16th Annual I Love Ibaraki Fureai Festival

When: 10am – 4:30pm, April 8th 2017
Where: The Former Prefectural Office Building (Sannomaru Chousha) (1-5-48 Sannomaru, Mito)
Access: 15 minutes’ walk from Mito Station
Website

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The I Love Ibaraki Fureai Festival is a chance for Ibarakians to celebrate local food and culture under the cherry blossoms that bloom around the old castle moat in Sannomaru. The festival will include stalls selling local specialties from around Ibaraki, a bazaar, stage performances, a walking tour around Sannomaru, a stamp rally, and the chance to decorate an old bus with graffiti!

Stage Events

10:00 Blue Beginners (Mito Technical High School Jazz Band)
12:00 Blue Hawks (Oarai High School Marching Band)
13:00 Sannomaru Elementary School Brass Band

44th Annual Mt. Tsukuba Plum Festival

When: February 25th – March 20th, 2017
Where: Tsukuba and the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest    

Video of 2013 Festival

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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.

On weekends and public holidays you can revel in the beauty of the plum blossoms while keeping toasty sitting by an open hearth from 10am to 3pm at the Plum Forest Plum Viewing Square (umebayashi kanbai hiroba). Other activities held every day during the festival include a treasure hunt for a golden toad around Mt. Tsukuba and workshops for making pens from plum tree branches (100 yen to participate) and toasted sandwiches (400 yen to participate) at Forest Adventure Tsukuba.

Access: 40 minutes via the Mt. Tsukuba Shuttle Bus from Tsukuba Center Mt. Tsukuba Shuttle Bus Stop (next to bus stop no.1) outside the A3 and A4 TX Tsukuba Station exits (bus schedule). Get off at Tsukuba-san Jinja Iriguchi (筑波山神社入り口)

Limited Time Plum-themed Dishes

Throughout the festival, stores around Tsukuba will sell a variety of plum-themed dishes for you to try. Get in quick, as some places only offer a limited number of the dish per day!

Meals

Kandaya (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 722)
Tsukuba Akane Chicken and Plum Mayonnaise Rice Bowl (1000 yen)

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Ishihama (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 721)
Plum Rice and Kenchin Soup (root vegetable soup) (850 yen)

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Murasaki (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 753)
Plum Tororo (shaved yam) Soba/Udon (980 yen)

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Mt. Tsukuba Drive In (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 1233-8)
Plum Udon/Soba (780 yen)

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Hitachino (Tsukuba-shi Usui 2103-5 Kazekaeshi Ridge)
Marinated Hitachi-wagyu Beef on Rice (with plum stock) (2160 yen)

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Tsutsujigaoka Rest House (Tsutsujigaoka Ropeway Station)
Natto & Pork Cutlet Meal (1050 yen)

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Mt. Tsukuba Keisei Hotel (Tsutsujigaoka Ropeway Station)
Fragrant Plum Shokado Bento (2160 yen)
An extravagant bento box including stewed yellowtail with radish, bamboo, and plum-shaped carrot, Tsukuba Biton pork-wrapped asparagus with plum sauce, fried and battered anglerfish with plum, bamboo kamameshi (rice cooked with other ingredients in a pot) and local strawberries from the Yasato area.

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Tsukuzen (Tsukuba-shi Numata 1441-1)
Plum Gozen (1620 yen)
A plum-filled meal including plum inari sushi made from rice from Yumeda Farm located at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba, plum konnyaku, pickled plum tempura, side dishes made from local vegetables, and Hitachi Aki Soba.

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Oshokujidokoro Aoki (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 829-1)
Plum and Perilla Sushi with Wild Vegetable Soba (1500 yen)

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Tsukuba Ham (Tsukuba-shi Hiratsuka 383)
Pork Roast Steak and Plum Beurre Composé (2484 yen)

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Chicken Paitan Ramen Obiya (Tsukuba-shi Kaname 137-3)
Spicy Red Yuzu and Shaved Plum Ramen (850 yen)

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Sweets

Kamiya Seika (Umaimon Dokoro in the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest)
Plum Yōkan (100 yen)

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Daiichiya (Umaimon Dokoro in the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest)
Plum Yōkan with a Stewed Plum (450 yen)

