Upcoming Events

Rock in Japan Festival 2013

Dates : August 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 8am to 8:30pm (will not be cancelled for rain)

Location: Hitachi Seaside Park


This is one of the biggest music festivals in Japan and attracts people from all over every year to see some of the nation’s most famous artists. Advance ticket draws are always overloaded with entries and regular tickets sell out fast, so if you want to get in on this festival you’re going to have to be quick!

Regular tickets go on sale July 13th at 10am and can be bought via:

Lawson Tickets – First Day Hotline 0570-00-5569 (only July 13th from 10am – 6pm)

From 6pm onward 0570-084-003, L-code 76435

Loppi and web reservations cannot be made until July 14th

Ticket Pia – First Day Hotline 0570-02-4420 (only July 13th from 10am – 11:30pm)

From July 14th onward 0570-02-9999, P-code 206-312

Cannot be bought online or in stores until July 14th

E-plus – http://eplus.jp/rij2013/ Cannot be bought in Family Mart stores until July 14th

Tickets are 11500yen per day, and can only be bought for each individual day (no 3-day passes)


2013 Line-Up

August 2nd:

Inoran   Okamoto’s   Kyari Pamyu Pamyu   Good Morning America    coldrain   Sakanaction    Zazen Boys   Shishido Kafka     [Champagne]    Straightener

Soil & “Pimp” Sessions   Tankobuchin    Tokumarshugo    Dr. Downer    Totalfat

Nakada Yuji    Niiyama Shiori   Negoto   Noise and Milk    Husking Bee

Hata Motohiro    back number   The Back Horn   Puffy   Bigmama     Fukurozu

Fuji Fabric    Flower Flower    The Flickers     Hey-Smith

Maximum The Hormone       Merengue    Mowmow Lulu Gyaban    Mongol800

Unison Square Garden     Last Alliance     Rip Slyme    Rottengraffty     Wasurerannee yo      One Ok Rock     DJ Booth    Charisma.com

Kawakami Yohei ([Champagne])      kz (livetune)     CTS     Sky-Hi     Nishimura Michio (Parade)      Passpo    BiS    Bunta&Kuboty (Totalfat)

Maeda Hiroaki (puke!)     Ram Rider feat. Tempura Kidz     LinQ


August 3rd:

Akai Koen     Asian Kung-Fu Generation     Applicat Spectra   androp   Ieiri Leo

Uchu Mao    Overground Acoustic Underground “5”     Kato Miliya     capsule

9mm Parabellum Bullet     Kinniku Shojo-tai      Good4Nothing      Creep Hype

Samezame     Sayonara, mata kondo ne       the chef cooks me       J

cinema staff      Shinku Hollow      Special Others       Takahashi Yu

Nothing’s Carved in Stone       Nico Touches the Walls       The Novembers

Buzz the Bears    Passe Pied      Back Drop Bomb      Hello Sleepwalkers

Bump of Chicken       Hirai Ken      Hilcrhyme      a flood of circle

Base Ball Bear     PES      Polysics      White Ash      Magokoro Brothers

Yamazaki Masayoshi       lecca       Low IQ 01 & The Rythm Makers a

DJ Booth     Hasta la Vista     Up Up Girlz     Elixia      Endo Takayuki (Freak Affair)      Kurika Maki    sasakure.UK      SALU      SHUN

DJ Yatsui Ichiro (Electric Comic)     Denpa-gumi.inc     Hayashi Hiroyuki (Polysics)

Maeda Hiroaki (puke!)


