Upcoming Events

2017 Cherry Blossom Festivals

Enjoying a hanami picnic beneath the fluttering cherry blossom petals is a quintessential spring experience in Japan. Cherry blossom festivals will be held all around Ibaraki while the trees are in bloom, but make sure you plan ahead so you don’t miss out – cherry blossoms are a famous symbol of the transience of life, and are typically in bloom for only a few weeks.

Hitachi

55th Annual Hitachi Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1 – 16
Where: Heiwa Dōri (outside the Chuo Exit of Hitachi Station)/Kamine Park (5 Chōme-2-22 Miyatacho, Hitachi)/Jūō Panorama Park (1085-6 Tomobe, Jūōchō, Hitachi)
Website

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Heiwa Dōri and Kamine Park number among Japan’s 100 most famous cherry blossom spots. The trees along Heiwa Dōri will be lit up in the evenings and lanterns will decorate Kamine Park and Jūō Panorama Park, creating an otherworldly atmosphere throughout the festival. The main feature of the festival is without a doubt the Hitachi Fūryūmono float parade, which was designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009. In the parade, which is a ritual of Kamine Shrine, you can witness a puppet show played out atop a 15m-high float.

Illuminations:

Heiwa Dōri: 6 – 11pm
Kamine Park: 6 – 9:30pm
Jūō Panorama Park: 6 – 9pm

Events on Heiwa Doori:

April 2 – Flower Viewing Event (Noon – 6pm)
April 6-7 – Night Cherry Blossom Pedestrian Heaven (6-8:30pm)
April 8 – Hitachi Fūryūmono (1, 4, 7pm, approx. 30 mins long), Mounted Warrior Parade (2pm), Performances (11:30 – 6:30pm), Stalls (11am – 7:30pm), Pop-up Restaurant (11am – 7:30pm)
April 9 – Hitachi no Sasara (traditional lion dance from Hitachi) (12, 2pm), Hitachi Fūryūmono (1, 3pm), Performances (12pm – 6pm), Stalls (10am – 7pm), Pop-up Restaurants (10am – 7pm)

Takahagi

Takahagi Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1 – 16
Where: Sakura Uchū Park (608 Ishitaki, Takahagi)
Website

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Picnic under the cherry blossom trees in Sakura Uchū Park. On April 8th there will be an open air tea ceremony and koto performance.

Daigo

Sotoono Shidarezakura Festival

When: April 10
Where: In front of the Sotoono Shidarezakura Tree (Sotoono, Daigo)
Website

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The Sotoono Shidarezakura Cherry Blossom Tree is around 300 years old and is said to have been planted by Mitsukuni Tokugawa himself. There will be a yosakoi performance by the local yosakoi team on April 10th and distribution of free amazake while the tree is in bloom.

Hitachiōta

Hitachiōta Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1 – 9
Where: Nishiyama Park (Arajukuchō, Hitachiōta)
Website

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Around 1500 cherry blossom trees will be in bloom in Nishiyama Park. The trees will be illuminated in the evenings throughout the festival.

Hitachiōmiya

Tatsunokuchi Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 3 – 9
Where: Tatsunokuchi Shinsui Park (Tatsunokuchi, Hitachiōmiya)
Website

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Enjoy 1.3km of cherry blossom trees, their pinks and whites contrasting with the yellow flowers planted by the river banks. On April 8th there will be a number of events including a stamp rally and evening fireworks.

Naka

Yaezakura Festival

When: April 15 – May 3
Where: Shizumine Furusato Park (1720-1 Shizu, Naka)
Website

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Shizumine Furusato Park is one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom viewing spots. The trees will be lit up in the evenings from April 22nd to April 30th, and on April 22nd and 23rd there will be a dancing performances and a mini concert as well as stalls selling food and drink.

Tōkai

Tōkai Cherry Blossom Festival

When: Late March – Mid April
Where: Akogigaura Undo Park (Muramatsu, Tōkai, Naka-gun)
Website

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Around 200 cherry blossom trees will be in bloom in Akogigaura Undo Park. From sundown to 9pm throughout the festival the trees will be lit up, allowing you to enjoy a totally different atmosphere to viewing the trees in daylight.