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Sugimotoya (Umaimon Dokoro in the Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest)
Mt. Tsukuba-yaki Pastry with Plum-flavoured Filling (200 yen)

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Tsukuba Yakon (Mt. Tsukuba Plum Forest Rest Area and Mt. Tsukuba Omotenashi Kan)
Plum Chiffon Cake made with rice flour (190 yen)

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Ishihama (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 721)
Plum Anmitsu (650 yen)

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Tsukuba Ham Shizen Aji Kōbō (Tsukuba-shi Hiratsuka 383)
Plum Tart Set (702 yen)

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Cable Car Miyawaki Store (Next to Mt. Tsukuba Shrine)/Tsutsujigaoka Rest House (at the ropeway station)
Red Plum Soft Serve Ice Cream (320 yen)

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Mt. Tsukuba Drive In (Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba 1233-8)
Plum Soft Serve Ice Cream (350 yen)

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121st Annual Mito Plum Festival

When: February 18th – March 31st
Where: Kairakuen and the Kodokan, Mito

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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 http://www.koen.pref.ibaraki.jp/foreign_language/en/access_info/index.html)
Kodokan: 8 minutes’ walk north of Mito Station (see map here: http://www.koen.pref.ibaraki.jp/park/kodokan06.html)

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)
Kobuntei: 9am – 5pm (9am – 4:30pm until February 19th)
Kodokan: 9am – 5pm (9am – 4:30pm until February 19th)

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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 around mid-January to mid-February, mid-season blooming varieties (nakazaki) around early February to mid-March, and late blooming varieties (osozaki) around early March to early April. These times can vary every year though, depending on the climate.

Of the 3000 plum trees in Kairakuen, only around 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 Shirakaga 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 Shirakaga, Kasugano, and Kōnanshomu varieties are representative of late blooming plum trees. In particular Shirakaga 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.

Precautions against the Spread of Avian Influenza (from the Mito Municipal Government website)

In December 2016, a case of avian influenza was discovered in a wild bird at Lake Senba, which is located beside Kairakuen. As a result, precautions are being taken at Lake Senba to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

People who do not have any particular contact with birds in their everyday lives are not thought to be at risk of contracting the virus, so there is no need to worry excessively. Please remain calm and take action based on information from official sources. We ask for your cooperation in the following:

1. There is a possibly of the virus spreading via bird droppings becoming stuck to people’s shoes, so if you step on bird droppings around Lake Senba please use the calcium hydroxide that has been provided on the jogging course to disinfect your shoes. You can do so simply by stepping into the box.

Caution:

  • Calcium hydroxide is a powerful alkaline, so please avoid direct contact with your skin
  • People with multiple chemical sensitivity should take special care
  • If the calcium hydroxide gets on your skin, wash the affected area thoroughly
  • If it gets in your eye, wash it out with clean water and consult a doctor immediately
  • If ingested, wash your mouth out and consult a doctor immediately

2. Take the following actions to prevent the spread of avian influenza:

  • Keep away from the birds
  • Do not feed the birds
  • If you find a dead bird, contact the Parks and Green Space Division (公園緑地課) immediately
  • Take care not to step in bird droppings
  • Do not ride your bike in the park
  • Do not fish or play around bodies of water

Inquiries (Japanese only)
Parks and Green Space Division, Mito Municipal Government (029-224-1111)
Mito Parks Association (029-244-2895)

Events

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Major Events

4th Annual National Umeshu Festival in Mito

When: March 3rd – 5th, 10am – 4pm (until 3pm on March 5th)
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 4th, 6 – 9pm
Kairakuen – March 11, 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 18h, 9am onwards
Where: Kairakuen East Gate

Mito-chan Birthday Party
When: February 18th – 19st, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Taisei Girls’ High School)
When: February 25th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Sekishū-ryu Style)
When: February 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Taya Staff Technique Demonstration
When: February 26th, 10:30 – 11:30am
Where: The Kodokan Taishijō

Mito Hina-nagashi (Hitachi Washi Doll Association)
When: February 26th, 11am – 12pm
Where: Kairakuen Togyokusen Spring

Kids’ Hina-matsuri
When: February 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