August 4th:

avengers in sci-fi     Anzen Chitai     Ando Yuko     Ohashi Trio    Okuda Tamio

Orange Range     Kana-Boon      Kinoko Hotel      Group Tamashi    Kururi

Kreva     Kobayashi Taro      Sakanamon     Sakamoto Maaya      CNBLUE

Scandal       Scott & Rivers        The Starbems     TK from Rin to shite Shigure

10-Feet    Tokyo Karan Koron      DOES     Tortoise Matsumoto     Dragon Ash

tricot   Dress Codes    NUBO   the Hiatus      The Birthday        Perfume

the band apart       Flower Companies      Predawn    plenty     My First Story

The Mirraz      Miyavi      miwa     Rihwa      luki     DJ Booth

Endo Takayuki (Freak Affair)       DJ Dienoji

DJ’Tekina//something a.k.a. Yuyoyuppe       9nine    Nakagawa Shoko

Nishimura Michio (Parade)       HachiojiP      Piere Nakano (Rin to shite Shigure)

Page      Babymetal     UL


Upcoming Events

2013 Hitachi Sand Art Festival

Date : July 14th, 2013, 10am – 8 :30pm

Location: Kawarago Beach (free shuttle bus from Hitachi-Taga Station)

The annual big beach event of the area is upon us again. Just like last year, this year’s sand festival promises larger-than-life sand art creations from various artists (last year’s highlights were Ghibli and One Piece characters), interesting events, and a breath-taking fireworks finish.


Sand Art Creation/Exhibit (begins July 5th)

Come see the skills of a pro in action as artist Toshihiko Hosaka transform 50t of sand into a work of art!

Ocean Activities

Includes small sand art classes, water gun fights, boat tours, banana boat rides, aqua ball, etc.

Sports Activities

Sand art teams, dance and music performances

Vendor Booth Cook-Off

The first 2000 people between 10am and 4pm will help decide this year’s best entrant!


Upcoming Events

June Flower Festivals

Now that summer has finally arrived the flowers are all in full bloom. Itako’s famous irises are definitely a sight to see, and the prefectural flower, the rose, is visible in various different colors. Come enjoy the season!

21st Annual Moriya Iris Festival

Dates: June 3rd – 17th, 2013

Location: Shiki-no-sato Park (catch the Mokobus)

Ushiku Iris Garden

Dates: June 1st – 30th

Location: Ushiku Iris Garden

2013 Rose Festival

Dates: May 25th – June 23rd

Location: Ishioka Flower Park


62nd Annual Suigou Itako Iris Festival

Dates: May 18th – June 23rd

Location: Maekawa Iris Garden

Events: Bridal boats on Wed/Sat/Sun every week, dance performances on Sat/Sun, music performances on Sun, night-time light-up every night


One Day in Ibaraki

Northern Dragons

Hidden in the hills of Hitachiota is a massive sleeping dragon and its many earth-bound children. Famous as one of the longest suspension bridges in Japan, the Ryujin Gorge Suspension Bridge offers a local cultural highlight and breathtaking views of the region from atop its 375 meter span, and is definitely worth the trip for its seasonal events. Ryujin mural

The Ryujin (dragon-god) Gorge gets its name from the legends written about a dragon living within it, but as an interesting counterpoint the river dividing it is so twisted and undulating that it appears from the air as a giant coiled dragon itself. From these two intersecting threads came the dragon theme that was used to design and advertise the giant suspension bridge that has become the area’s largest attraction.

Originally built in 1994 as a tourist destination, the bridge itself features two tall stylized supports in a vivid blue, whose shape and aspect resemble the angular, spiky body of a reptilian creature. From afar the twin peaks of the structure could also be seen as the hips and shoulders of an elongated dragon stretched across the gap between the hills.

Ryujin suspension bridgeThough the bridge is capable of handling the weight of a car in an emergency situation, it is solely for pedestrian use and can accommodate up to 3500 people at one time. The main attraction, however, is the view of the green hills fading into the distance and the intricately woven river below. From the main entrance one can cross over to reach hiking trails leading either down into the gorge below or off to the other side of the hills, making for a full day excursion for the outdoor type.

There are also many decorative murals and statues featuring dragons, as well as food and drink amenities at the entrance end. Delicious raspberry ice cream or salted roast fish are some of the highlights available for those who want to eat outside. The opposite end of the bridge also features a small gazebo with a carillon inside; if you pay 100 yen you can choose whether to hear the ‘bell of hope’ or ‘bell of dreams’ theme, and receive a small commemorative picture card. For romantics there is the option to elect for the ‘bell of love’, but for this to work both of you have to press the button at the same time on opposite ends of the bridge!

