Thursday, June 28, 2018

Ibaraki Travel Guide Must Travel Ibaraki's Nature Spots + Take a Ferry to Hokkaido - Ferry Sunflower

Within a few hours from Tokyo!!!
🌳Explore Ibaraki's Nature🌳 

Ibaraki Prefecture Points of Interest 
Japanese Travel Guide

Travel Around Japan!
Ibaraki Destination Spots
Must Travel Ibaraki's Nature Spots 
+ Take a Ferry to Hokkaido 


Lovely light blue nemophila at Hitachi Seaside Park
A lot of the time when people come to Japan,
Tokyo is their main point of interest.

I mean, and why not?
The crowded trains, tall buildings with neon lights everywhere,
lots of "only in Japan" places to go to, 

the excitement of NEVER knowing what you'll see...
the list goes on!!

However, more and more are the outskirts of Tokyo,
particularly Japan's nature spots,
becoming a "must go to" when traveling to Japan.
Whether you are new to Japan or have lived here for years,
getting away from the hustle and bustle of the big city is really lovely
and gives you a chance to see there's still so much more to Japan

than their futuristic pop culture lifestyle. 

 There is a lovely province super close to Tokyo that is often forgotten about
where you can both see and experience not only Japan's beautiful nature spots but activities that relate to Japan's culture.

An hour and 30 Minutes by Car from Tokyo!!
Ibaraki, Japan
JAPANKURU recently went around Ibaraki prefecture on a day trip
and found such lovely spots!
Like mentioned above,
Ibaraki prefecture is often forgotten,
even by Japanese people,
as a place to go and explore.
There isn't much information on "places to go in Ibaraki",
let alone in English.
Thus we wanted to make an article giving people an idea
of possible places to visit.

 We might describe Ibaraki as the midwestern area of America.
Just lots of open areas, plenty of places to relax, 

and just nature and beauty all around❤
Hopefully, you'll see what we mean 
when we say you'll get to see things you never would in Tokyo.


How to get to Ibaraki from Tokyo

Ibaraki Access
Option 1

Renting a Car from Nissan Rent-a-Car
 If you're traveling to Ibaraki, 
the easiest way to do it is by renting a car from Tokyo.

Advantages of renting a car in Japan:
1. No need to worry about strict timetables, 
confusing stations, or changing trains
2. No restrictions, i.e. 
you can go places that public transportation can't
3. No need to lug around a bunch of luggage

 We went by car so the starting point of this trip to Ibaraki 
was at Nissan Rent-a-Car in Ueno.
It's about a minute walk from Yamashita Exit at JR Ueno Station.
It's right across the street from Ichiran Ramen (一蘭ラーメン),
and you'll see a blue parking lot signboard.
Just go in there and the rental store is on the fifth floor.
The easiest way of remembering is "a blue parking lot opposite Ichiranamen".

🚙Nissan Rent-a-Car Ueno (日産レンタカー上野駅前店)
1-50 Uenokoen, Taito-ku, Tokyo 
⏰Business hours: 8:00 to 10:00pm
※When using a rental car, an international license is required

Ibaraki Access 
Option 2
Limited Express Train JR Hitachi
 Another way to head to Ibaraki from Tokyo is via railway.
It takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach the capital of Ibaraki, Mito, 
by JR express trains (Hitachi and Tokiwa) from Tokyo Station.

There really isn't much of a time difference compared to driving,
 but since the one-way fare is 3,818 yen,
driving would be more economical if you have an international driver's license.

※Train information for Mito departing from Tokyo Station

Ibaraki Access
Option 3
Tsukuba Express
 The Tsukuba Express is one of Tokyo's private railways.

Asakusa and Akihabara are only 8 minutes away, 
and it's a good railway for locals and tourists alike.

If you plan on taking the Tsukuba Express,
you can ride the train to Tsukuba Station (the last stop). 