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

Martial Arts Demonstration (Mito Tobukan/ Hōzōin-ryū)
When: March 4th, 10 – 12:00pm
Where: The Kodokan Taishijō

Goken Kōbai Hina-nagashi (Five Town Community)
When: March 4th, 11am – 12pm
Where: Kairakuen Togyokusen Spring

Biwa Performance
When: March 4th, 1 – 1:30pm
Where: Kodokan Seicho

70th Annual Photography Session and Photo Contest
When: March 5th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Plum Forest, Miharashi Hiroba, and other locations

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Enshū-ryu Style)
When: March 5th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Plum Viewing Kimono Day
When: 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Sword and Poetry Dancing (Ibaraki Ginei Kenshibu Federation)
When: March 11th, 10:30 – 11:30am
Where: Kodokan Taishijō

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Edosenke)
When: March 12th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairaikuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Sakuranomaki High School)
When: March 18th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Kodokan Open Lecture
When: March 18th, 1:30 – 3pm (Mito Shigaku Kensankai Yoshida Juku)
Where: Kodokan Seicho

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Urasenke)
When: March 19th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

71st Annual Plum Viewing Haiku Contest (Hitachino)
When: March 19th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Ibaraki Prefectural Youth Hall

Outdoor Tea Ceremony by High School Students (Suijo High School)
When: March 25th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Outdoor Tea Ceremony (Omotesenke)
When: March 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Plum Viewing Entertainment Festival
When: March 26th, 10am – 3pm
Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Hiroba

Ibaraki Contents Collection 2

When: January 13 (1 – 6pm), January 14 (10am – 5:30pm) 2017
Where: Tsukuba Innovation Plaza (1-10-1 Azuma, Tsukuba)
Admission: Free
Access: 5 minutes’ walk from TX Tsukuba Station
Website

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Ibaraki’s local content creators will show off their work at the second Ibaraki Contents Collection, to be held at the Tsukuba Innovation Plaza in January.

The first Ibaraki Contents Collection was held on March 6, 2016 in Akihabara. The event exhibited the work of individuals and groups working in Ibaraki’s content industry, including comic artists, illustrators, animators, game creators, and more. Among the exhibitors were young creators based at the Ibaraki Creators’ House (ICH), a project managed by the Tsukuba Incubation Laboratory.

The program includes booths introducing creators and their work, a Virtual Reality booth where you can test out VR technology, and a screening area showing creators’ works, including Ibaraki Short Film Award winning films.

Booths

Imada Tama

Website

A manga artist who debuted in 2010 with Pachinko Fever (Issuisha). They have since published several works including Pachipro7 (Tatsumi Shuppan), Pachinko Dairensho (Nippon Bungeisha), and Nekodamashii, and Nekopuni (Mediax). In November 2015, their work Kazoku ga Inakunatta Hi was published as a book.

Categories: Manga

Otasaku

Website

Otasaku has managed the original character store ‘Otasaku Shop’ in Tsukuba since 2006. She produces cheerful and lighthearted merchandise and clothing using Otasaku characters, who are based on cats. They currently have a gallery and a limited time only store at Tsukuba Creo Square, and have announced a cat and astronaut collaboration series. Their products are selling well at Tsukuba Space Center.

Categories: Character, Merchandise

Suda Shugo

Website

A freelance web designer and photographer based in Hitachi. His life theme is ‘I am content’.

Categories: Photography

Seiji Tazawa

Website

A resident of Hitachinaka, Ibaraki. Using his experience as an electrician, he makes illustrations using Microsoft Excel with the aim of increasing safety awareness. On the recommendation of his grandchild he made LINE stamps, and his unique worldview became a topic of discussion in the net. At 73 he is still proactively creating and sharing his work.

Categories: Manga, Illustration, Animation, Character, LINE stamp, Picture book

Denshi Jision

Website

A white-clad ‘scientific’ entertainment group/band active in Tsukuba Science City. As the members are scientists, their unique electronic music influenced by modern culture features Tsukuba and scientific vocabulary. They performed at the 2016 Matsuri Tsukuba.