Kitaibaraki

Nakagō Ishioka Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 9
Where: Sakurasakaue Hiroba (858 Nakagōchō Ishioka, Kitaibaraki)
Website

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The festival will be packed with things to do and see, with the Jūkokubori nordic walking tour, stalls selling local products, an open air tea ceremony, a mikoshi (portable shrine) display, amateur karaoke contest, and a Jōban coal mine photo gallery.

Mito

Mito Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1 – 15
Where: Kairakuen, Senba Park, and other locations around Mito
Website

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The trees at sakurayama in Kairakuen Park and around Sakuragawa River will be lit up with lanterns in the evenings, and there will be open air tea ceremonies at Kairakuen. On April 7th and 8th there will be a Night Cherry Blossom Concert at the old Prefectural Government Office Building in Sannomaru (1 Chōme-5 Sannomaru, Mito).

Kasama

Mt. Atago Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1 – May 7
Where: Mt. Atago Kasama
Website

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Enjoy around 2000 blooming cherry blossom trees at Mt. Atago, famous for its Tengu legend. The cherry blossoms are in bloom later here due to the difference in elevation.

Kitayama Park Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 9 – 16
Where: Kitayama Park (1416-1 Tairamachi, Kasama)
Website

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Around 1500 cherry blossom trees in Kitayama Park and along the nearby roadside will be lit up by lanterns in the evenings, creating an otherworldly atmosphere.

Tsuchiura

Tsuchiura Cherry Blossom Festival

When: March 25 – April 9
Where: Kijō Park (1 Chōme-13-48 Chūō, Tsuchiura), Urara Hiroba (Tsuchiura Station West Exit), Ottonuma Park (Nakamuranishine, Tsuchiura) Sakuragawa River banks, Shinkawa River banks, Manabe Elementary School (4 Chōme-3-1 Manabe, Tsuchiura), Ryūgamine (987 Nagai, Tsuchiura), and other locations around Tsuchiura
Video
Website

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Kijō Park, the location of Tsuchiura Castle, is the main venue of the Tsuchiura Cherry Blossom Festival, but many other breathtaking spots for viewing the flowers can be found all around the city, including the cherry blossom tunnel at Ryūgamine and the trees along the bank of the Sakuragawa River. The trees in Kijō Park will be lit up in the evenings, and there will be stage events held at the Urara Hiroba.

Events

All Locations

Saturdays and Sundays between April 1 – April 9 – Town Cherry Blossom Shuttle Bus
Timetable (Japanese)

Urara Hiroba

April 2, 11am – 3pm
Stage Events (Dancing, Taiko, Yosakoi, and more), Bread Festival, and festival games

Kijō Park

April 5, 10:30am – 4pm – Open Air Tea Ceremony, Tsuchiura Three Piece Band Performance, Pony Rides, Spring Curry Fair, Stage Events

Sakuragawa River Banks

March 25 – April 9 – Illuminations (between Nioibashi Bridge and Zenigamebashi Bridge)

Shinkawa River Banks

March 25 – April 9 – Lanterns (Tatsuta-machi, Manabe 1 Chōme, Manabe 2 Chōme), Illuminations

Niihari

April 2, 12:30 – 3pm – Yabusame Festival (Hieda Shrine) (buses in operation from Urara Hiroba departing 11:30am)

Hasukawara Cherry Blossom Festival

March 25 – April 9 – Lanterns

Manabe Cherry Blossom Festival

April 8, 2-4pm – Manabe Orchestra, Paper Puppet Show, Fire Truck, Cherry Blossom Photo Gallery, Free Lemon Water, Barley Tea, Cherry Blossom Tea, Cherry Blossom Mochi Making
6-9pm – Illuminations, Taiko, Piano
April 7, 9, 6-9pm – Illuminations

Ishioka

Kokubunji Temple Flower Festival

When: April 8
Where: Hitachi Kokubunji Temple (5 Chōme-1 Fuchū, Ishioka)
Website http://www.ishioka-kankou.com/page/page000054.html

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A variety of blooming cherry blossom trees will paint the temple grounds in beautiful shades of pink and white.

Hitachi Fudoki no Oka Cherry Blossom Festival

When: Late March – Late April
Where: Hitachi Fudoki no Oka (1646 Someya, Ishioka)
Website

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Three varieties of cherry blossoms will bloom one after the other for around a month at Hitachi Fudoki no Oka. The cherry blossom tree tunnel is particularly popular. The trees will also be lit up in the evenings.

