Monday, September 21, 2009

Mito


Of Interest: Kadokan Hall, downtown Mito, Sakura River, Kairakuen Park
Lodging: yes
Tourist Office: yes (good maps)
Int'l ATM: Post Office near the north exit

Mito is the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture. It is located beyond the edge of Tokyo's suburbs. The road that angles left from the North Exit leads to downtown. The tourist office has a good English language map. I recommend picking it up before leaving the station.

During the Edo period, Mito was ruled by a junior branch of the Tokugawa family. There are historical buildings scattered throughout the city. The city's most famous tourist attraction, Kairakuen Park, is one of the newest. This park, considered one of the three best in Japan, was originally built in 1841 by Tokugawa Nariaki. Of interest is its plum forest. To get there, leave the station by the South Exit, and then walk right along the Sakuragawa (Sakura River). The walk is especially beautiful in the spring when the trees that the river is named for are in bloom.

Kairakuen Park has its own train station during the prime plum viewing times in late February and March.

Plums are the city tree, and plum trees are also located on the Kadokan Hall grounds. This was a school for boys of the Tokugawa clan. It was built next to Mito castle which no longer exists. Kadokan Hall is a ten minute walk from the North Exit of the station. In different directions from that exit are the Toshogu Shrine and the Natto Display House. Natto is a specialty of Mito.

Three JR lines serve Mito station. The Joban line runs from Ueno, Tokyo to Sendai. It runs along the coast north of Mito, and takes about an hour and a half to get to Mito by Express train. The Suigun line also runs north, but inland. This line meets up with the shinkansen at Koriyama, Fukushima. The Mito line heads west to Oyama, Tochigi. The Kashima Rinkai Railway also runs a line south to Kashima, Ibaraki in the north Tokyo suburbs.

There is also a direct bus from Narita Airport. JR, Kanto Railway, and Ibaraki-Kotsu buses are run from the railway. The map available from the tourist center gives the location of most buses from the train station.

2 comments:

Khanh Ha said...

You are a keen observer as a journalist. My friend, Aki Gibbons, loves Japan. I'll direct her to your blog for her benefit as a traveler.

AsianTrains said...

Thanks for the compliment. I hope Aki leaves a comment too. I especially love questions.