122nd Annual Mito Plum Festival


1.umematsuri poster

~Celebrating 150th year from Meiji Restoration~

When: February 17th (Sat.) – March 31st (Sat.)

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) 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



Kairakuen: Free

Kodokan: Adults 200 yen, junior high school and younger 100 yen, over 70 free

Kobuntei: 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)


The Plum Blossoms of Kairakuen

Mito’s famous Plum Blossoms Festival dates back to more than 120 years ago. The main venue Kairakuen is one of the Three Great Gardens in Japan along with Korakuen of Okayama, and Kenrokuen of Kanazawa. During the Edo period, in July of 1842, the 9th lord of the Mito-clan opened Kairakuen as a public park for the local people to enjoy.

There are approximately 100 varieties of the 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 (Early February to Mid-March)

The single-petaled Tsukikage with its distinctive 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.




Major Events


4th Annual National Umeshu (Plum wine) Festival in Mito


When: March 2nd – 4th, 10am – 4pm (until 3pm on March 4th)

Admission: Early-bird 700, Standard 800, Fast-pass 1200

Where: Tokiwa Shrine area (Connected to the Kairakuen)

At the National Umeshu Festival, you will have the opportunity to sample and compare various kinds of umeshu from all over Japan. You can also enjoy the coupling of umeshu with a variety of dishes and umeshu cocktails.


Night Plum Festival


Kodokan  – Saturday, March 3rd, 6 – 9pm

Kairakuen – Saturday, March 10th, 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.

Hanamaru Yūinroku ~Plum Flowers Dancing in Mito Base~

When: February 17th – March 25th

Where: Tokugawa Museum

Collaboration event with the Anime “Zoku Toukenranbu –Hanamaru-”


Kimono Dressing with Plum Blossom Viewing

When: March 4th 10:00 – 4:00

Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Square

You can experience a dressing up in Kimono while taking a pleasant walk in the park. Rental of Kimono is available on the day. A photo contest and a workshop where you can try on Yūkitsumugi will take place at the same time.

Plum Blossom Viewing Day

When: Every Sunday from Feb. 18th – March 25th

Where: Kairakuen Miharashi Square

Every Sunday is a Plum Viewing Day, there will be tea ceremonies, and performances around the area of Miharashi Square.



Other Events


Goken Kōbai Hina-nagashi (Five Town Community)

When: March 3rd, 11am – 12pm

Where: Kairakuen, under the Togyokusen Spring


Biwa (Japanese Flute) Performance

When: March 3rd, 11:30 am– 12pm

Where: Kodokan Seicho


Kairakuen Trail of Light

When: March 2nd – 21st from sunset to 9:00pm

Where: Kairakuen

The open hours of Kairakuen will be extended, you can enjoy a dreamy walk as the plum blossoms are lit up in the dark.


Ikebana Exhibition in Kobuntei

When: Feb 24th, 25th (Traditional Style of Kinjo)

March 3rd, 4th (Style of Kageiadachi)

March 17th, 18th (Style of Ikenobo)

Where: Inside Kobuntei, Oza Room, Plum-Flower Room and Rakujuro


Tour Shuttle Bus “Man-yu Bus”

When: Feb 24th, 25th, March 3rd, 4th

Route: Sukesan (White)

Kairakuen Parking lot (in front of JR Kairakuen Station)→ Keisei Department Store → Kodokan→ Mito Art Tower → Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History → Tokugawa Museum → Kairakuen Parking lot

Kakusan (Red)

Kairakuen Parking lot (in front of JR Kairakuen Station) → The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki → Mito Botanical Park → Tokugawa Museum → Kairakuen Parking lot

Time Schedule

Sukesan (White)

Station 1st Bus 2nd Bus 3rd Bus 4th Bus 5th Bus 6th Bus
Kairakuen (departure) 9:00 10:30 12:00 13:30 15:00 16:30
Keisei Department Store 9:10 10:40 12:10 13:40 15:10 16:40
Kodokan 9:20 10:50 12:20 13:50 15:20 16:50
Mito Art Tower 9:30 11:00 12:30 14:00 15:30 17:00
Museum of History 9:40 11:10 12:40 14:10 15:40 17:10
Tokugawa Museum 9:50 11:20 12:50 14:20 15:50 17:20
Kairakuen (arrival) 10:00 11:30 13:00 14:30 16:00 17:30


Kakusan (Red)

Station 1st Bus 2nd Bus 3rd Bus 4th Bus 5th Bus
Kairakuen (departure) 10:00 11:40 13:20 15:00 16:40
Museum of Modern Art 10:20 12:00 13:40 15:20 17:00
Mito Botanical Park 10:40 12:20 14:00 15:40 17:20
Tokugawa Museum 11:00 12:40 14:20 16:00 17:40
Kairakuen (arrival) 10:10 12:50 14:30 16:10 17:50

*Schedule times are subject to change and are subject to traffic.