Tsukubamirai

Fukuoka Dam Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 7 – 11
Where: Fukuoka Dam Sakura Park (2633-7 Kitayama, Fukuoka, Tsukubamirai)
Website

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Walk along 1.8km of cherry blossom trees lining the Kokaigawa River. On Saturdays there will be a stage with performances throughout the day.

Kasumigaura

Mt. Yukiiri Cherry Blossom Walk

When: April 8
Where: Yukiiri Fureai no Sato Park (452-1 Yukiiri, Kasumigaura)
Website

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Hike through the cherry blossoms on one of two walking courses (5km and 10km). Reservations open March 14th and are first come first serve. You can make a reservation by calling the Yukiiri Nature Center (0299-59-7000, Japanese only).

Ami

Ami Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 2
Where: Fureai no Michi (4671-1 Ami, Inashiki-gun)
Website

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There will be a stage with dancing, yosakoi, and brass band performances, as well as stalls selling food and drink and a bingo tournament.

Ushiku

Ushiku Daibutsu Cherry Blossoms & Moss Phlox

When: April
Where: Ushiku Daibutsu (2083 Kuno, Ushiku)
Website

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Every year cherry blossoms and bright pink moss phlox bloom around the Ushiku Daibutsu statue.

Toride

Cherry Blossom Illuminations

When: Late March – Early April
Where: Sakurasō Nursing Home (1025 Oka, Toride)
Website

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Around 90 cherry blossom trees will be lit up in the evenings.

Tone

Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1-2
Where: Tone Town Hall Parking Lot (841-1 Fukawa, Tone, Kitasōma District)
Website

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At this year’s festival there will be a mini train, a haiku contest, a dress up contest, and more! Children who participate in the dress up contest will receive some sweets as a prize. On April 1st the cherry blossoms will be lit up from 5pm.

Bandō

Bandō Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 8-9
Where: Iwai Kōminkan (3108 Iwai, Bandō)/Sakasaijōato Park (1262 Sakasai, Bandō)
Website

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There will be booths selling food and drink and stage events including dancing and musical performances.

Sakuragawa

Sakuragawa Cherry Blossom Festival

When: March 18 – April 23
Where: Isobe area in Sakuragawa
Website

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The cherry blossom trees on the path in front of the Sakuragawa Isobe Inamura Shrine and in the surrounding park are designated by the Japanese government as Places of Scenic Beauty. On April 15th SAKURA Festival will be held in Sakuragawa Sogo Undo Park (2685-14 Iwase, Sakuragawa). At the festival local products will be on sale and there will be a soba festival, yosakoi performances, and much more.

Rakuhō Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1-20 (gates close at 5pm)
Where: Amabiki Kannon (1 Motogi, Sakuragawa)
Website

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Around 3000 trees of a number of varieties will be in bloom around the temple. A temple festival called madaraki shinsai will be held at the same time, so the grounds will be bustling with activity.

Shimotsuma

Shimotsuma Sanuma Marsh Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 2
Where: Sanuma Marsh, Shimotsuma (175 Shimotsumahei, Shimotsuma)
Website

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Around 1000 trees will be in bloom in Sanuma Large Park (Sanuma Koiki Koen), and events will be held when the flowers bloom.

Yūki

Yūki Cherry Blossom Festival

When: Late March – Mid April
Where: Shiroato Historical Park (2486 Yūki, Yūki)
Website

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150 cherry blossom trees will be in bloom in Shiroato Historical Park, which is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot among locals. On April 8th there will be stage events, traditional games, and a photo contest for elementary school students.

Chikusei

Shimodate Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 9
Where: Shimodate Minami Kasumi Food Square (1375 Niginari, Chikusei)
Website

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Several hundred cherry blossom trees are located around the area south of Shimodate station, the Shimodate Minami Kasumi, and the surrounding Niginari area, and this event is held by the local shopping district while the trees are in bloom.

Akeno Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1 until the cherry blossoms finish blooming
Where: Akeno Community Center (2120-7 Ebigashima, Chikusei)
Website

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Around 100 cherry blossom trees will be in bloom around the Akeno Community Center. On April 2nd the Cherry Blossom Arts Festival will be held, including singing, dancing, taiko drums, hula dancing, and much more.

