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
Website

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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.

Events

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)

Ibaraki Botanical Garden Presents Night Garden

When: August 20-21 until 9pm
Where: Ibaraki Botanical Garden (4589 To, Naka, Ibaraki)
Website

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Ibaraki Botanical Garden will be hosting a Night Garden event on the 20th and 21st of August. Candles will create an otherworldly atmosphere in the gardens. Come along to experience the gardens as you’ve never seen them before!

Events

Candle Lighting
When: August 20/21, 6pm

Night Garden Concert
When: August 20/21, 6:10pm onward
August 20
Tokai Wind Instrument Group (wind instruments)
Erhu Fun Association (erhu)
Aiko (guitar and singing)
Amareen Belly Dance (belly dancing)
Ayaka Rosy Muto (guitar and singing)
August 21
Ocarina Naka (ocarina)
Maiyu (guitar and singing)
Sound Trip (band)
Amy (piano recital)
HF Pop-Ups (Band)

Tropical Plant House Night Tour
When: 7 – 8:30pm, August 20/21
Duration: Approximately 15 minutes
Sign up at the Tropical Plant House (nettai shokubutsu kan)

Festival Stalls
When: 6pm onward, August 20/21
You can eat delicious things here!

Nature Game
When: 7pm onward, August 20/21
Sign up near the ticket booth

Tree Climbing
When: 3pm – sundown, August 20
Sign up in front of the exhibition room

Fruit Picking in Ibaraki

As Japan’s second biggest producer of agricultural products, Ibaraki is heaven for fruit lovers with a number of farms and orchards open to visitors. In autumn, many of these places offer fruit picking experiences, giving you the opportunity to enjoy freshly picked seasonal fruit with your friends and family.
Note: The phone numbers provided will most likely only be able to handle queries in Japanese

Asian Pears (Nashi)

Ibaraki is the number one producer of Asian pears in the Kanto region, and the number two producer of the kosui and hosui varieties nationwide. They are mainly grown in Kasumigaura, Ishioka, Chikusei, Shimotsuma, and Yachiyo. Asian pears have been grown in Ibaraki since the Edo Period, and it is one of the oldest production areas in Japan.

Where can I go Asian pear picking?

Mito
Late August – Late September
Mito-shi Kajuengei Kumiai Renraku Kyōgikai (029-243-9312)

Shirosato
Late August – Mid September
Miyamoto Kankō Kajuen (029-289-3551)

Kasumigaura
Early August – Late October
Chiyoda Fruit Tree Tourist Association (0299-59-2116)

Tsuchiura
Mid August – Late September
Little Farm (029-862-3542)

Grapes

Ibaraki’s vineyards are very popular for their fruit picking experiences. You can try your hand at harvesting a number of different varieties of delicious grapes between July and October, from Kyoho grapes to western varieties that can be eaten with the skin on.

Where can I go grape picking?

Hitachiota
Early September – Mid October
JA Ibaraki Mizuho Hitachiota Budō Bukai Jimukyoku (0294-70-3488)

Tokai
Late August – Early October
Shimizu Budō En (029-283-0278)

Hitachi
September
Nakazato Leisure Nōen (contact JA Ibaraki Hitachi Nakazato Branch, 0294-59-0101)
Orikasa Budō Kankō Nōen (contact JA Ibaraki Hitachi Hidaka Branch 0294-42-4415)

Naka
Mid August – Late August
Kamigane Budō En (029-298-3963)

Mito
Early September – Late September
Mito-shi Kajuengei Kumiai Renraku Kyōgikai (029-243-9312)

Ishioka
Early August – Mid October
Yasato Kankō Kaju Kumiai (0299-43-1111)

Kasumigaura
Late August – Mid October
Chiyoda Fruit Tree Tourist Association (0299-59-2116)

Apples

Most of Ibaraki’s apples are produced in the cooler mountainous areas such as Daigo, and you can enjoy their crisp sweetness between September and November.
When and where can I go apple picking?

