Useful information about Ibaraki
General Information about Ibaraki Prefecture
Ibaraki Prefecture is a prefecture located in the northern part of the Kanto region of Japan. It has a population of around 2.87 million people, and an area of 6,097 km2. Ibaraki has a coast on the Pacific Ocean, and has a rich fishery industry centered on a major fishing port. Ibaraki consists mostly of flat plains, most of which are used as farmlands, and the prefecture is one of the most prominent agricultural producers in Japan. Administratively, Ibaraki is comprised of 32 cities, 10 towns, and 2 villages.
There are 133 train stations in Ibaraki, some of the major ones being Mito Station and Tsukuba Station. Mito Station, located in the prefectural capital Mito, is a junction station served by several important railway lines that interlink and traverse the prefecture, including the Joban Line. The area around the station is a major commercial district with many office buildings, public facilities, educational facilities, and shopping centers, as well as cultural facilities such as museums and shrines.
Tsukuba Station is a terminal station on the Tsukuba Express which connects Akihabara in Tokyo with Tsukuba in just under one hour. The Tsukuba Express is a relatively new railway line that opened in 2005, and has been increasing its ridership every year. Since Tsukuba City is a major center for scientific research, many of the passengers are students or researchers. Tsukuba Station is also connected to a large bus terminal with many local and express buses linking the city with the rural areas. The area around the station has a post office and several offices, banks, and hotels, but few commercial centers.
As mentioned above, Ibaraki is famous for its agricultural and marine products. It is the largest producer of melons in Japan, and is also a major producer of pears and strawberries. The prefecture's annual amount of sunshine and temperature variations are major factors in its agricultural abundance. For seafood, some of the prominent products include sardines and sawara (seerfish).
Foreign Residents in Ibaraki Prefecture
As of 2020, there were 12,922 foreign residents living in Ibaraki Prefecture (the 10th highest in Japan by prefecture), with the number increasing annually. By municipality, most of the foreign residents live in Tsukuba City, which has more than twice the number living in Joso City and Tsuchiura City, second and third on the list respectively.
By nationality, Chinese nationals are the most in number with 12,922 residents, around 3,000 of whom live in Tsukuba City. Next come Vietnamese with 10,019 residents, followed by Filipinos, Brazilians, Thai, Indonesians, Koreans, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, and Peruvians. In Joso City, there is a significant number of Filipinos and Brazilians (much more than in Tsukuba).
Source: Ibaraki Prefectural Government "Foreign Resident Population", published June 2020.
Popular Residential Areas in Ibaraki Prefecture
One popular residential area in Ibaraki for foreigners is Joso City. Joso is located in the southwestern part of the prefecture, and features an idyllic atmosphere. It offers convenient access to other areas while having relatively inexpensive room rental rates. Statistically, it also experiences fewer natural disasters compared to other areas, making it a desired area in terms of safety.
Other popular areas include Hokota City and Oarai Town. These adjacent municipalities have beaches and nature-rich mountains, offering many opportunities for both swimming and hiking. They also have an outlet mall and other commercial centers that make shopping convenient. They are recommended areas for people looking for a rural but convenient lifestyle.
Transportation in Ibaraki Prefecture
The main mode of transportation for traveling in and out of Ibaraki is rail. There are several long-distance trains that connect Ibaraki to other prefectures, such as the JR Joban Line that runs from Ueno in Tokyo to different parts of Ibaraki. There is also the Tsukuba Express that runs between Akihabara in Tokyo and Tsukuba in Ibaraki, passing through Chiba Prefecture along the way.
Besides these long-distance trains, there are also many local trains that connect various areas in the prefecture, such as the JR Mito Line and JR Suigun Line used by many locals. There is also the Kanto Railway Joso Line, the Mount Tsukuba Cable Car, and other lines that support the various transportation needs of the residents.
Ibaraki also has a network of buses, which is a vital mode of transport for its residents. One of the most important bus operators is Ibaraki Kotsu, which operates local and express buses that travel within and outside the prefecture.
Expressways also play an important part in transportation around Ibaraki. Major expressways passing through Ibaraki include the Joban Expressway and the Kita-Kanto Expressway. These routes connect Ibaraki to the rest of the Kanto region to the south, and to the Tohoku region to the north.
Recommended Sightseeing Spots in Ibaraki Prefecture
Despite being located just under one hour away from central Tokyo, Ibaraki Prefecture is rich in nature and has many popular sightseeing spots. The Hitachi Seaside Park is a public park that attracts many visitors from in and out of Ibaraki. It features vast, photogenic flower fields that bloom with various flowers throughout the year.
Another popular spot is Mt. Tsukuba, one of the most famous mountains in the Kanto region. From the summit, you can enjoy a majestic view of the Kanto Plain with Mt. Fuji in the background. There is a cable car and ropeway that goes to the summit, making it accessible to a wide range of visitors.
The Fukuroda Falls in the northern part of the prefecture is one of the tallest waterfalls in Japan in terms of total drop height. This place lets you experience the power and beauty of nature. In winter, the falls may sometimes freeze, creating a spectacular scene that attracts many visitors.