Ryujin Suspension Bridge (Hitachiota City)
This 100m high dragon-inspired suspension bridge towers dramatically over the mountainous landscape of northern Ibaraki. The bridge offers panoramic views of the area including the wild cherry blossoms which dot the mountainsides during the Spring and the dramatic Autumn foliage. And that's not all - the bridge is also home to Japan's highest bungy jump.
If thrills aren't your thing, there are also plenty of hiking trails and soba restaurants in the area.
Hitachi Cherry Blossom Festival & UNESCO Cultural Heritage (Hitachi City)
From early to mid-April, around 14,000 cherry trees fill the city of Hitachi with pink blossoms. The cherry trees on Heiwa Street and in Juo Panorama Park are also lit up at night in a special illumination event.
On the first weekend in April, a spectacular parade of traditional festival floats takes place on Heiwa Street. These 15m high floats are used as stages for puppet show performances and are recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Mito Plum Blossom Festival
Plum blossoms mark the arrival of Spring in Japan. Kairakuen Park is home to around 3000 plum trees of 100 different species which flower from late February to March, filling the park with a delicate floral fragrance. Kairakuen also features various attractions which can be enjoyed throughout the year, such as Kobuntei villa and a lush bamboo forest. Tokiwa Shrine is situated near the main entrance to the park.For more information
Himatsuri Pottery Festival
This annual pottery festival takes place between April 29th and May 5th each year and attracts more than 550,000 visitors. During the festival, more than 200 artists, craftspeople and galleries come together to showcase and sell their works.
The festival takes place outdoors to make the best of Japan’s beautiful Spring weather, and there are also plenty of food stalls, coffee shops and musical performances to keep you occupied as you browse the huge range of unique, handmade pottery and ceramics on offer.For more information
Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition (Tsuchiura City)
The Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition take place on the first Saturday in October every year and attracts around 700,000 people! More than 20,000 festival are launched during the show so it's hard to choose a best bit but the 'star mine' fireworks at 7:00pm are one of the highlights of the show!For more information
Ishioka no Matsuri Festival (Ishioka City)
Ishioka no Matsuri Festival is one of the Kanto region's three greatest festivals. The highlight of the festival is the parade which features traditional 'shishi' lion dances, festival floats and mikoshi portable shrines. This festival is also a great chance to experience a sumo wrestling match - during the festival, special sumo events take place at Hitachinokuni Soshagu Shrine.
There's loads to see at the festival, but don't forget to make time to sample some of the many street foods available! As one of Kanto's biggest festivals, Ishioka no Matsuri is one of the best places to sample the highlights of Japanese street food and the latest food trends.
Makabe Hina Doll Festival (Sakuragawa City)
People traditionally crafted elaborate displays of 'hina' dolls to celebrate Girl's Day in early March. In the historic town of Makabe, local people decided to open their displays to the public to encourage people to visit the town even during the cold Winter months. Many of the dolls have been passed down through families since the Edo Period, offering a unique glimpse into life in Japan more than a century ago. Other displays feature contemporary designs or unique stone dolls.
This festival is a great time to visit the picturesque, historic town of Makabe and experience of the passion of the local people keeping this tradition alive.
Itako Iris Festival (Itako City)
Itako City is a waterfront city surrounded by the ocean on one side and rivers and lakes on the other. The city is most famous for its Iris Festival in which nearly one million iris plants fill the city with innumerable shades of purple. During the festival in late May and June, visitors can also see a traditional ceremony in which a bride in a stunning white wedding kimono travels by boat to join her new husband's family as well enjoy leisurely row boat cruises on the city's many canals.
Mito Komon Festival & Fireworks (Mito City)
Mito Komon Festival and Lake Senba Fireworks display are the highlight of the summer calendar in Mito and a quintessential Japanese Summer experience. During the festival, the whole city goes into carnival mode and portable shrines, festival floats and community groups parade through the streets of Mito.
Meanwhile, the Lake Senba Fireworks display features more than 4000 fireworks - a show not to be missed!
Shimodate Gion Festival
Portable shrines (mikoshi) parade down the streets at the Shimodate Gion Festival, which has a history of over 120 years. The most popular portable shrine is the Heisei Mikoshi, which is Japan’s heaviest. Feel the excitement as you watch the men carry their o-mikoshi, and the women carry their onago-mikoshi. On the last day, the people carry the mikoshi into the Gongyo River to rinse them off, another event which is well worth seeing.