28th Annual Ryujin Gorge Carp Streamer Festival

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

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

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

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

 

Spring Canoeing in Ryujin Dam

When: March 18 – November 30
Where: Ryujin Dam – Inquire at Soba House Ruchin (2153-39 Shimotakakuracho, Hitachiota)
Website

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Head to Ryujin Dam and enjoy canoeing through the beautiful Ryujin Gorge. Since the canoeing takes place in a dam you don’t need to worry about the current, and there are instructors to show you the ropes, so it is a great location for beginners.

There is a campsite nearby for those looking for a weekend away, and if you’re keen you can also try Japan’s highest bungy jump from Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge!

Courses

Half Day (90 minutes) 9:30~
Adult (junior high and above) 5000 yen, Elementary School Student 4000 yen

Beginner Course (30 minutes) 12:30~
Adult (junior high and above) 2500 yen, Elementary School Student 1500 yen

Regular Course (60 mins) 14:00~
Adult (junior high and above) 4200 yen, Elementary School Student 3200 yen

*Prices are subject to change
*Prices include sales tax and a 500 yen insurance fee
*Children taller than 130cm or in grade 4 or above of elementary school may have their own canoe. Children aged 4 to grade 3 of elementary school may share a canoe with a parent (they will still pay the same amount).
*Canoeing will be cancelled if the weather is deemed dangerous
*We may allow your pet into the canoe with you – please inquire using the other (その他) box in the registration form

What to Bring
Clothes and shoes that can get wet
Drink bottle
Towel
Change of clothing
Optional:
Sunglasses
Sunscreen
Long-sleeved shirt
Motion sickness medicine (for those who suffer from motion sickness)
Waterproof camera
Pocket tissues

Recommended Clothing
Quick dry or water-resistant clothing (t-shirt, bathing suit, three quarter length pants, etc.)
Inner: Long-sleeved shirt and pants
Outer: Rainwear, windbreaker, jersey, fleece

Register Here (deadline: 3pm the day before you wish to canoe. For later inquiries call 070-1271-0722)
*Japanese only

Inquiries: Storm Field Guide
TEL: 090-6505-2544
Address: 1151 Noguchi, Hitachiota
Website
*Japanese only

27th Ryujin Gorge Autumn Foliage Festival (Breathtaking Autumn Foliage & Fresh Soba Fair)

When:    November 1st (Sunday) ~ November 30th (Monday)
Time:      8:30am ~ 5:00pm
Where:   Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge, Hitachiota
————2133-6 Keganocho, Hitachiota, Ibaraki 313-0351
               竜神大吊橋、常陸太田
————〒313-0351 茨城県常陸太田市天下野町2133-6

27th Ryujin Gorge Autumn Foliage Festival

Admission Fee:
——————Individuals           Group of 30+
Adults:             310 yen                  280 yen
Children:         210 yen                  190 yen
Free admission on November 13th!

Food
Soba, udon, konjac, locally grown vegetables, and grilled salted fish.
Hitachiota is known as the birthplace of Hitachi Aki Soba (Japan’s best buckwheat).  You can enjoy fresh Hitachi Aki Soba at local stores. (However, available date of Hitachi Aki Soba varies by stores.)

Would you like to make soba using fresh Hitachi Aki Soba?
First-timers are welcome!
Date:       November 14th (Saturday)
Time:      10:00am ~ 3:00pm (Registration begins at 9:00am)
Where:    Soba House Rutin (そばハウス龍亭) (TEL: 0294-87-0333)
Price:      1,500 yen per person

Autumn Foliage Festival Stamp Rally
During the Autumn Foliage Festival, Suifu District will have 3 stamps from 3 different checkpoints.  Collect them and 20 applicants chosen at random will win a prize worth 3000 yen!

Mini Live Concert by Isoyama Jun
Date:       November 28th (Saturday)
Time:      11:00am~, 1:30pm~
Where:    Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge #1 Parking Lot

Autumn Festivals in Hitachiota

27th Annual Satomi Scarecrow Festival

When: October 25th – November 29th
Where: Satomi Fureaikan Event Square, Hitachiota

Scarecrows are symbolic of agriculture, the guardians who watch over people’s fields. Appreciate the variety of entries made for the Scarecrow Contest that will be on display for a month in Hitachiota.