Categories: Science, Band

Next Edge Technology

Website

A Tsukuba-based company that has been introducing cutting edge software from around the world to Japan and promoting Japanese software abroad. They have been in business for 12 years. They are currently promoting their own touchless interface software aeroTAP, which allows users to control their computer without touching it.

Categories: Software

4th Cluster

Website

A group of students from Tsukuba University who got together with the common goal of making games. Their work includes the PC mystery visual novel game series ‘Campus Notes’, which is set at Tsukuba University. They will be offering trials of their new smart phone RPG ‘StarMined’.

Categories: Game, App, Character

Penton Kikaku Shitsu

Website

The owner of this toy design enterprise started it as a post retirement project, making use of their experience as a toy maker. Their interest in carpentry lead them to start making wooden toys using a 3D CAD and CNC tool. They won the Hyogo Governor’s Award at the 2014 Hyogo Prefectural Tanba Nenrin no Sato Woodwork Exhibition in 2014.

Categories: 3D CAD, Toys

Matsuri Hero Project

Website

The Matsuri Hero Project began as Tsukuba Hatsu! Matsuri Hero Soran Dragon in 2010. They have held hero shows and traditional Japanese performing arts shows all around the country and even overseas. They offer a range of action entertainment, including 3D collaboration shows and education packages.

Categories: Character, Video, CG Performance

Takuhiko Yokoyama

Website

Began working as an illustrator in April 2013. Has worked on individual and collaboration projects including ‘Kinder Book 3 2014 April Volume’, ‘Mushikui Note’ (Kanzen) ‘Fukashigi Plants Zukan’ (Seibundo Shinkosha), and ‘Watashi no Hatake no Chiisa na Sekai’ (Express Media Publishing).

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Yotagarasu

Website

A literary circle consisting of Tsukuba University students and alumni.
Noriko Senju: Involved in a variety of writing projects such as publishing stories online and in pamphlets and writing game scenarios and popular fiction
Yowa Shido: Writes novels and game scenarios. Was a short-listed candidate for the 21st Dengeki Awards Comic Writing category.
Kugai Iori: Writes novels, comics, and game scenarios. Author of Kakuheki no Make Doll (Ponican Books)
Yoneura Yuu: The youngest member, representing the next generation!

Categories: Novel, Literature

Rokujoma Genso Kukan

Website

A first year Master’s student at Tsukuba University. Their hit table top roleplaying game ‘Haguruma no To no Skynauts’ sold out at 200 books in 80 minutes at Summer Comiket, and has since sold 3300 copies at various events.

Categories Game, App, TRPG Rule Book

Panel Exhibition

ICH Manga-ka Group

Website

A combined exhibition Ibaraki manga artists, including Aoyama Takanori from the manga production unit RusuKey, known for their manga B, Kino Hinata, who penned the Manga Junior Meisaku work Night on the Galactic Railroad, based on the famous novel by Miyazawa Kenji, and Yokoi Sanpo, who adapts games into comic form for magazines including Famitsu DS+Wii, Terebi Game Magazine, and Pikopuri.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Ibaraki Design Center

Website

An organization formed by the Ibaraki Prefectural Government to promote and support design work. In addition to providing consultation services and support for small and medium sized designers in Ibaraki, they also run Ibaraki Design Selection, with the aim of selecting and commending excellent designs in order to improve Ibaraki’s image and assist in the development of the local design industry.

Categories: Design

Ushioda

Website

If children taste the true flavour of a carrot, they will no longer dislike carrots. This is the passion that led Ushioda to grow carrots and develop Ninjin Monogatari Marugoto 100% Carrot Juice. Local singer-songwriter nanan recently produced a theme song for the product.

Categories: Music, Video

Kasama Senior High School Media Program

Website

Kasama Senior High School Media Program was founded in 2013, and is the only technical education program in Ibaraki for video media studies. The program strives to foster the ability to relay things through the creation of video works and nurture creators who will inherit Ibaraki’s future.

Categories: Animation, Video, Photography

Kakkoi Rikei Yogo de Motemakuru!

A collaboration between Noriko Senju (author) of Yotagarasu and Natsumi Furuyama (illustrator). The story was inspired by the question of whether cool sounding science terminology could work in romantic situations.