IROHA of Japanese Swords Exhibition


Let’s indulge in the art of Japanese swords by learning the basic knowledge from some of the most famous swords in Japan.

Period: August 8th ~ September 24th
Tuesday ~ Sunday 9:30 17:00 (Admission until 16:30)
Mondays Closed (Except for September 18th)
September 19th Closed
Location: Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History

Admission Fee: Regular =¥150
University Students =¥80
High school Students and younger (18- )/Seniors (70+) Free


  • From JR Joban Line, North Exit of Mito Station, take the bus heading to Kaikaruen-Park from bus platform #4, get off at Rekishikan Kairakuen Iriguchi (History Museum, Kairakuen Entrance) and walk for 2 minutes.
  • From Joban Expressway exit at Mito IC, proceed 7 km for 15 minutes.

About the Exhibition:
Japanese Swords, katana, have been getting more attention recently in popular culture. However, the terminology associated with the Japanese swords can be extremely confusing. When we examine a Japanese sword, what should we be looking at and how should we appreciate its beauty?
This exhibition seeks to explain the variety and evolution of the figure, surface, blade pattern and the exterior of Japanese katana through presenting the museum’s very own Japanese sword collection. Works of Ibaraki swordsmith and blacksmith are also presented in the exhibition. Through very simple explanation, the display introduces the beauty behind the history of the Japanese sword, and the ways to examine the swords. We invite all of you who are interested to learn more about Japanese katana to join us in this wonderful exhibition.

Inquiry: 029-225-4425

Ibaraki Botanical Garden Spring Festival

When: 9am – 4:30pm, May 3 – 7
Where: Ibaraki Botanical Garden (4589 To, Naka, Ibaraki)
Admission: Adults 300 yen, junior high school and younger and those over 70 free
Access: 10 minutes by taxi from Urizura Station on the JR Suigun Line


There are plenty of things to see and do at this five day festival! Plants, agricultural products, handicrafts, and food and drink will also be on sale in the gardens.


Calanthe Orchid Exhibition (May 3 – 3pm May 6)
Mensore Okinawa Exhibition (April 22 – May 7)
Forest Concert (May 3 – 7, cancelled in poor weather)
Flower Seedling Present (First 200 people, 9am~, May 3 – May 7)
Forest Handicraft Square (200 yen, 10am – 2pm, May 3 – 7)
Wall Hanging Mini Shisa (Okinawa Lion Statue) Painting Workshop (200 yen, May 3 – May 7)
Coaster Making Workshop (10am – 3:30pm, May 3 – May 7)
Olden Day Games (10am – 3:30pm, May 3 – May 7)
Tropical Plant Quiz – First 200 people to answer correctly get a balloon yoyo (10am – 3:30pm, May 3 – May 7)
Spring Festival Workshop –moss terrarium, handicrafts using herbs, group planting, bread clay (500 yen, 9am, May 7)
Meet a Bird of Prey (1:30pm, May 3)

28th Annual Ryujin Gorge Carp Streamer Festival

When: April 29th (Sat.) to May 14th (Sun.)
Where: Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge
2133-6 Keganochō, Hitachiōta-shi, Ibaraki-ken 313-0351

Surrounded by dazzling green trees and with Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge in the center, about 1,000 carp streamers.

Price to cross the bridge:
Individual: ¥310 for adults, ¥210 for Elementary and Middle School Kids
Group of 30 people and up: ¥280 for adults, ¥190 for Elemetary and Middle School Kids
Free for elementary school kids on Children’s Day. (May 5th, Fri.)

By Car: About 40 minutes from the Hitachi Minami Ota IC and Naka IC of the Joban Expressway.
By Train: About 40 minutes by bus from Hitachi-Ota Station on the JR Suigun Line. Get off the bus at Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge Bus Stop (Ryujinotsuribashi).


36th Annual Kasama Himatsuri

When: April 29 – May 5, 9am – 5pm
Where: Kasama Geijutsu no Mori Park Event Square, Kasama (2345 Kasama)


Head to Kasama during Golden Week for a pottery festival where over 200 ceramic artists, potteries, and local stores will gather in the beautiful Geijutsu no Mori Park to welcome customers to their stalls to see and buy their unique wares. The food and drink stalls are run by ceramic artists, and you will be able to enjoy a variety of unique dishes made using ceramic ware. There will also be a number of events, including a clay mask auction, a clay mask festival run by elementary school students, and a playground. Check out the PR video here.


