10 top spots in Ibaraki prefecture

Ibaraki prefecture is one of the neighboring prefectures east of Tokyo and belongs to the Kanto area.  The prefecture borders Chiba and Saitama Prefectures in the south, Tochigi Prefecture on the west, and Fukushima Prefecture on the north. There are many nice places to visit for a one day trip from Tokyo or for longer.  Here is my personal top 10 list of great places in Ibaraki prefecture:

1. Ryujin Suspension Bridge
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The Ryujin suspension bridge at the Okukuji Prefectural Natural Park  is about 440 meters long and offers a beautiful view over the surrounding mountains and the small lake below the bridge.  The bridge is very popular for bungee jumping. With a high of 100 meter it is the lagest among the all season sites and will give you a really thrilling experience!

Address: 313-0351 Ibaraki-ken, Hitachiota, 天下野町2133−6

2. Ushiku Daibutsu
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The Ushiku Daibutsu, a representation of the Buddha Amitabha, is one of the tallest statues in the world. It is about 100 meters high and was build in 1995. Visitors can reach a viewing platform by an elevator which is 85 meters high.
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Inside the Buddha is a small exhibition about the history of Buddha, a ceremony room and a huge golden Buddha exhibition, which represents the sanctuary of the giant Buddas. Many of the golden little statues were donated.
Around the Budda is a large park with many beautiful seasonal flowers. There is also a small rabbit zoo, where kids can learn about the life of rabbits. 

 Address: 300-1288 Ibaraki-ken, Ushiku, 久野町2083

3. Fukuroda Waterfall
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The 120 meter high Fukuroda waterfall in Daigo is one of the 3 most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. There are three diffrent observation platforms in fron ot the waterfall. To get there you have to pay an entrance fee of 300 Yen. An elevator inside a long tunnel will bring you to the two higher oberservation platforms.

Especially during popular seasons  (autumn foliage, snow or cherry blossom season) you have to wait up to 30 minutes to get to the elevator. However, once you have reached the higher platform, you will have a great beautiful view of the waterfall.
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Inside the tunnel is also a small shrine and several small viewing platforms. Right next to the waterfall is a small suspension bridge from which you also have a good view of the waterfall. Also giant rocks that were formed in the river by the water streams, can be found just next to the bridge. There are some small hiking trails around the Fukuroda waterfall, which will lead you to other small waterfalls nearby.

Address: 319-3523 Ibaraki-ken, Fukuroda, Daigo, Kuji District

4.  Aquaworld Oarai
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The Aquaworld in Oarai is bout 2 hours away by car from Tokyo. The Aquarium "Aquaworld" is a large aquarium, which is especially known for its large of sharks. There main focus is on the typical animal shows with dolphins or sea lions.
The aquarium is located just next to the ocean and has unfortunately caused some damages from the big tsunami in 2011.  Howeever, the view from one of their viewing platforms is still beautiful.

Address: 311-1301 Ibaraki-ken, Higashiibaraki District, 大洗町磯浜町8252

5. Hitachi Seaside Park
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The Hitachi Seaside Park is a huge 190 hectar park featureing many kinds blooming flowers around the year.  Very popular are the baby blue-eyes flower and tulips blooming in April, sunflowers in August, the cosmos flowers and green/red summer cypress in September/October . Thousands of tourists visit the park every year only to see those. There are also s a small amusemant park for kids.

Address: 312-0012 Ibaraki-ken, Hitachinaka, Mawatari, 字大沼605−4

6. Mt. Tsukuba
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Every year many tourists climb the well-known mountain Tsukuba in the town of the same name to enjoy the view of the Kanto area . Unlike most of Japan's mountains, Tsukuba is not of volcanic origin but consists of non-volcanic rocks such as granite and gabbro. The mountain is known for its beautiful granite, which is mined here until today.
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At the foot of the mountain is the beautiful Shinto Shrine Tsukubasan, which was founded in the 7. century. Just behind the Shinto Shrine is a cable car which will bring you to the top of the mountain in just a few minuts.

Address: 300-4352 Ibaraki-ken, Tsukuba, 筑波1番地

7.  Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History - former school
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The Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History in Mito has a good collection of the history of Ibaraki. You can also explore a number of Edo period farm buildings and examples of western-style Japanese architecture from the Meiji period.

The old nearby Mitsukaido elementary school is one of the most interessting buildings at the museums area. The school dates back to 1881. Mostly samurai families sent their children there. The school includes small exhibitions about the daily school life like lunch sets the school offered in diffrent time periods. The school also has many old teaching materials, as well as old furniture.

Address: 310-0034 Ibaraki-ken, 2-1-15 Midoricho, Mito

8.  Mitoshi Okushikaizukafureai Park
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The Mitoshi Okushikaizukafureai Park (Oguki shell mound open-air park) is a small park with many small exhibition pieces. You can find an very old farm house or a huge giant 15 meter height statue in the park. Inside the statue is an exhibition about giants in Japan. You can go up to a small viewing platform of the statue. From there you will have a nice view over Mito city. There is also a small museum where you can find everything about shell mounds.
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Address: 311- 1114,1064-1 Shiogasakicho, Mito

9. Takahagi Hananuki Valley
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The Hananuki Valley west of Takahagi city is the perfect place to enjoy the autumn foilage. There is a long suspension bridge crossing the narrow gorge. Especially in autumn everything around the bridge will be colored with red leaves. There are also diffrent hiking trails around the bridge through the woods. The bridge itself is kind of scary. Even it is a small bridge and not very high it sways a lot with every step you are doing on it.

Address:  318-0104 Ibarak-ken, Nakadogawa, Takahagi-shi

10.  Oarai Beach
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The Oarai Beach is one of the biggest beaches in the Kanto area and can be easily reached from Oarai station. The water is very shallow, that makes it popular for swimming and surfing. Also most of the area is a beautiful sand beach, which is perfect for beach Volleyball or sand castles. From the nearby port it is possible to go on a cruise or rent a high-speed boat. The beach is also just next to the Aquarium "Aquaworld".
During the high season in summer around 7000 cars can park at a huge parking lot close to the beach.

Address: 311-1301 Ibaraki-ken, Higashiibaraki District, 大洗町磯浜町8252

Kerstin Yamane