Around Tsukuba are lots of nature spots to explore.
JAPANKURU went a few years ago,
so if you would like an idea of what the area is like,

check out the link below⇩



Ibaraki Nature Travel Spots

Hitachi Seaside Park
It really is no exaggeration to say that the Hitachi Seaside Park 
is the most famous among Ibaraki sightseeing spots. 
Originally it was an airfield that reopened in 1991 as a park, 
so its wide open space with no buildings in the vicinity
is something special to other parks.

Hitachi Seaside Park has a series of flowers for you to see depending on the season. Beautiful and majestic flowers including narcissus, poppies, rape blossoms, cosmos, lavender, ice tulips and more. 

Among all of the flowers you can see there,
one of the biggest attractions is the blue nemophila that bloom 

for about a month from the end of April every year. 
Hills that are blue like the sea are also a regular representing image of Ibaraki.

国Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園) 
🏢605-4 Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki 312-0012
⏰9:30am~5pm (It depends on the season)
Closed: Closed on Tuesday if Monday is a National holiday.
12/31, 1/1, and for 4 days from the first Tuesday in February through the following Friday
💴Entrance fee: Adults (high school studens↑): 450yen, 
Elementary and junior high school students: free
From Tokyo's Shinagawa Station, take the express train on the JR Joban Line to Katsuta Station (about 85min ride). From Katsuta Station take the Ibarakikotsu Bus or taxi to Hitachi Seaside Park (about 15min ride).

Ibaraki Nature Travel Spots
Oarai Isosaki Shrine 
 The Oarai Isosaki Shrine was built in 856 
and is considered a cultural asset in Ibaraki.
Three torii gate shrines are set up inside this shrine.
Torii (鳥居), which are somewhat signboards of the shrine 

and bounds between the human world and the new world. 
In fact, these torii are more famous than the main shrine itself.

The place shown in the picture above is the "visiting path" (参道; sando) between 2nd 3rd torii. 

There's an anime, Girls und Panzer (ガールズ&パンツァー)
based on the Oarai (大洗) region in Ibaraki. 
Since this sando and shrine made an appearance in the anime
this path is one of the main attractions here.

Above we said Oarai Isosaki Shrine has three torii,
but in the picture above there are only two.
The third torii stands on a rock along the Oarai coast.

It's believed that suddenly a god appeared here and said, 
"I came to save you all", and this torii was built to commemorate that. 

This torii, the "Kamiiso-no-torii" (神磯の鳥居),
is in our opinion the most beautiful spot of the shrine
because you can see the waves splashing against the rocks and shrine.

Also since it is facing east, if timed right 
you get the most stunning view of the sunset/sunrise.

Walk down the main pathway of the shrine and cross the street. 
The beach will appear after a narrow passage between a museum and a hotel.

Oarai Isosaki Shrine (大洗磯前神社)
🏢6890 Isohama-cho, Oarai, Ibaraki
🚙Parking available
Car rental map code: 239 535 417 * 24

Ibaraki Nature Travel Spots
Tsukimachi Waterfall 
Tsukimachi Waterfall (月待の滝) is a waterfall of a valley derived 
from the Kuji River (久慈川).
It is a stunning spot in Ibaraki that is surrounded by lush greenery. 

 ⬇︎Tsukamachi Waterfall!⬇︎

You can either look at the beautiful nature from close by,
or go behind the waterfall for a closer look!

It was some of our first time going behind a waterfall
and we were so surprised at how refreshing it was
with the cool temperature and sound of the waterfall.

🌲Tsukimachi Waterfall (月待の滝)
🏢 Oazakawayama, Daikomachi, Kuji-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture
🚙Parking available
- Car rental map Code: 379 780 758 * 86
※It's said that from the middle of July to the end of August is the best time!

While You're at Tsukimachi Waterfall
Stop by for a Bite
Japanese "Nagashisomen"; Flowing Noodles
@ Momijien (もみじ苑)
If you go to Tsukimachi Waterfall, 
don't leave with on an empty stomach.
Instead, try one of Japan's fun dishes!
We're talking about nagashi somen,
serving somen noodles flowing down bamboo
and trying to catch it!
At the restaurant that is directly next to Tsukimachi Waterfall, 
"Momijien" (もみじ苑), 
you can enjoy Japan's fun way of eating noodles while overlooking the waterfall!