Bus Schedule

Kasama Station ⇔ Kasama Togei Daigakkou (5 mins walk from venue))
April 29, 30, May 3, 4, 5, Every 30 mins between 8:30am – 3pm from Kasama Station and 8:45 – 5pm from Kasama Togei Daigakkou.
Adults 100 yen, Children 50 yen

Weekday Bus (for May 1-2) (Kasama Station ⇔ Himatsuri Venue North Gate)
170 yen

Tomobe Station → Kasama Himatsuri Venue East Gate
April 29, 30 May 4, 5: Every 15 mins between 8:50am and 3pm
May 1-2: Every 30 mins between 8:50am and 3pm
May 3: Every 15 mins between 8:50am and 4:30pm
100 yen

Kasama Himatsuri Venue→Tomobe Station
April 29, 30 May 4, 5: Every 15 mins between 9:05am and 5:10pm
May 1-2: Every 30 mins between 9:05am and 5:10pm
May 3: Every 15 mins between 9:05am and 8:30pm (every 60-80 mins after 5:10pm)
100 yen


Every Day

Coffee Cup Exhibition
Exhibition & Sale of Sake Cups & Cup Bags
Outdoor Tea Ceremony (choose your own cup)
Exhibition & Sale of Kasama Heat-Resistant Tableware & Pans
Inada Festival
Kids’ Land (Face painting, clay workshop, potter wheel experience, children’s play etc.)
Clay Mask Festival & Auction

Limited Time Events

Jazz Night
When: 6pm onwards, May 3rd
Where: Central Stage
Performers: B Train Jazz Orcherstra feat. Akiko Nakano, Akiko Nakajima Himatsuri Special Session

NEVA GIVE UP Live Performance
When: 3 – 4pm, May 4th
Where: Central Stage

Twilight Live
When: 4pm onwards, May 5th
Where: Central Stage
Performers: Aideko Shinya with DoDo, Torihai, Dodoittsu

Forest Stage Acoustic Live Performances

When: 1pm onwards, May 1 – 5
Where: Forest Stage
May 1: Doremi Gakudan, Kasamaharo Acda#coda
May 2: Old Mountain Boys
May 3: yorry&salt, Lilly, Nakano Hiroki to Suteki na Henteko Dan
May 4: Moonshine, Lemon Head, Baby Factory, Sunny Mamas
May 5: Halo, Mikazuki Settodan

Nemophila Harmony

When: 9:30am – 5pm, April 22 – May 14 (7:30am – 5pm from April 29 – May 8)
Where: Hitachi Seaside Park (605-4 Onuma, Mawatari, Hitachinaka)


Spring is in full swing at Hitachi Seaside Park! Until April 21st, you can visit to see the tulips. Then, from April 22nd to May 14th, you can see the park’s famous nemophila flowers (also known as baby blue-eyes) covering 3.5 hectares on Miharashi Hill, creating an ethereal panorama of blue sky, blue sea, and blue flowers.

Nemophila are annuals that bloom from April to May. The nemophila used in Hitachi Seaside Park are of the Insignis Blue variety. Whilst they are in bloom until mid-May, after they blossom they begin to pale, so the best time to see them is during Golden Week.

Every year tens of thousands of people visit Hitachi Seaside Park to admire this rare sight. If there’s one thing you should see while you are in Ibaraki, it’s this!


Adults (15+) – 410 yen
Seniors (65+) – 210 yen
Children (Elementary and Junior High School) – 80 yen
Infants (Under 6) – Free
*Free admission for elementary and junior high schoolers on May 5 and everyone on May 14

20 minutes by foot from Ajigaura Station on the Hitachinaka Seaside Railway or 15 minutes by bus from JR Katsuta Station

Hitachi Oktoberfest 2017

When: April 26 – May 7 (Weekdays 3 – 9pm, Weekends & Public Holidays 12 – 9pm, Last Order 8:30pm)
Where: Shin Toshi Hiroba, Hitachi Civic Center (1-21-1 Saiwaicho, Hitachi)
Access: 3 minutes’ walk from Hitachi Station Chuo Exit
Admission: Free

Oktoberfest is a German harvest festival that has been held in Munich since 1810. In the two weeks of the festival approximately 6.5 million people attend and 6 million cups of beer are consumed, leading the festival to be known as the world’s largest food festival. Around 10 years ago celebrations of the festival began to pop up around Japan, and it has been gaining popularity ever since.

At Hitachi Oktoberfest 2017 you can enjoy delicious local foods and German beer in the oceanside city of Hitachi as local musicians and performers provide entertainment. In order to reduce waste and broken glasses, you will be charged a 1000 yen glass fee with your first glass of beer, which will be returned to you when you return your glass. You can continue to use the same glass for refills.

There will be no parking available, so you are encouraged to come to the event by public transport.