Komon’s Kitchen
When: March 19th, 10am – 4pm
Where: By the Mito Komon Statue near Lake Senba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Omotesenke)
When: March 20th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

70th Annual Plum Viewing Haiku Contest
When: March 20th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Ibaraki Prefectural Youth Hall

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Suijo High School)
When: March 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square

8 Views of Mito Gourmet Ride
When: March 26th
Details

Plum Viewing Entertainment Festival
When: March 27th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen View Square