There are other food at the restaurant,
but nagashi somen is what you'll want to try.

⬇︎Nagashisomen (流しそうめん)⬇︎

Momijien (もみじ苑)
🏢Right next to Tsukimachi Waterfall
Google Maps
- Closed every Wednesday

Ibaraki Nature Travel Spots
Tokyo has Mt. Fuji, Ibaraki has Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山). 
It's not as big as Mt. Fuji of course, 
but 877 m (2,877 ft).

The trekking course is so beautiful
it was selected as one of the "100 Best Japanese Routes." 

Not only is it a place of Japanese nature beauty,

it's a part of a famous legend here in Japan.
It's believed that around 3,000 years ago, 
a deity came down from the heavens and 
asked mountains for a place to spend the night,
thus would end up with receiving the deity's blessing.

Mt. Fuji refused because it didn't think it needed any blessing,
but Mt. Tsukuba was said to offer the deity a place to stay.

"Which is why Mt. Fuji today is a cold mountain with no life, 
while Mt. Tsukuba is surrounded with life and beauty of the 4 seasons in Japan.

🌄Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山)
🏢Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture
- Rental Car Map Code: 123 508 576 * 20
💻Tsukuba related page (English)


Enjoying a superb spot

Things to Do in Ibaraki 
Canon Ryujin Kyo Rafting 
Ibaraki's beautiful nature is not just something to gaze at,
you can also get involved and become a part of it!
The upper stream of the "Ryujin Dam" (竜神峡) 
in the canyon called Ryujin-kyo is surrounded by mountains 
and makes you forget you're in Japan.

Here you can tour the canyon by canoe, 
SUP (stand up paddle surfing), 
and river rafting on boat tubes.
It's a really relaxing and fun way to get involved with Japanese nature.
This sort of activity you definitely won't find in Tokyo!

🌉Canon Ryujin Kyo Rafting (竜神峡 ラフティング)
🏢2153-39 Shimakura-cho, Shimoda-city, Ibaraki
- Rental Car Map Code: 379 341 768 * 15
※Open from April 27 to August 31 only.
※Since you might get wet, a change of clothes, towels, and shoes are available

💴Fare information
* Canoe (about 90 minutes)
- Adults 6,400yen, Elementary school students and under 5,400yen
* SUP (about 90 minutes)
- Adults 6,400yen, Elementary school students and under 5,400yen
* River Rafting (about 60 minutes)
9:30am, 10:30, 11:30, 1pm- Junior high school students and above: 2,000yen, Elementary school students and under: 1,000yen

Ryujin Otsuribashi
 This bridge across the canyon is called "Ryujin Otsuribashi" (竜神大吊橋).

Approximately 3.3 billion yen, this bridge has a length of 375 meters 
and a height of 100 meters from the surface of the lake. 
With about 10,000 tourists visiting each year,
you can see the stunning height and natural scenery at a glance. 

 Japan's Longest Suspension Bridge
Ryujin Bungee Jumping!
 From this craaaaaaaazy height, you can bungee for your life!

There is a place that's a part of the suspension bride called Ryujin Bungee 
and it's a bungee jumping facility that is known for being the
 highest bungee jumping platform in Japan, about 100 meters high!
Do you think you can jump from that high up!?

After you sign a few forms and run through a few things with the instructor, 
you are ready to go!

Just standing there to wait made us was to pee our pants!

⬇︎ Take on Japan's highest bungee jump! ⬇︎

🌉Ryujin Bungei (竜神バンジー)
🏢2133-6 Kenganocho, Hitachiota-shi, Ibaraki
☎Contact Phone: 0278-72-8133
- Car rental map Code: 379 341 490 * 24
⏰9am〜5pm (accepted until 4:30pm)
💴16,000 yen
- 50% when canceling the previous day, 100% when canceled on the day
- Availability:
Age between 15 and over / weight between 40 and 105kg

Nakaminato Fish Market
Introducing Ibaraki's Tsukiji!!
Here you can eat freshly caught oysters and fish from the area.