Daigo
Mid September – Late November
Okukuji Ringo no Mura
Okukuji Ringo no Furusato
Okukuji Ringo En
Okukuji Asakawa Ringo Danchi
Okukuji Shizen Kyūyō Mura
For more information, contact the Daigo Tourism Association 0295-72-0285

Hitachiomiya
Mid September – Late November
Takamura Ringo En (0295-57-3775)
Late September – Late November
Sawayaka Kajuen (0295-57-2711)

Hitachi
Early September – Early December
Nakazato Leisure Nōen (contact JA Ibaraki Hitachi Nakazato Branch, 0294-59-0101)

Mito
Early September – Early December
Mito-shi Kajuengei Kumiai Renraku Kyōgikai (029-243-9312)

Shirosato
Early October – Late November
Miyamoto Kankō Kajuen (029-289-3551)

Kasama
Late September – Late November
Fujieda Ringo En (0296-74-3060)

Ishioka
Late September – Late November
Yasato Kankō Kaju Kumiai (0299-43-1111)

Ushiku
Mid September – Early December
Kankō Nōen Naganuma Ringo En (029-875-0592)

Persimmons

Ibaraki is the northernmost area where persimmons can be grown. They are grown widely throughout Ibaraki though mainly in the south of the prefecture. The persimmons grown in the Yasato area in Ishioka have been gifted to the Imperial family since 1955, which speaks volumes about their delicious flavour.

Where can I go persimmon picking?

Ishioka
Late September – Late November
Yasato Kankō Kaju Kumiai (0299-43-1111)

Kasumigaura
Late September – Late November
Chiyoda Fruit Tree Tourist Association (0299-59-2116)

Tsuchiura
Mid October – Mid November
Little Farm (029-862-3542)

Melons

Ibaraki is the number one producer of melons nationwide. The Earl’s Favourite variety is grown through summer and autumn mainly in Hokota, Yachiyo, and Ibarakimachi, and it comes into season during October. In Japan, melons are very popular as gifts.

Where can I go melon picking?

Sakuragawa
Early September – Mid October
KEK Chokuei Iwase Nōjō (0296-76-0744)

Hokota
Early September – Early October
Sun Green Asahi (0291-37-4147)
Early September – Late October
Forest Park Melon no Mori (0291-33-5621)

Mandarins

Mt. Tsukuba is said to the northernmost area for growing mandarins, and most of Ibaraki’s mandarin producers are located in that area. The Fukure mandarin from the foothills of Mt. Tsukuba is only 3cm in diameter and are known for their strong acidic flavour.

Where can I go mandarin picking?

Ishioka
Mid October – Late November
Yasato Kankō Kaju Kumiai (0299-43-1111)

Sakuragawa
Early November – Late December
Sakayori Kankō Mikan Kumiai (0296-55-4330)

Tsukuba
Early November – Late December
Kessoku Mikan En (029-867-0688)

Chestnuts

Ibaraki is the number one producer of chestnuts nationwide, and Kasama, Kasumigaura, and Ishioka are the main production areas. Delicious when simply boiled, they take on a whole other level of tastiness when candied or simmered in their astringent skin.

Where can I go chestnut picking?

Kasumigaura
Early September – Late October
Chiyoda Fruit Tree Tourist Association (0299-59-2116)

Tsukuba
Late September – Early October
Ogawa Blueberry En (029-836-1312)

Dried Sweet Potatoes

Whilst not a fruit, sweet potatoes are a healthy food packed with vitamins and dietary fibre, and Ibaraki is one of Japan’s top producers. Hokota and Namegata are the main production areas. 97% of Japan’s dried sweet potato is produced in Ibaraki.
Where can I see dried sweet potato being made/go sweet potato picking?

Ishioka
Asahi Satoyama Gakkō (0299-51-3117)

Kasumigaura
Chiyoda Fruit Tree Tourist Association (0299-59-2116)

Shimotsuma
Beers Park Shimotsuma Fureai Taiken Nōjō (0296-30-5121)

Hokota
Forest Park Melon no Mori (029-133-5621)

Tokai
Hoshi-imo Kōbō (029-283-0278)

Ibaraki Botanical Garden Presents Night Garden

When: August 22-23 until 9pm
Where: Ibaraki Botanical Garden (4589 To, Naka)

20150822_nightgarden

Ibaraki Botanical Garden will be hosting a Night Garden event on the 22nd and 23rd of August. The NPO Yume Akari will be providing 3500 candles, casting an otherworldly atmosphere over the gardens. Come along to experience the gardens as you’ve never seen them before!

