If you're a nature person, you’ll fall in love with Ibaraki, a scenic coastal prefecture northeast of Tokyo. With up to 15% of its land area dedicated to natural parks spread out across its plains, there's plenty to see and explore.
One of the highlights is Fukuroda Falls, considered one of the best waterfalls in Japan. Standing at over 120 meters tall, the view here is spectacular no matter the season, but in winter, the falls' frozen waters are an especially amazing sight to behold.
Also not to miss is the Kairakuen Garden in Ibaraki’s capital city Mito and its famous ume (plum) flower blooms in spring, the Hitachi Seaside Park and its stunning sea of seasonal flowers, and Mt. Tsukuba, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the neighboring Kanto region and Mt. Fuji.
Fancy finding enlightenment (or at least a great view) 120 meters above the ground? At the Ushiku Daibutsu (statue of Buddha), you’ll be able to take a walk inside the world's tallest bronze statue.
Tech enthusiasts will find something to love too at Tsukuba city, a leading technology and robotics hub. It was here that local company Cyberdyne created HAL, the world’s first robot exoskeleton. Visitors can book a group guided tour of the head office and check out the latest tech.
When all that activity starts to whip up an appetite, try some of the local specialties, including the melt-in-your-mouth Hitachi wagyu beef, Hitachi-aki-soba (buckwheat noodle), Anglerfish dishes, juicy melons, and if you’re feeling adventurous, natto.