Just like Tsukiji,
the fish are caught and sold here,
and inside even prepares the fresh seafood into meals for you!
It's a really cool experience.

Especially, "Nakaminato Fish Market, 
(那珂湊おさかな市場; Nakaminato Osakana Ichiba) 
is the largest fish market in Ibaraki and 
is a sightseeing spot with about 11 restaurants. 

Rice bowls featuring a variety of seafood are local specialties, 
so you can taste fresh and inexpensive 
since they are delivered directly from the farm.

🎣Nakamunato Osaka Naichiba (那珂湊おさかな市場)
🏢19-8 Minatohoncho, Hitachinaka-shi, Ibaraki
⏰Each store is different, mostly open from 6:00 am to 18:00 pm.
- Closed on January 1 every year
🚙Parking available
- Car rental map Code: 47 026 351 * 12


From Ibaraki to Hokkaido!!
Ferry to Hokkaido 
Ferry Sunflower
 I mentioned earlier that Ibaraki Prefecture is facing the Pacific Ocean. 
It is also a place where marine logistics and transportation have developed as well as fishing.

Especially, "Oarai" is the representative port city of the area. 
If you go to Oarai Port Ferry Terminal, 
you can take a large ferry directly to Tomakomai Port in Hokkaido.

Traveling by Car
Tokyo ➡ Ibaraki ➡ Hokkaido
The size of the ferries are so large that there is no problem loading the cars. 
If you decide to arrive this way,
you can travel to Tokyo, Ibaraki, and Hokkaido on a much larger scale!

Oarai Port Ferry Terminal (大洗港フェリーターミナル)
🏢Chuo 2, Oaraimachi Port, Higashiibaraki-gun, Ibaraki
- Car rental map Code: 239 504 636 * 34 

🚌Access: From Tokyo Station to Oarai Ferry Terminal:
① From Tokyo Station's JR Bus Terminal (located at Yaesu South Exit of the station), take the express bus "Mitogo" (みと号) for Mito Station (水戸駅).
It will take you to Oarai Ferry Terminal without having to change transportation!
★ Only one bus a day:
⏰Departs Tokyo Station at 2:20pm → Arrives at Oarai Ferry Terminal at 4:45pm

To return to Tokyo:
⏰Oarai Ferry Terminal 3pm → Tokyo Station 6:28pm

💴2,280yen (children are 1/2 price)

You can purchase a ferry ticket to Hokkaido from Oarai Port Ferry Terminal.

Since you are traveling half a day, 
there are a variety of rooms on board which means
 you will have to choose the room you want and pay the fees accordingly
(the rates are different for each room).

In addition, 
accommodation facilities such as buffet restaurant, 
large bath, baby room, laundry room are available.

Therefore, we would like to recommend to those who 
plan to travel to Japan for a long time such as backpacking.

⬇︎ Watching Charges & Courses, Boats !! ⬇︎

🚢Ferry Sunflower  (フェリーさんふらわあ)
- Operator: Shosen Mitsui Ferry; 商船三井フェリー
- Passenger Terminal: Oarai Port Ferry Terminal
🏢Address: Chuo 2, Oaraimachi Port, Higashiibaraki-gun, Ibaraki
- Car rental map Code: 239 504 636 * 34
- Official website link

The charm of an unfamiliar local travel!
Ibaraki can be reached in about an hour and 30 minutes by car from Tokyo, but it is a place full of nature and activities that you can not experience in Tokyo.

Have you planned your summer trip yet?

Keep Ibaraki in mind, 
where you can get away from the noise of fine dust and the city, and heal your body and mind properly !!


🌞 More lovely articles on Japanese Ibaraki and nature ðŸŒž


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