26th Annual Ryujin Gorge Autumn Leaves Festival

When: November 1-30, 8:30am – 5pm
Where: Ryujin Suspension Bridge, Hitachiota

Admire the colourful changing leaves of Ryujin Gorge during the Autumn Leaves festival throughout November. There are a number of fun events you can check out during the festival.

Hitachi Aki Soba New Soba Fair

Hitachiota is said to be the home of Japan’s most delicious soba, Hitachi Aki Soba! Autumn is the season for freshly made soba, so look for the green flags that mark shops as sellers of Hitachi Aki Soba and try some, you won’t regret it!

Soba-making Workshop

This workshop welcomes people of all skill levels to try their hand at making soba noodles with Hitachi Aki Soba flour.

When: November 23 (Sunday) 10am – 3pm (registration begins at 9am, the workshop takes an hour)
Where:  Tacchan no Yu http://tacchannoyu.ryujinkyo.jp/access.html
Cost: 1500 yen per person

Autumn Leaves Festival Photo Contest

Theme: Ryujin Gorge in Autumn

Rules:
1. The photo must be taken by the contestant, and it must not have been published elsewhere
2. The photo must be printed on quarto photographic printing paper (wide version is okay, ink jet printer paper is not accepted) and unaltered. On the back of the photo, write the title of the work, where it was taken, your address, name, age, gender, post code, phone number, and the type of camera you used.
3. There is no limit on the number of works you can submit. The works you submit will not be returned to you.
4. The publishing rights and the right to use the winning photos will be reserved by the Hitachiota Tourism and Local Products Association, and winners will be required to submit their film and data.
5. The winning photos will be displayed at Tacchan no Yu.
Deadline: December 8, 2014 (works with a postmark from this day will be accepted)

Send photos to:
〒313-0292  茨城県常陸太田市町田町163-1
(一社)常陸太田市観光物産協会水府支所(常陸太田市役所水府支所内)

Prizes:
Special Prize: 1 (30,000 yen)
Regular Prize: 2 (10,000 yen)
Honourable Mention: 3 (5000 yen)

All winners will receive coupons for Tacchan no Yu.

Autumn Leaves Festival Stamp Rally

Collect three stamps from three different check points on the provided slip of paper and submit it to go into the draw to win 3000 yen worth of local specialty products! 20 people can win!

Hitachiota Taiko Federation 8th Annual Ota Taiko Fest!

When: November 2, 1pm

Local Product Market

Enjoy local specialties of Hitachiota such as soba, udon, konnyaku, and vegetables, and savour autumn flavours such as salted ayu.

*On Ibaraki Prefecural Residents Day (November 13) crossing Ryujin Suspension Bridge is free (even if you’re from outside Ibaraki!)

Hitachiota Consolidation 10th Anniversary Hitachi Aki Soba Festival Satoyama Fair

When: November 8-9, 10am-3pm
Where: Yamabuki Exercise Park, Hitachiota

20141101 Hitachiota Festival 3

Enjoy Hitachiota’s famous Hitachi Aki Soba fresh along with a variety of other local products at the Satoyama Fair. Shuttle buses will take you from Hitachiota Station to the venue.

Autumn Leaves in Ibaraki

Autumn, the season of changing leaves, is finally upon us. Blessed with a diverse natural environment, there are many places in Ibaraki that you can visit to appreciate the colourful leaves of autumn.

Fukuroda Falls (Daigo)

One of the three great waterfalls in Japan, Fukuroda Falls is sometimes known as ‘Yodo no Taki’, a play on words that can be translated as either the four-tiered waterfall, referencing the four levels of the falls, or the four-time waterfall, as it is said that in order to appreciate their beauty, you must visit them in every season. There is parking on site as well as a store and vending machines. There are also a number of beautiful hiking trails in the area.