Like most tourist destinations in Japan this bridge has an event for each season to give even more incentive to visit. Late April and May feature the koi nobori festival, a Japanese tradition where carp-shaped streamers are hung to celebrate the male children in a household. The Ryujin bridge takes this concept to new heights (literally!) by stringing two long cables of these streamers along both sides, framing the bridge with the colorful flapping fish. Originally these cables were set up by having two people climb down opposite sides of the gorge and tie their ropes in the middle, then pulling the cables across; more recently they pass the cables outside the support struts of the bridge to make it less arduous. This tradition has been celebrated here long before the bridge was even built; in fact, the cables were originally strung across to announce the bridge’s proposed construction, and someone has the idea of adding the carp-streamers, leading to the custom we see today.

Summer brings a different set of thrills, with hundreds of candle lanterns adorning the bridge and the sound of wind chimes filling the air during the third week of August, while autumn is renowned for the gorgeous fall colors of the leaves on the hills surrounding the bridge. Winter features the Suifu Soba Festival, a chance to enjoy the freshly harvested local delicacy, and once or twice a year one can see the bridge covered in delicate snow or frost.

Ryujin suspension bridgeThe approach to the bridge is dotted with little soba shops and parking lots, and children will love the plexiglass viewing windows in the floor of the bridge that allow you to see straight down the 100 meter drop to the river below. Public transportation is not quite as convenient as one could wish for, but there are buses roughly once an hour from Hitachiota Station on the Suigun Line and it is a relatively easy twenty minute walk up the hill from the Ryujin Suspension Bridge stop. The site is closed during heavy winds or thunderstorms, but is otherwise open all year round, so there is always a good time to visit Ibaraki’s northern dragons.

Upcoming Events

32nd Annual Kasama Himatsuri

Dates: Monday, April 29th – Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Location: Kasama Park Geijutsu no Mori Event Square (2345 Kasama City)

Price: Free admission into the park!

Kasama Himatsuri, one of the biggest events in Ibaraki Prefecture, is held every year from April 29th until May 5th. Over 200 ceramists, potters, and booths selling local goods and food will come together on the vast and lush green “Kasama Park Geijutsu no Mori Event Square”. Visitors will be welcomed by shops and works rich with individuality. This is definitely a festival full of types of pottery and art you can’t see anywhere else!

*For more information and a video about Kasama Himatsuri, visit www.himatsuri.net (Japanese only)


Upcoming Events

12th Annual “We Love Ibaraki” Fureai Matsuri

Date: Saturday, April 6th, 2013 10:00am – 4:30pm

*Changed to April 7th if rain

Location: San-no-maru Government Building, Special Venue (Mito City)


Unable to be held due to the March 11th earthquake of 2011, this annual festival is finally making a return to Mito after 3 years! Come enjoy the beautiful San-no-maru Government Building, rehabilitated to its pre-earthquake glory, as well as local food specialties, a bazaar, experience corner, fureai corner, and more, all surrounded by beautiful spring cherry blossoms!



  • Fureai Walking (now accepting pre-event applications!)

A guided walk around San-no-maru that includes some of Mito’s historical sites and local shopping areas that can’t be missed!


  • Fureai Stamp Rally

Collect all the stamps around the festival area and you could receive a great prize!


  • Exciting Experience Events

Learn how to make things out of milk cartons, play old-fashioned games, and more!


Stage Events

Opening Ceremony

San-no-maru Elementary School Brass Band

Mito Kogyo High School Jazz Band, “BLUE BEGINNERS”

Oarai High School Marching Band, “BLUE-HAWKS”

And Many Other Various Local Idols!!


Upcoming Events

Koga Peach Festival

Enjoy each type of peach blossom!

Location: Koga Sogo Park

Dates: Wednesday, March 20th – Sunday, April 7th

With a total of 5 different types of peach trees (yaguchi, genpei, kikumomo, juseito, and kanpaku) boastfully blooming flowers, you will certainly believe you have found a wonderful utopia. Although yaguchi peach trees make up of a large portion of the park, each type can be thoroughly enjoyed in different parts of the park (genpei in the northwest, kikumomo and kanpaku in the north, and juseito in the east).

