"Ready to be Rediscovered" Mito by Rabbityama
Mito Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 103 photos
Mito is the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. It's within easy daytrip distance from Tokyo however, in spite of that fact it often falls off the radar of most travelers, both foreign and Japanese. This is quite nice for those who do decide to come, because you can explore freely without feeling suffocated by hoards of people.
Because of the March 11 disaster, even less people are traveling here. Mito is safe from the nuclear contamination but Tokyo citizens are still nervous about earthquake aftershocks in Ibaraki and when I visited, you could see that the city was affected by the earthquake. Kairakuen Garden was damaged and although it has been repaired there are exhibits showing where it was damaged and how they worked to repair it. At the Kodokan they have not yet begun to repair the building so you can still see all the cracks in the building, torn shoji screens, fallen tiles, etc. It's quite a sobering experience. There were very few children and foreign travelers around, which could be coincidence but is more likely an indicator of people still being nervous to go north of Tokyo. The locals were quite happy to see foreigners enjoying the city when I went with my friend.
I think it's worth visiting both for the sites and to help out an area that has suffered from the lack of tourism. It's time to reintroduce Mito to Japan!
Mito is most famous for Kairakuen Garden, one of the official top three gardens in Japan (along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Korakuen in Okayama). It seems to be the least visited of the three gardens and is also the smallest but it is still quite large.
Because of Kairakuen, the city is famous for its plum blossoms. A huge portion of Kairakuen Garden is made of plum trees which typically bloom in March. The entire month they hold their Plum Festival which has various events, food vendors, beautiful plum ambassadors in yukata, the city's mascot, and an evening garden light-up. Below the garden across the train tracks there are many more plum trees and the view of the garden from that area is excellent.
Mito is also famous for natto, a traditional gloppy Japanese food infamous for its UNpopularity among foreigners. Still, if you're going to try natto, you can be sure your getting the real thing at its highest quality in Mito! Many will say that natto is an aquired taste so many of those who are in Japan long-term actually grow to like it or at least are able to eat it without feeling sick. I was not able to try the natto but my purpose for visiting was the plum blossoms and garden.
Kairakuen Garden is one of the official Top 3 Gardens of Japan, along with Korakuen (Okayama) and Kenrokuen (Kanazawa).... more travel advice
Tokiwa Shrine was built in 1874 to enshrine Tokugawa Mitsukuni and Tokugawa Nariaki, important local lords known as... more travel advice
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