Trees: Maple, sawtooth oak
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Recommended spots: The waterfall viewing tunnel, viewing platforms 1 & 2
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Fukuroda 3-19
Access: 10 minutes by bus from JR Fukuroda Station. Get off at Takimoto, it is ten minutes’ walk from there. If travelling by car, it is roughly 50 minutes from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Mt. Yamizo (Daigo)

The highest peak in Ibaraki, Mt. Yamizo stands 1,022m tall and offers spectacular views of Tochigi and Fukushima Prefectures. At the summit you will find Yamizomine Shrine, Nichirinji Temple, and a virgin forest containing a variety of beech trees. Around the eighth station, you will find a group of springs from the Yamizo River.

Trees: Beech, Erman’s birch, Japanese oak, maple
Best time to visit: Late October – Early November
Recommended spots: Mt. Yamizo Viewing Platform
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Kaminomiya
Access: 50 minutes by bus from JR Hitachi-Daigo Station. Get off at Jakechi – it will take around 2.5 hours to reach the summit from there. By car, it is a 1 hour 50 minute drive from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Eigenji Temple (Daigo)

Eigenji Temple is nicknamed the Maple Temple. As the name would suggest, the Japanese maple trees around the temple create a fantastic view as they turn brilliant shades of red when autumn arrives. Eigenji Temple is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of music, and its elevated location provides a splendid view of Daigo, allowing you to see all the autumn leaves in the town.

Trees: Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Daigo 1571
Access: 10 minutes’ walk from JR Hitachi-Daigo Station

Mt. Nantai (Daigo)

Mt. Nantai is located in the south east of Daigo, and stands 654m tall. The northern and eastern slopes are quite gentle, while the western and southern sides are steep cliffs. Mt. Nantai has been a sacred places since ancient times, and is shrouded in a mysterious atmosphere. There are many hiking courses in the area that provide splendid views.

Trees: Maple, Japanese lacquer, Japanese oak
Best time to visit: Early to mid Novemeber
Recommended spots: Tsutsujigaoka Viewing Platform
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kuji-gun Daigo-machi Saigane
Access: 60 minutes’ walk from JR Saigane Station. 50 minutes’ drive from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Okukuji Valley (Daigo)

With the beautiful Okukuji River that flows through it offering splendid views along Route 118, Okukuji Valley is ideal for a leisurely drive. Mt. Yamatsuri, located in Okukuji Prefectural Natural Park among the southern-most peaks of Fukushima Prefecture offers splendid views from season to season. In particular, the changing leaves of late October to late November set the mountain ablaze with colour.

Trees: Keyaki, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Okukuji-gun Daigo-machi
Access: 40 minutes walk from JR Fukuroda Station. Roughly 50 minutes drive along Route 118 from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway.

Hanazono Gorge (Kita-Ibaraki)

Hanazono Gorge is located upstream of the Hanazono River, and is part of the Hanazono Hananuki Prefectural Natural Park. During autumn red and yellow leaves fall from the trees and float down the river, creating another splendid piece of autumn scenery. At the bottom of the gorge you will find Hanazono Shrine. There are two hiking trails; the Nanatsu Taki Hiking Trail that begins behind Hanazono Shrine, and the Eizomuro Hiking Trail, located 15 minutes’ drive from Hanazono Gorge. On a sunny day, you can see Mt. Fuji.

Trees: Maple, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Recommended spots: Shiro Waterfall
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kita-Ibaraki-shi Hanazono
Access: 30 minutes’ drive from JR Isohara Station, or 25 minutes’ drive from the Kita-Ibaraki IC on the Joban Expressway

Jorenji Gorge (Kita-Ibaraki)

Jorenji Gorge consists of the middle section of the Hanazono River, which flows on the east side of Jorenji Temple. There are many small and large rocks in the middle of the river, and many waterfalls, which results in the river flowing at a variety of speeds. There are 33 Buddha figures carved into the rock on the western cliff face on the right side of Jorenji temple which are arranged in a loop you can walk around. They are believed to be from the Edo Period. Appreciate the beauty of this area as the leaves change.

Trees: Keyaki, Yamamomiji, beech
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kita-Ibaraki-shi Hanakawa-cho Azuhata

Sarugajo Gorge (Kita-Ibaraki)

Sarugajo Gorge is located upsteam of Hanazono Gorge. It is said that the Satake clan, after being defeated in battle, survived after receiving walnuts, akebi, and sake from monkeys that gathered in the area. Sarugajo Gorge is renowned for the beauty of its numerous waterfalls, which include Hako Waterfall, Rakuun Waterfall, and Senen Waterfall (which translates to ‘the waterfall of 1000 monkeys!). Listening to the sound of flowing water while appreciating the beauty of the changing leaves is an autumn experience you shouldn’t miss.