Categories: Illustration, Book

Kawaguchi Ikkaku

Website

Currently studying in a PhD program for engineering and a Master’s program for design at Tsukuba University. They develop devices to support children’s education and communication. Awarded Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellowship for Young Scientists (DC) and recipient of the Gugen 2014 Good Idea award. Selected for the 2015 MIC Innovation Program

Categories: Toy

Geek House Tsukuba

Website

A Geek House is a share house comprising mostly of tenants who are NEETs or engineers. Geek House Tsukuba is working on an apiary.

Categories: Lake Kasumigaura Channel Catfish, Apiculture

Goodwork Coffee Matsushiro

Website

Goodwork Coffee Matsushiro is a coworking café for workers that recently opened in Matsushiro, Tsukuba. Good for meetings, desk work, and a quick break, it provides people a space where they can drink delicious coffee and work without worrying about the time.

Saito Hajime Time Travel Virtual Reality

Have you ever thought that it would be fun to fly around to different places around the world, or travel to different time periods? Using mapmaking experience, Saito Hajime is attempting to reconstruct the world of the past.

Categories: 3D Content

Sarasa Sakurai

Website

Sakurai began working as an illustrator in 2014 after graduating from a commercial high school in Ibaraki. They have worked on official collaborations with piapro, had their work selected for use in karaoke videos for Hatsune Miku songs, provided illustrations for a Lolita clothing store, handled individual requests for self-published comics, and more.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Etsuro Takihara

Website

Photographer based in Chikusei. Member of the Photographic Society of Japan. His main subject is Mt. Tsukuba. His photos have been featured in a number of high-profile exhibitions.

Categories: Photographer

Tsukugaku+

Website

A team of current students and alumni from Tsukuba Graduate University engaged in illustration and game production. They mainly focus on PC games.

Categories: Character

Tsukuba Business College School of Visual Design

Website

The School of Visual Design offers three courses: Graphic Design, Comics, and Design. They also do consultations for design production. They collaborate on comics and illustrations with publishing companies in the Tokyo area and have been published in commercial magazines. They also assist in commercial education through design for senior high schools.

Categories: Manga, Illustration, Video, Graphic Design

Dekosuke

Website

Comic artist and illustrator with an interest in drawing children and mecha such as planes and robots.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Techline

Website

This company is engaged in the provision of services and development of apps for stores using SoftBank Robotics’ product Pepper.

Categories: Game, App

Studio Nibun no Ichi

Website

A group consisting of a CG creator, graphic designer, and system engineer/ integrator. They are involved in a variety of production projects including videos, games, merchandise, apps, and illustrations in the pursuit of the concept of multi-use, which is one of the advantages of 3DCG.

Categories: Game, App, Video, Graphic Design

Harukaze Mika

Website

A manga artist from Tsukuba who attended Azuma Kindergarten, Elementary, and Junior High School and Takezono High School. She graduated from the Department of Law at Chiba University then honed her design skills in the Planning and Design Section of Kinmei Graphic Art. She currently resides in Tsukuba, working as a freelance manga artist and illustrator.

Categories: Manga, Illustration

Natsumi Furuyama

Website

A freelance illustrator specialising in illustration and character design active in Tokyo and Tsukuba since 2013. She recently illustrated the medical textbook Kanja to Kazoku ni Todoku Kanwa Care.

Categories: Illustration, Design

Magical Rod

Website

A Hitachiota-based game developer, active since 2011. The members all have experience working as creators for gaming companies. Surrounded by Hitachiota’s beautiful natural environment they mainly produce games with animal motifs.

Categories: Game, App

Rista-Design

Website

A graphic design company. They design brand logos, posters, pamphlets, websites, stickers, and more. They commenced the sale of a 3D projection experience kit for smart phones from April 2016. They also won the poster design contest for the G7 Science & Technology Ministers’ Meeting in Tsukuba, Ibaraki.

Categories: Poster, Merchandise

Ibaraki Prefectural Ryugasaki 2nd High School Commerce Department

Website

The commerce department started a project called ‘The commerce department began to use NetCommons’ as a part of the 100 year anniversary celebrations for Ryugasaki 2nd High School. The project includes activities such as the creation of groupware by students in the commerce department, a parent and child programming class using Viscuit, and the development of smartphone apps using Monaca.