Koga

Koga Cherry Blossom Festival

When: March 25 – April 2
Where: Naval Park (620 Komahane, Koga)
Website

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A variety of stage events will be held on the weekends.

Kashima

Kashima Cherry Blossom Festival

When: March 31 – April 10
Where: Kashima Shiroyama Park (1 Chōme-2-6 Shiroyama, Kashima)
Website

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Kashima Shiroyama Park is one of the most beautiful areas in eastern Ibaraki to view the cherry blossoms. In the evenings the trees will be lit up, allowing you to view the blossoms in a different atmosphere to the daytime.

Itako

Suigō Itako Cherry Blossom Festival

When: March 26 – April 9
Where: Gogenyama Park (174-1 Ushibori, Itako)/Suigō Ayame Iris Gardens (1-5 Ayame, Itako)
Website

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This festival is held with Lake Kasumigaura as a backdrop in Gogenyama Park, which was chosen as one the top 100 places with beautiful views in Ibaraki, and in the Suigō Ayame Iris Gardens, the venue of Itako’s famous Iris Festival. Events will be held on April 1st and 2nd.

Kamisu

26th Annual Kamisu Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1 – 16
Where: Gōnoike Park, Kamisu City (Higashifukashiba, Kamisu)
Website

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Head to Gōnoike Park to enjoy the blooming of 3000 cherry blossom trees. There will be lanterns in the evening from 6-9:30pm, allowing you to see the cherry blossoms in a different light. On April 9th there will be a concert, karaoke contest, and play equipment set up for kids to play on.

Namegata

Cherry Blossom Festival

When: April 1-2
Where: Haguroyama Park (967 Aso, Namegata), Okisu Geijutsu Mura (1548 Okisu, Namegata)
Website

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Cherry blossoms will be in bloom in various locations around Namegata, including Haguroyama Park, located on the edge of Lake Kasumigaura, and Okisu Geijutsu Mura. Throughout the festival there will be outdoor stalls selling delicious food and drinks.

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Upcoming Events

Kisenosato Receives Ibaraki Prefectural Honor Award

Newly-appointed yokozuna Kisenosato visited the Ibaraki Prefectural Government office on February 9th, where he was commended with an Ibaraki Prefectural Honor Award presented by Governor Hashimoto.

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The Ibaraki Prefectural Honor Award is bestowed upon inspiring individuals who have raised the profile of Ibaraki Prefecture through notable achievements in areas such as academia, sports, and the arts, and who are widely loved and respected. As the first Japanese-born yokozuna in 19 years, and the first Ibaraki-born yokozuna in 81 years, Kisenosato certainly fits the bill. The 30-year-old wrestler from Ushiku was promoted from ōzeki to the yokozuna, the highest sumo rank, on January 25th, 2017. He is now one of four active yokozuna – the other three wrestlers, Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu, are from Mongolia.

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Many locals attended the ceremony, congratulating Kisenosato and wishing him luck in future tournaments.

Upcoming Events

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

Upcoming Events

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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Upcoming Events

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

Upcoming Events

Higashiyama Kaii Toshodaiji Temple Mieido Wall Painting Exhibition

When: 9:30am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm) February 11th – April 2nd, 2017
Where: The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki (666-1 Higashikubo, Senbacho, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture 310-0851)
Access: 20 minutes’ walk from Mito Station, or 5 minutes by bus (take any bus from bus stop no.8 headed for Haraizawa (払沢) or Hongo (本郷) and get off at Bunka Center Iriguchi (文化センター入口). It is 5 minutes’ walk from there)

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Toshidaiji Temple Mieido Wall Painting  ‘Tosei’ (section) 1975 Property of Toshodaiji Temple

This exhibition is a rare opportunity to see a full view display of the wall paintings from the Mieido in Toshodaiji temple, which are usually not on display to the public.

Higashiyama Kaii (1908 – 1999) is one of Japan’s most celebrated artists from the postwar period. He is known for the deep spirituality found in his clear-cut artwork and for the rich expression in his landscapes.