Events
22/23, 6pm onward – Festival Stalls
22/23, 7-8:30pm – Tropical Plant Exhibit Night Tour (sign up at the Tropical Plant Exhibit)
22/23, 6pm onward – Candle Lighting (you can participate too!)
22, 7pm onward – Nature Game (sign up near the ticket booth)
22/23 6:30 – Forest Concert
22, 4pm – Tree Climbing and Chainsaw Demonstration

Yaezakura Festival

When: April 18 – May 6
Where: Shizumine Furusato Park, Naka (1720-1 Shizu, Naka, Ibaraki)
Website

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Head to Shizumine Furusato Park in Naka to see the yaezakura, sometimes called double cherry in English. Yaezakura are a variety of cherry blossom with double-layered petals that typically bloom later than other varieties. Shizumine Furusato Park was selected as one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom viewing sites, and is famous for its 2000 yaezakura trees. Head to the park to relax among the blossoms in the spring weather.

From April 25 to May 2 from sunset to 9pm there will be illuminations in the evening, transforming the park into magical world. On April 25 – 26 from 10am to 8pm* there will be numerous stalls and stage events, including yosakoi dancing and a performance from Ibaraki’s local hero Ibaliger.

*May be cancelled in poor weather

Hinamatsuri Events in Ibaraki 2015

Hinamatsuri, also known as the Doll Festival or Girls’ Day, is held on March 3rd every year. This historical seasonal festival can be traced back to the Heian Period (794-1185). Many places display dolls for around a month before the day of the festival. Many people will drink shirozake, a sake made from fermented rice, and eat hina-arare, coloured and flavoured crackers, and chirashizushi, sushi rice with a variety of toppings, usually raw fish and other seafood.

Doll displays and events in the name of this popular festival can be found in various locations around Ibaraki.

Useful terminology:
Nagashibina: Floating dolls down rivers to get rid of bad spirits and misfortunes
Tsurushibina: Stuffed dolls hung up on strings

Makabe Hinamatsuri

When: February 4 – March 3
Where: Downtown Makabe in Sakuragawa
Website: http://www.makabe-hina.com/
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H1uVuHwlzMk
Public Transport: Take the Wa no Kaze Special Event Bus from Iwase Station or the Hinamatsuri Special event bus from Tsukuba Center

Special Events

Japanese Puppet Show
When: February 16
Where: Makabe Denshokan Hall
Wa no Kaze Nagashibina
When: March 3, 11:30am
Where: Yamaguchigawa River

100 Step Hinamatsuri

When: March 1st 9am – 3pm (cancelled in poor weather)
Where: Juunisho Shrine 100 Steps, (Honmachi-dōri, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.daigomachi.or.jp/webdir/32.html
Public Transport: 3 minutes’ walk from JR Hitachidaigo Station

Miyata House Saku Café Hinamatsuri

When: Wednesday to Sunday 10am – 2pm from February 2 – March 1
Where: Miyata House, 4902 Korofuji, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki
Website: http://miyata-tei.com/event/hina.html
Public Transport: 5 minutes’ walk from the north side of JR Kamiogawa Station

Handmade Hina Doll Festival

When: 10am – 4pm, February 18 – March 3
Where: Takahagi Shimin Center, Hozumi-ke Residential Area, and various locations around Takahagi

Slowtown Kujiragaoka Hinamatsuri

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

Tokai Terra Park Tsurushibina Exhibition

When: January 13 – March 6
Where: Tokai Terra Park, Tokai (1-1 Shirakata, Tokai-mura, Naka-gun, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.japc.co.jp/
Public Transport: 10 minutes by taxi from JR Tokai Station

Naka Hinamatsuri

When: January 31 – March 8
Where: Various locations around Naka (Click here for a list of display locations)
Website: http://www.naka-kanko.jp/news.php?category=0&code=235
Public Transport to Magariya, Town Hall, and the Chūo Kōminkan: 15 minutes’ walk from JR Kamisugaya Station