Trees: Yamamomiji, maple, beech
Best time to visit: Early to mid November
Recommended spots: Hako Waterfall, Rakuun Waterfall, Senen Waterfall
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kita-Ibaraki-shi Sekimoto-cho Ogawa
Access: 40 minutes by car from JR Isohara Station. 35 minutes by car from the Kita-Ibaraki IC on the Joban Expressway

Hananuki Gorge (Takahagi)

There are splendid views along the Hananuki River from the Hananuki Dam to Namerigafuchi and the Kotakizawa Camping Ground. The view from the Shiomidaki Suspension Bridge that stretches across the gorge is particularly spectacular, even more so in Autumn when the trees that grow along the river and stretch over the bridge create a gorgeous tunnel of fall colours.

Trees: Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Recommended spots: Shiomidaki Suspension Bridge
Address: Ibaraki-ken Takahagi-shi Ono area
Access: 25 minutes by taxi from Takahagi Station. 20 minutes by car from the Takahagi IC on the Joban Expressway.

Ryujin Suspension Bridge (Hitachiota)

Ryujin Suspension Bridge is located in Okukuji Prefectural Natural Park, and is located 100m above Ryujin Dam, which dams the Ryujin River. It is a 375m long pedestrian bridge and offers unique panoramic views in every season. The bridge is open from 8:30am to 5pm and costs 310 yen (210 for children) to cross.

Trees: Maple, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiota-shi Kegano 2133-6
Access: 45 minute bus ride from JR Hitachota Station. Get off at Ryujin Otsuribashi; it 20 minutes’ walk from there. By car, it is 45 minutes from the Hitachiota IC on the Joban Expressway.

Seizanso (Hitachiota)

Seizanso is the retreat where the second daimyo of the Mito Domain, Mitsukuni Tokugawa, spent his twilight years, from 1691 until his passing in 1700. It is a simple, single-story house with a thatched roof. From the round window in the study, you can gaze out upon the artificial miniature hill and the pond, which is shaped like the Chinese character for heart. Here Mitsukuni Tokugawa supervised the editing of the Japanese history book known as the Dai Nihonshi.

Trees: Japanese maple, ginkgo, konara oak
Best time to visit: Mid November to early December
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiota-shi Arajuku-cho 590
Access: 5 minutes by taxi from JR Hitachiota Station. 30 minutes by car from the Hitachiminamiota Interchange

Kagoiwa (Hitachiomiya)

This cliff face on a mountain south of Mt. Nantai in Okukuji that towers over Yuzawa Gorge has been shaped by years of wind and rain to look like a basket weave, giving the area its name. The viewing platform at the summit provides a splendid view.
Trees: Japanese maple, Japanese lacquer, mountain ash
Best time to visit: Mid November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiomiya-shi
Access: 30 minutes by car from Yamagatajuku Station. 1 hour by car from the Naka IC on the Joban Expressway

Kairakuen (Mito)

One of the three great gardens of Japan, Kairakuen was built by order of Nariaki Tokugawa, 9th daimyo of the Mito Domain, in July 1842.

Trees: Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Mito-shi Tokiwa-cho 1-3-3
Access: 15 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station. 20 minutes from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway.

Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History (Mito)

The Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History has permanent exhibits covering history from ancient to modern. There is also a traditional farm house from the Edo Period and a western-style school building from the Meiji Period that have been dismantled and reconstructed in the grounds of the museum. In November, when the leaves of the gingko trees begin to change, the museum holds the Museum Gingko Festival. With most events falling on weekends and public holidays, you can enjoy traditional Japanese music, tea ceremonies, and other activities that celebrate Japan’s history and culture.

Trees: Maple, Japanese maple, ginkgo
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Mito-shi Midori-cho 2-1-15
Access: 15 minutes from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway

Gozenyama Prefectural Natural Park (Hitachiomiya)

The Gozenyama Prefectural Natural Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty. The view from the Naka River Bridge is reminiscent of Arashiyama in Kyoto, and is thus called the Arashiyama of Kanto. Autumn truly brings out the beauty of this region, as the leaves of the keyaki forest change and colour the landscape a variety of brilliant shades.