The 68 panel wall paintings of Toshodaiji Temple took the artist 10 years to complete. In order to honour Jianzhen, the founder of the temple who overcame great difficulty to reach Japan from China, Higashiyama travelled around both China and Japan, sketching and planning the paintings. The first section of paintings was dedicated in 1975 and depicts the rich natural environment of Japan, while the second section, dedicated in 1980, depicts Jianzhen’s homeland China.

Sketches, drafts, and experimental works by Higashiyama will also be on display.

 

Upcoming Events

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

Upcoming Events

Winter Illuminations in Ibaraki 2016 – 2017

Daigo

Daigo Light

When: November 3 – January 29, sunset – 8pm*
Where: Fukuroda Falls
Cost: Adults 300 yen, Children 150 yen
Website

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*Illuminations will be on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays only. Between December 23rd and January 9th the falls will be illuminated every night. On New Year’s Eve, the illuminations will continue until 2am.

Kuji River Illumination

When: December 1 – January 15, sunset – 10pm
Where: Along the banks of the Kuji River in Daigo

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Hitachi

Hitachi Starlight Illumination

When: November 19 – December 25, 5 – 10pm (5 – 8pm on December 25)
Where: Hitachi Civic Center Shin Toshi Square, Hitachi Station area
Website

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Takahagi

Hikari no Pagent in Takahagi

When: December 3 – January 6, sunset – 11pm
Where: JR Joban Line Takahagi Station Rotary Niji no Hiroba

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Hitachinaka

Christmas Illumination

When/Where:
Sawa Station: December 1 – January 9, 4:30pm – midnight
Nakaminato Station: December 2 – January 9 4:30pm – 11pm
Katsuta Station: December 5 – January 9 4:30pm – 1am

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Tokai

Tokai “make a wish” Illumination

When: December 3 – February 18, 5pm – midnight
Where: In front of the escalators outside the West Exit of Tokai Station
Website

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Mito

Ibaraki Kenmin Bunka Centre 50th Anniversary Illuminations

When: November 13 – December 25, 5 – 10pm
Where: Ibaraki Kenmin Bunka Centre (697 Higashikubo, Senba-cho, Mito)
Website

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Art Tower Mito Light Up Project

When: October 29 onwards, 5-10pm (no illuminations on Mondays unless Monday is a public holiday. Illuminations every day over the new year’s period)
Where: Mito Art Tower (1-6-8 Goken-cho, Mito)
Website

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Tsuchiura

Hikari ga Tsukuru Art Suigo Sakura Illumination

When: November 19 – February 19, 5 – 9pm
Where: In front of the windmill in Kasumigaura Comprehensive Park, Tsuchiura (1051 Oiwata, Tsuchiura)
Website

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24th Annual Tsuchiura Winter Festival

When: November 29th – January 9th, 5 – 11pm
Where: Tsuchiura Station East and West Exit, where the old waterfall used to be at Tsuchiura Mall

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Tsukuba

Mt. Tsukuba Ropeway Night Walk Stardust Cruising

When: September 17th – February 26th*, 5 – 9pm (every 20 minutes)
Where: Mt. Tsukuba Ropeway, Tsukuba
Cost: 1000 yen per person, free for children elementary school aged and younger
Website

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*Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, and December 23 – 30th only. Not operating in poor weather, on December 31 – January 2, or February 4-5

Tsukuba Expo Center Christmas Illumination

When: November 26 – December 25, 4 – 10pm
Where: Tsukuba Expo Center 2-9 Azuma, Tsukuba)
Website

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Tsukuba Hikari no Mori

When: November 26 – January 9, 4:30pm – midnight
Where: TX Tsukuba Station Pedestrian Deck Area
Website

Ishioka

Flower Park Winter Illumination

When: December 1 – 30, January 1 – 31, 5 – 9pm
Where: Ibaraki Flower Park (200 Shimoaoyagi, Ishioka)
Website

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Chikusei

Hoshi no Fantasy in Shimodate

When: December 10 – January 31
Where: JR Shimodate Station area

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Bando

Bando Illumination Fantasy

When: November 23 – January 28, 5 – 9:30pm
Where: Iwai Shopping District, Bando Kanko Koryu Center, Sashima Shopping District

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Ami

Ami Premium Outlet Mall Winter Illumination

When: November 3 – February 15, sunset – 9pm
Where: Ami Premium Outlet Mall
Website