Categories: Game, App

Yuta Kawasaki

Website

Yuta Kawasaki has directed and produced a number of film projects, including music videos for a variety of bands such as local Ibaraki band Marquee Beach Club.

Categories: Video, Music

Studio Puyukai

Website

An animation studio based in Tsukuba. They have worked on a variety of projects, notably Agukaru, the short film ‘Mobile Suit Gakuen G-Reko Koshien’ included on the Blu-ray for Gundam G no Reconguista, and the short film ‘Pure Pure Purea desu’ available on the official Overlord anime website.

Categories: Animation

Takashi Fukui

Website

A freelance videographer engaged in direction, filming, and editing. He is currently working on a personal project that he describes as his life’s work.

Categories: Video

Daigo Light

When: November 3 – January 29
Where: Fukuroda Falls and other locations around Daigo
Cost: Adults 300 yen, Children 150 yen

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Starting November 3 and continuing on Friday to Sunday and holidays* until January 29, 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 9th the falls will be illuminated every night

Related Events

Distribution of Onsen Discount Tickets

When: December 1 – February 28
Where: Fukuroda Falls Tunnel Entrance

Free Okukuji Shamo Hatto-jiru Soup

When: January 14, 4pm~
Where: Daigo Fukuroda Waterfall Viewing Bridge Area
First come first served.

Fukuroda Ice Garden

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

Nugui yo Vouchers

From December 2 till January 29 on days that Fukuroda Falls are lit up (excluding January 1 – 3), passengers on the local bus between Fukuroda Station and Takimoto will receive one 500 yen voucher that can be used at certain restaurants and stores around Daigo. The vouchers are valid until January 29th.

33rd Annual National Frozen Falls Haiku Contest

When: February 2
Where: Daigo Bunka Fukushi Kaikan (722-1 Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki)

Autumn Leaves in Ibaraki 2016

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)

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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: 3-19 Fukuroda, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki
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)

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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: Kaminomiya, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki
Access: 50 minutes by bus from JR Hitachi-Daigo Station. Get off at Jakechi (蛇穴) – 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)

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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: Mid November
Address: 1571 Daigo, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki
Access: 10 minutes’ walk from JR Hitachi-Daigo Station
Parking: 30 spaces at the temple. Temporary parking also available.

Mt. Nantai (Daigo)

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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: Saigane, Daigo-machi Kuji-gun, Ibaraki
Access: 60 minutes’ walk from JR Saigane Station. 50 minutes’ drive from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.
Parking: 5 free spaces

Okukuji Valley (Daigo)

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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: Daigo-machi, Okukuji-gun, Ibaraki
Access: 15 minutes’ walk from Hitachi-Daigo Station. Roughly 50 minutes’ drive along Route 118 from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Hanazono Gorge (Kitaibaraki)

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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: Hanazono, Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki
Access: 30 minutes by taxi from JR Isohara Station, or 25 minutes’ drive from the Kita-Ibaraki IC on the Joban Expressway
Parking: 60 spaces

Sarugajo Gorge (Kitaibaraki)

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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: Late October – mid November
Recommended spots: Hako Waterfall, Rakuun Waterfall, Senen Waterfall
Address: Ogawa, Sekimoto-cho, Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki
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)

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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: Ono area, Takahagi, Ibaraki
Access: 25 minutes by taxi from Takahagi Station. 20 minutes by car from the Takahagi IC on the Joban Expressway.
Parking: During the autumn leaves season there is paid parking – 80 spaces for 500 yen per vehicle at the Hananuki Parking Lot and 40 spaces for 500 yen per vehicle at the Ono Parking Lot

Ryujin Suspension Bridge (Hitachiota)

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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: 2133-6 Kegano, Hitachiota, Ibaraki
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5pm
Admission: Adults 310 yen, Children 210 yen
Access: 45 minute bus ride from JR Hitachiota Station. Get off at Ryujin Otsuribashi; it is 20 minutes’ walk from there. By car, it is 45 minutes from the Hitachiota IC on the Joban Expressway.
Parking: 200 spaces

Seizanso (Hitachiota)