Kasama Ceramic Hina Doll Festival

When: February 3 – March 3
Where: Tou no Komichi, Gallery Road, Kasama Inari Monzen-dōri area, Kasama Station area, Yakimono-dōri, Tomobe Inter area and other locations around Kasama
Website: http://hinatouen.exblog.jp/
Public Transport: Take the free Kasama Loop Bus (does not run on Mondays) from JR Tomobe Station, or 10 minutes’ walk from JR Kasama Station

Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa Family Memorial Room Hina and Doll Exhibition

When: February 14 – March 15
Where: Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa-ke Kinen Shitsu, Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History, Mito (2-1-15 Midori-cho, Mito, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.rekishikan-ibk.jp/
Public Transport: Take the bus going to Sakuragawa Nishi Danchi from Mito Station Bus Stop 4 and get off at Rekishikan Kairakuen Iriguchi

Mito Plum Festival Hinanagashi

When: 11am, March 1, and 10am, March 7
Where: Kairakuen Park, Mito
Website: http://www.mitokoumon.com/
Public Transport: 15 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station

Meiji – Showa Retrospective Hina Doll Exhibition

When: 9am – 4pm, February 1 – March 10th
Where: Ibaraki Gokoku Shrine, Mito (1-2-1 Migawa-cho, Mito, Ibaraki)
Public Transport:
-Take the Sakurayama Route Bus from Mito Station North Exit Bus Stop 4 and get off at Sakurayama
-Take the bus from Mito Station North Exit Bus Stop 6 and get off at Lake Senba

Chikusei Hinamatsuri

When: February 7 – March 8
Where: Shopping area north and south of Shimodate Station and the Alterio, Chikusei (372 Hei, Chikusei, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.chikuseikanko.jp/index.php?code=279
Public Transport (Alterio): 10 minutes’ walk from JR Shimodate Station

Yūki Hinamatsuri

When: February 14 – March 7
Where: North Yūki
Transport: 5-10 minutes’ walk from JR Yuki Station

Special Events

Yui no Oto
When: March 7 10am – 4pm, 6-9pm
Where: Kyū-Kurokawa Rice Shop, Tsumugi no Yakata Museum, Yūki Kurabikan, Café La Famille, Oryoriya kokyu
Website: http://yuiproject.jimdo.com/
A number of artists will be performing at locations near JR Yūki Station. There will also be an area with food and craft stalls. Entry to the stalls and to Yūki Kurabikan is free, however tickets are required for the other locations.

Ohina-sama in the Sakano Family Residence

When: 9am – 4pm, February 1 – March 5 (closed Mondays)
Where: Sakano Family Residence, Mitsukaido Museum, Joso

The World of Hina Dolls

When: 9am – 4:30pm, February 7 – March 8
Where: Furusato Museum, Shimotsuma (2037 Onogomachi, Joso, Ibaraki)
Website: http://www.city.shimotsuma.lg.jp/page/page000318.html
Public Transport: 15 minutes by taxi from Mitsukaido Station
Special Events
On March 1st there will be free powdered green tea and violin, flute, and piano performances

Ishioka Hinameguri

When: February 14 – March 3
Where: Ishioka Central Shopping District, Ishioka
Public Transport: 5-10 minutes’ walk from JR Ishioka Station

Tsuchiura Hinamatsuri

When: February 14 – March 3
Where: Various locations around the Tsuchiura Machikado Warehouses (Daitoku, Nomura, etc.)
Website: http://www.tsuchiura-kankou.jp/tanoshimu/hinamatsuri/index.html
Public Transport: 10 minutes’ walk from JR Tsuchiura Station

Toride Hinamatsuri

When: February 11 – March 3
Where: Various locations around Toride
Website: http://www.toride-kankou.net/news/2015/0106/4089.html

Edosaki Hinamatsuri

When: February 11 – March 3
Where: Edosaki Syoyukan and the Edosaki Shopping District, Ina
Website: http://syoyukan.com/

Tonemachi Hina Displays

When: 9:30am – 3:30pm, February 21 – March 3
Where: Yanagida Kunio Kinen Koen, Tone (1787-1 Fukawa, Tone-machi, Kitasoma-gun, Ibaraki)