Fukuroda Falls (Daigo Town)
At a staggering 120m in height and 70m wide, it's easy to see why Fukuroda Falls is one of Ibaraki's most popular destinations. There are several levels of observation platform to allow visitors to feel the power of the falls up-close as well as a bridge over the river at the base of the falls.
The falls are particularly stunning during the Autumn when the surrounding mountains are transformed by fiery Autumn colours, although the dramatic icy spectacle of the frozen falls during the Winter months gives Autumn a run for its money!
There are also plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops in the town around the falls as well as hiking trails and hot springs in the wider Fukuroda area, making it the perfect destination for a daytrip from the city. Don't forget to sample some of the area's famous apple pie, baked using locally grown apples.
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 Seaside Park (Hitachinaka City)
Hitachi Seaside Park is Ibaraki's most famous tourist destination and definitely one for the bucket list!. This 200 hectare park features seven different areas to explore including flower gardens and areas for activities such as cycling and barbecues. The park offers plenty to do all year round but the sea of blue nemophila flowers in the spring and fiery red kochia bushes in the Autumn are not to be missed!For more information
Kairakuen Garden (Mito City)
Kairakuen Garden is counted as one of Japan's Three Great Gardens and is particularly famous for its plum blossom festival which takes places from mid-February to early March each year. The garden was first established in 1842 by Tokugawa Nariaki, the 9th lord of the Mito Domain, as a place for local people to relax and enjoy themselves, a role which it retains to this day.
As well as the famous plum blossoms, attractions in Kairakuen Garden include Kobutei Villa, a lush bamboo forest and a natural spring.
Mount Tsukuba (Tsukuba City)
At 877m tall, the distinctive twin peaks of Mount Tsukuba are one of the symbols of Ibaraki. Mount Tsukuba is accessible in less than 2 hours from Tokyo, the mountain is the perfect place to escape the city and get outdoors. There are variety of hiking trails to choose from, with plenty of options for beginners. If hiking isn't for you, there is also the option to take a cable car or rope way to the summit.
Mount Tsukuba Shrine is located on the lower slopes of the mountain and is the perfect stop-off on a trip to Mount Tsukuba.
Ushiku Daibutsu Buddha Statue (Ushiku City)
At 120m tall, this giant statue of Buddha holds the Guinness World Record for the world's tallest standing bronze statue. After viewing the imposing statue from outside, visitors can take the lift to the 85m high observation area for stunning views of the Ibaraki countryside and beyond. The area is particularly beautiful during the Spring when countless cherry blossoms fill the area around the base of the statue.For more information
Kashima Jingu Grand Shrine (Kashima City)
Kashima Jingu Grand Shrine is the oldest and biggest Shinto Shrine in the Kanto region. Pilgrims including the imperial family have visited this shrine since ancient times.
After entering through the imposing red shrine gate, explore the shrine buildings, then take a walk through the leafy grounds to see the deer enclosure and crystal blue waters of Mitarashi Pond.
More than 80 annual festivals and events take place at the shrine including the famous Ofune Matsuri or 'Ship Festival', which is held just once every 12 years.
Kasumigaura City and other municipalities on the lake
Japan’s second largest lake, Kasumigaura is designated as one of Japan’s 100 most beautiful spots. It is popular for such activities as fishing, sailing, and riding water motorcycles, and you can cycle along the shores of the lake as well. Sightseers can also enjoy boarding excursion boats to see traditional sailing vessels called hobikisen plying the waters of the lake.
Oarai Isosaki Shrine (Oarai Town)
This shrine was established in the year 856 when two gods, the god of national prosperity and the god of medicine, are said to have down to earth in the sea off the Oarai Coast in the spot now marked by Kamiiso Torii Shrine Gate. As well as pilgrims praying for good fortune and health, the shrine attracts fans of the anime 'Girls und Panzer' which is set in the town of Oarai, and photographers keen to capture the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and 'floating' shrine gate.For more information