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Ushiku

Brilliantville Ushiku

When: December 3 – February 19th, 5pm – 1am
Where: JR Ushiku Station West and East Exits
Website

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Moriya

Moriya Christmas Fantasy

When: November 23rd – December 24th, 5 – 10pm
Where: Moriya Station West Exit Square
Website

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Ryugasaki

Ryugasaki Illumination Dream Tree

When: November 3rd – February 28th, 5pm – 1am
Where: JR Sanuki Station East and West Exit, Ryugasaki Station

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Kashima

Kashima Hikari no Art Gallery 2016

When: December 2 – January 9
Where: Kashima Jingu Station Area
Website

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Upcoming Events

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)

One Day in Ibaraki

KENPOKU ART 2016 – Mountain Route

My supervisor and I made a trip from Hitachiomiya to Daigo to see the various art pieces placed around northern Ibaraki. Some of the facilities that house the art pieces require an entrance fee. If you decide to take the weekend bus tour or the free KENPOKU shuttle bus with your friend(s), I’d recommend getting the KENPOKU Passport. The passport cost \2,500 and it will permit you one entrance to each of the facilities.

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Michi-no-Eki Hitachiomiya Kawa Plaza

E-14: Ryota Shioya – riverbed / a gathered people

The artist took into consideration the placement of the piece. The decision to permanently construct this artwork at a rest stop, Kawa Plaza, where hundreds of people will pass through daily is symbolized by river rocks which have been smoothed down by rushing water. It seems that the artist was trying to show the beauty of passing through a place.

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The Former Miwa Junior High School

E-01: Hackathon – The Sound of TapBoard

The Sound of Tapboard was an interesting use of sound and motion in order to draw the viewer into the experience. The artist created an interactive, unusual piece of art that anyone can enjoy.

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E-02: Yoichi Ochiai – Colloidal Display and Others

The artist of this piece utilized many materials to send his message to the viewers. His juxtaposition of electronic resources to portray the beautiful image of the butterfly was innovative. He successfully and stunningly created a link from the technological world to the natural one. This was one of my favorite piece to see, simply because the beautiful butterfly was so unexpected from the loud sound of the machine working.

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E-04: Hackathon/CALAR.inc

This was another piece in which the artists successfully gave the viewer an experience for all the senses. By inviting guests to walk through the storybook and view colorful videos it creates a more memorable experience. The artists’ storybook format and decision to arrange the path in a specific order urges the viewer to continue on until the end in order to truly finish the artists’ tale. The artists’ use of lighting, sound, and space helped to create an intriguing experience.

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E-05: Hiroshi Suzuki + Masato Ohki – Constellations of the earth ― Ibaraki-kenpoku-za

This was another piece in which the artist sought to draw in the viewers. By creating a participatory artwork, the entire community was able to play a part in creating the finished product. The piece combined many different elements including space satellites and radio wave reflectors, as well as the finished piece made to mimic the constellations of the earth.

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E-06: Isabelle Desjeux – The Ibaraki Inventorium

This artist’s background as a molecular biologist shaped her artwork in a fantastic way. By bringing her love of another field and incorporating it into her artwork, she succeeded in creating something not only beautiful for the viewers, but also educational. Her focus upon wildlife found in Ibaraki is a way to involve the viewers and to perhaps have them view their surroundings with a different light after seeing the piece. Her decision to place the artwork in a science classroom also creates an interesting contrast for the viewer to see beautiful work in a somewhat familiar place.

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E-07: magma – WOODSTOCK

This piece was an entire room that the artists had transformed. The whole room- from the ceiling, to the decorations and furniture, were all crafted of wood from the Miwa region. Upon walking into the room, there is a calming effect for the viewers. This calming effect is accentuated by the artist’s decision to include xylophone music and forest sounds. The unity in material gives the viewer a kind of eye-pleasing harmony.

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E-07: magma – GREAT TEACHER

In this piece, the artists worked to incorporate humor and portray their, perhaps, relatable experiences. They transformed the principal’s office and manipulated the sound, lighting, and contents of the office. They created a robot in place of the headmaster and recorded a dialogue- successfully making the principal’s office a dramatic, humorous experience. This piece puts the viewer into the shoes of a student, and reminds viewer of the feelings of listening to adults speak.