Trees: Keyaki, konara oak, evergreen oak
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Recommended spots: Fujikura Waterfall, Belltower ruins
Address: Ibaraki-ken Hitachiomiya-shi
Access: 60 minutes by bus from JR Mito Station. Roughly 25km by car in the Gozenyama direction from the Mito IC on the Joban Expressway.

Kitayama Park (Kasama)

In Kitayama Park, you can see the beauty of the seasons reflected in the lake that lies between the mountains. Take a walk through the park and be rejuvenated by its natural beauty. The park includes a viewing platform with 360 degree panoramic views, resting facilities, a camp ground, a barbeque area, and a roller slide. Spend time with your family and friends in this tranquil area.

Trees: Maple, Japanese maple
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kasama-shi Hira-cho 1416
Access: 20 minutes’ walk from JR Shishido Station. 5 minutes on Route 355 from the Tomobe IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway. 20 minutes on Route 355 from the Iwama IC on the Joban Expressway.

Mt. Sashiro (Kasama)

Mt. Sashiro is a 15 minute walk from Kasama Inari Shrine. It stands 182m above sea level, and is located in the middle of Kasama Basin. It is covered with thick forest. More than 100 varieties of plant life grow there, and it is sometimes called a natural botanical garden. The autumn leaves in the park at the foot of Mt. Sashiro are a sight to behold.

Trees: Japanese maple, ginkgo
Best time to visit: Mid to late November
Recommended spots: The bell tower
Address: Ibaraki-ken Kasama-shi Kasama 2810
Access: 5 minutes by car from JR Kasama Station. You can also take the Kasama Sightseeing bus from Tomobe Station and get off at Nichido Museum of Art. By car, it is 9 minutes from the Tomobe IC on the Kita-Kanto Expressway.

Mt. Tsukuba (Tsukuba)

Mt. Tsukuba is sometimes called Shiho (the purple mountain) due to the colour it turns when the sunrise hits it. Over 1000 species of plant grow on Mt. Tsukuba, making it a treasure trove for botanists. Its hiking trails and cable car bring many visitors all year round. From the top, you can see autumn colours across the entire Kanto Plain.

Trees: Japanese ivy, oak, yamaurushi
Best time to visit:  Early to late November
Recommended spots: Mt. Tsukuba Shrine, Mt. Tsukuba summit, Miyawaki Station in the Tsukuba cable car
Address: Ibaraki-ken Tsukuba-shi Tsukuba
Access: 40-50 minutes by direct shuttle bus from TX Tsukuba Station; get off at Tsukuba-san Jinja Iriguchi or Tsutsujigaoka. 55 minutes by bus from JR Tsuchiura Station; get off at the last stop Tsukuba-san Jinka Iriguchi. You can take another bus from there 6 minutes to Tsutsujigaoka. 40 minutes by car from the Tsuchiura-Kita IC on the Joban Expressway.

Sairenji Temple (Namegata)

Sairenji Temple is an ancient Tendai sect temple said to have been built in 782. It contains a number of cultural assets. There is a Deva gate built in 1543 that was originally two stories high. In 1790 it was rebuilt to be the main temple gate and changed into a Deva gate. The big gingko tree in the grounds is a prefecturally designated natural monument that is said to be 1000 years old. The autumn leaves are not to be missed.

Trees: Ginkgo
Best time to visit: Late November to early December
Address: Ibaraki-ken Namegata-shi Sairenji 504
Access: From the Joban Expressway, take Route 355, go straight through the traffic lights at the Route 354 intersection and turn left into Sairenji in roughly 3km.

Ryujin Suspension Bridge Koi-nobori Festival

When: April 26 – May 18
Where: Ryujin Suspension Bridge, Hitachiota

Image

Koi-nobori are carp shaped streamers associated with Children’s Day (May 5). During the festival 1000 koi-nobori will be decorate the bridge, local specialties and wild vegetables will be on display and available for purchase, and there will be a photo contest. On May 5 elementary school children and younger can cross the bridge for free.

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.