History & Culture

History & Culture

Ibaraki has always been blessed with an abundance of nature’s gifts, and products from the sea and mountains have supplied enough food for the local people since olden times. Ibaraki is also highly developed, economically, politically, and culturally. You can therefore enjoy historic things as well as modern ones.
           

Rokkakudo (Kitaibaraki City)

Built in 1905, Rokkakudo is a unique hexagonal structure located on the dramatic Izura coastline in northern Ibaraki. It was designed by the famous modern artist and teacher, Tenshin Okakura. The contrast between the deep red of Rokkakudo and the white-crested waves of the Pacific Ocean make for a stunning view. Tenshin’s former residence is also located nearby.

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Nishiyama-Goten Heritage (Tokugawa Museum Annex)

Seizanso is another name for this simple villa where Mitsukuni Tokugawa (Mito Komon), the second lord of feudal Mito, spent his retirement. While here, he supervised the compilation of the Great History of Japan. The villa’s Japanese garden is calm and beautiful, with plum blossoms in spring, fresh green leaves in summer, colorful leaves in fall, and tranquil scenes in winter.

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Kairakuen Garden

Located in the center of Mito, Kairakuen Garden is one of the three most famous gardens in Japan. The garden features a flat hill from which you can get a panoramic view of Lake Senba and its surroundings, and local people often come here to relax. The garden is landscaped according to the principles of yin and yang, and you can enjoy walking through the bamboo forest, as well as the beautiful gardens of seasonal flowers.

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Kodokan – Mito Domain Warrior School

Kodokan was established in 1841 as a school for feudal warriors, the largest school of its kind at the time. It is designated as a Japan Heritage site. The imposing main gate remains intact to this day, and is designated as an Important Cultural Property. From February to March, nearly 800 plum trees of 60 different varieties bloom in the grounds of the Kodokan.

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Kasama Inari Shrine

One of Japan’s three most popular Inari shrines, Kasama Inari Shrine features a main hall with beautiful carvings that has been designated as an Important Cultural Property. Wisteria flowers on a 400-year-old tree bloom in early May, and the shrine is also known for its chrysanthemum festival in autumn. Some visitors pray for prosperity in agriculture, commerce, and the manufacturing and fishing industries, while others pray for a safe birth or successful match-making.

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The Kashima Jingu Grand Shrine

Kashima Jingu Grand Shrine’s vermillion romon (a two-story torii gate) is one of the three greatest Japanese romon gates, and is designated as an Important Cultural Property. Deities of martial arts are enshrined here, and visitors pray for a safe birth, or traffic safety and the like. The kanameishi (a “powerful” stone) and Mitarashi Pond are both well worth seeing.

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Makabe Hina-Mamatsuri (the Doll Festival)

People living in over 160 houses lining the streets display their hina dolls and welcome visitors during the Makabe Hina Doll Festival. Some of the various hina dolls are hundreds of years old, while others feature contemporary designs, and some of the dolls are made of stone. Enjoy strolling around the quaint streets of historic Makabe, and experience the warmth and love the local people feel toward their town,

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Anime Pop Culture, Girls and Punzer

Oarai Town

Girls and Punzer, a popular Japanese anime, depicts the everyday life of high school girls aiming at winning a nationwide tank competition. The story is set in the town of Oarai, and you can see the actual shopping arcade, local buses, and other facilities that appear in the anime story. For fans of the anime, the town of Oarai is the sanctuary of Girls and Punzer.