Types of peach trees and their characteristics:

Yaguchi: Pink colored flowers, bloom mid March to early April

Genpei: Rouge, white, or pink flowers (depending on variety), bloom early to mid April

Kikumomo: Red and pink flowers that cluster

Kanpaku: White flowers

koga peachFor more info about Koga, please see our website^^

Upcoming Events

Ishioka Festival

Date: September 15-17, 2012

Location: City Center in front of JR Joban Line Ishioka Station, and Hitachinokuni Soujya Shrine.

The Ishioka Festival, one of the Three Great Kanto Festivals, is held every year at Hitachinokuni Soujya Shrine. From giant formal portable Shinto shrines, to luxuriously ornate floats and brave lion dancers pulling over 40 “lion carts” through the middle of town, this 3 day festival brings in over 400,000 visitors every year from all over Japan!

For more details and pics you can also check out my coverage of the festival from last year^^


September 15th (Saturday)  

Main Festival・Shinkou Festival  8:30~ Rope Festival (Hitachonokuni          Soujya Shrine)

14:00~ Giant Portable Shinto Shrines (Hitachinokuni Soujya Shrine)


September 16th (Sunday)

Houshuku (Celebration) Festival   11:00~ Dedication Sumo (Hitachinokuni Soujya Shrine)

13:00~ Myoujin Portable Shrines, Sacred music (Hitachinokuni Soujya Shrine)

15:00~ Lion Cart Dance Parade (Street in front of the station)

19:00~ Float Parade (Street in front of the station)


September 17th (Monday)

Kankou Festival                    14:00~ Portable Shinto Shrines (Street in front of the station)

Upcoming Events

Water crossings and water demons

Shimodate Gion Matsuri

Spanning 4 days and centered around Haguro Shrine in Omachi, this is one of Ibaraki Prefecture’s biggest festivals.

During the festival the Meiji Mikoshi, a large portable shrine built to celebrate Japan’s victory in the Sino-Japanese War in the 28th year of the Meiji era, the Hime Mikoshi, the portable shrine of Haguro Shrine’s resident deity Tamayori Hime, the Heisei Mikoshi, built in the 4th year of the Heisei era and currently Japan’s biggest portable shrine, and around 30 children’s portable shrines will be carried throughout the city streets.

Early in the morning of the last day of the festival the shrines will be carried through the Gogyo River that runs through town, in order to purify the shrines of the impurities they have picked up during the festival, in what is called the ‘River Crossing’.


7/26    6 to 10pm   Shimodate Station North Exit Station-front Avenue

7/27    6 to 10pm   Shimodate Station North Exit Station-front Avenue

7/28    6 to 10pm   Shimodate Station North Exit Station-front Avenue

7/29    6 to 9am    Kanai-cho Gogyo River banks


Chikusei City Hall or the parkade in front of Shimodate Station

*There are a limited number of spaces so please use public transportation if possible

*Due to traffic restrictions in order to create car-free zones during the festival the roads will be very crowded. Please check the times and locations of the blocked routes in advance.


Chikusei Tourism Association (within the Tourism Division)

Tel. 0296-20-1160


31st Annual Ushiku Kappa Matsuri

Dates : July 28th and 29th

*There will be no vehicles allowed in the area from 3 to 9 :30pm

Locations: Hanamizuki Avenue (parade, portable shrines, dancing, etc)/Ushiku City Hall & nearby park (stage performances)/Ushiku Central Adult Education Center Cultural Hall (live music performances and rock show)

Come enjoy a weekend of fun in Ushiku based around the legendary ‘kappa’ (water demon). There will be dancing in the streets, a long parade, portable shrines in the evenings, rock music live shows, and performances by local groups (soccer, karaoke, and more). Not to mention the food! There will be a free shuttle bus from Hitachi-no-Ushiku Station’s East Exit directly to Ushiku City Hall running every 20 minutes from 2 to 10pm on both days. On a side note, some of the energy used to power the festival will be provided by a local wind-based power plant in order to help save the environment.