Day Tripping in Ibaraki

There's some prefectures that it seems everyone headed to Japan wants to visit - and then there's a few that don't get as much love! In my time in Japan, it's been a bit of a personal quest to try and visit as many prefectures as I can -- I'm currently at 37 out of 47 prefectures! Slowly but surely ticking them off my list!
I had read somewhere a while back that Ibaraki is one of the least visited prefectures in all of Japan - and that honestly made me a little sad, because it's a beautiful place to visit! With a little one now in tow, most of the activities we set out to do when we take a day trip need to be kid friendly too, so we found a couple of fun spots to hit up if you're going to Ibaraki!

We're animal lovers, and our daughter loves ooohing and aaaahing over cute animals too - so when we found about the Ostrich Kingdom in Ishioka we were set. Yes, it probably sounds a little random, visiting a prefecture to check out a bunch of ostriches, but there's other animals there too, and it made for a very fun and kid friendly outing. Many of the animals were able to be hand fed and petted. It's a small place but I think that's part of why we enjoyed it so much - it's out in the countryside and quite relaxing, really - compared to some zoos/animal attractions which can feel like pandemonium!
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We also made a point to stop by the Ushiku Daibutsu, which stands at 120 metres high -- and is actually one of the top 3 tallest statues in the world, according to Wikipedia! It's one of those things where pictures can't really do it justice - you have to see it for yourself! When we went, there were beautiful flowers growing all in front of the Daibutsu, which really did make for a beautiful scene to take pictures of.
We visited both these places as just a quick day trip drive from the outskirts of Tokyo - so Ibaraki is not only accessible, but a bit untouched - and it can be wonderful hitting some spots that are a bit less known! City life is amazing, but sometimes I just crave a bit more quiet - and these two spots in Ibaraki gave me just that!
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this is japan