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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 to late November
Address: 590 Arajuku-cho, Hitachiota, Ibaraki
Opening Hours: 9am – 4pm (open every day during autumn leaves season)
Access: 5 minutes by taxi from JR Hitachiota Station. 30 minutes by car from the Hitachiminamiota IC
Parking: 70 spaces

Kagoiwa (Hitachiomiya)

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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 tree, mountain ash
Best time to visit: Late October – Late November
Address: Hitachiomiya, Ibaraki
Access: 30 minutes by car from Yamagatajuku Station. 1 hour by car from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway
Parking: 5 spaces

Gozenyama Prefectural Natural Park (Hitachiomiya)

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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. There are over 100 varieties of mountain birds living in the park.

Trees: Keyaki, konara oak, evergreen oak
Best time to visit: Mid November – Early December
Recommended spots: Fujikura Waterfall, Belltower ruins
Address: Hitachiomiya, Ibaraki
Access: 60 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station. Roughly 25km by car from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway
Parking: 100 spaces

Kairakuen (Mito)

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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: Early to mid November
Address: 1-3-3 Tokiwa-cho, Mito, Ibaraki
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)

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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: 2-1-15 Midori-cho, Mito, Ibaraki
Hours: 9:30am -5pm (last entry 4:30pm, closed on Mondays)
Admission: Adults 150 yen, University Students 80 yen, school students, people over 70, and people with a physical disability certificate free
Access: 15 minutes from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway
Parking: 127 spaces (3 spaces for persons with disabilities)

Kitayama Park (Kasama)

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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: Early to late November
Address: 1416-62 Taira-machi, Kasama, Ibaraki
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.
Parking: Free

Mt. Sashiro (Kasama)

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Mt. Sashiro is a 15 minute walk from Kasama Inari Shrine. It stands 182m above sea level, and is located in the middle of the 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: Early to late November
Recommended spots: The bell tower
Address: 1015-2 Kasama, Kasama, Ibaraki
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.
Parking: Available

Mt. Tsukuba (Tsukuba)

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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 its slopes, 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, Japanese maple
Best time to visit:  Early to late November
Recommended spots: Mt. Tsukuba Shrine, Mt. Tsukuba summit, Miyawaki Station in the Tsukuba cable car
Address: Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki
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)

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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: 504 Sairenji, Namegata, Ibaraki
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.
Parking: 100 free spaces

Ibaraki Shukakusai (Harvest Festival)

When: November 5 (10am – 5pm) & 6 (10am – 3:30pm)
Where: Sanuma Koiki Koen, Shimotsuma (Nagatsukaotsu, Shimotsuma, Ibaraki)
Website

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The Ibaraki Shukakusai, or Ibaraki Harvest Festival, is one of Ibaraki’s biggest festivals, a celebration of all the delicious foods of autumn. From Hitachi beef dishes to Tsukuba Fukure Ramen, Hitachi Aki Soba to a colourful array of freshly picked fruit, you’d better come with an empty stomach because you will find far more things you want to try than you have room for.

In addition to the multitude of food stalls, there are also stalls selling local goods and running activities and games. There will also be stage performances throughout the weekend. Don’t miss this chance to make the most of beautiful and delicious Ibaraki autumn!

Stage Events

Saturday

10:30 – Chiyokawa Junior High School Brass Band
11:00 – Opening Ceremony
11:30 – Masahiro Chono Talk Show
12:00 – Fujiini & Katsumi Live Show
12:30 – Yoshimoto Comedy Show
13:00 – Nebaru-kun
13:30 – Scissors Paper Rock Battle
14:00 – Natto Domo-kun Quiz Show
14:30 – Chef Yoroizuka Talk Show & Sweet-making Demonstration
15:30 – Tobu Junior High School Brass Band
16:00 – Nebaru-kun

Sunday

10:30 – Shimotsuma Junior High School Brass Band
11:00 – Ultraman Orb Show
11:30 – Mirai e Tsunagu Project – Ongaku no Chikara
12:00 – Umaimon PR Stage
12:30 – NHK Mito Children’s Choir Mini Concert
13:00 – Ultraman Orb Show
13:30 – NEVA GIVE UP Live Performance
14:00 – Edo Murasaki Comedy Show
14:30 – Scissors Paper Rock Battle