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E-08: Fumiaki Murakami – Fly Me to the Earth

The artist of this piece successfully utilized AR (augmented reality) technology in order to create a kind of looking-glass for the viewer. Upon entering the classroom, there was an airplane suspended from the ceiling. Upon closer inspection, the rear end was a lens. The viewer is invited to peer into the lens and is instantly shown real scenery and nature. The artist crafted the lens to give the viewer a bird’s-eye, virtual reality view of Hitachiomiya. The piece is interactive and successful in giving the viewer a beautiful never-before-seen view of familiar surroundings.

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E-09: Miki Yamamoto – Classroom of Ribbon around a Bomb

This piece was a storybook depicting a girl’s school life. The artist, having grown up in Ibaraki, successfully made her piece relatable to the viewer and also gave a respectful nod to her home prefecture. The illustrations in the storybook were simple and beautiful, mirroring the simple life of the girl in the story.

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The Former Yawara Seishonen-no-Ie

E-10: Zadok Ben-David – Blackfield

This piece was a surprising visual experience for the viewer. The artist crafted 27 thousand small, metallic flowers to greet upon entrance to the room. The flowers are of various colors and diverse real-life environments, but are unified by their placement. The flowers are two-dimensional, so upon further entering the room the flowers begin to change before the viewer’s eyes. The flowers, metallic on one side, are hiding thousands of colors on the other side. The artist, Zadok Ben-David, says that the piece is “a psychological installation about life and death, very moody, developing and changing while we walk along. It has two sides, black and colour, symbolising and manipulating a state of mind, yet leaving us a choice”. The symbolism in his piece was beautifully crafted.

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E-11: Wang Te-Yu – No.85

The artist of this piece created an interactive experience for the viewers by filling a room with a giant balloon. The artist invites the viewers to enter the entirely white room, feeling the ground slightly deflate with every step. The lack of color and furniture in the room create a kind of dreamy, surreal, and peaceful experience. The artist’s aim to free the viewer of outside physical sensations with the white balloon successfully places them in a different world.

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E-13: Matthew Jensen – Reflecting on the Kuji River / The Sun Returning

The artist of this piece, similar to the ‘Ibaraki Inventorium’ artwork, utilized his interests in other areas in order to create a truly beautiful finished product. He focused on the Kuji River in this piece. The piece features stunning beautiful, aerial photos of sunsets reflected upon the river. The artist also trekked along the river and collected small stones and objects that were found along the shore. By including multiple perspectives of the area, the piece truly lives up to its name and is a reflection on every part of the river.

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The Shopping district in front of Hitachi-Daigo Station

The Daigomachi Culture & Welfare Hall (大子町文化福祉会館) offers free bike rentals to tour the area. There are many artworks located near the Hitachi-Daigo Station, so riding a bike around the area is a great way to explore the town. There are several restaurants that are collaborating with KENPOKU Art 2016 to entice tourists to the area. Daigo is famous for Oku-kuji Shamo chicken, and Yamaki (弥満喜) is one of the better known restaurants in the area collaborating with the event. At Yamaki, you can enjoy yuba sashimi and Oku-kuji Shamo chicken prepared in various ways.

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F-16: Song-Ming Ang – Daigo Lost and Found

The Daigo Lost and Found piece is a historical peek into the past for the city of Daigo. Footage of the city’s festivals and events were taken decades ago and were recollected specifically for this display. The video footage, displayed on old TVs, give a glimpse into what life was like in Daigo decades ago. For current residents or those familiar with Daigo, it’s a reminder of the cultural history and values that are unique and beautiful to these residents. For newcomers, it’s a historical introduction to a city with a rich and vibrant history.

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Fukuroda Falls (Tunnel)

F-18: Jung Hye-Ryun – Serial possibility – fukuroda fall

The artist of this piece successfully transformed the tunnel which leads visitors to Fukuroda Falls in Daigo. The piece is representative of the Kuji River and winds along the overhead of the tunnel as the viewer walks. The artist created beautiful, twisting neon lights which mimic the twists and turns of the river. By symbolizing the Kuji River, he created a link between two of Daigo’s most beautiful areas.

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