When Tokugawa Ieyasu reunited Japan in 1603 and established the Tokugawa Shogunate, with its headquarters at Edo (now Tokyo), he installed members of his own Tokugawa clan as rulers of Mito and only two other domains, present-day Nagoya and Wakayama. These three cadet lines (known as Gosanke 御三家) were eligible to supply an heir in case any ruling shogun failed to produce one. They were thus among the most loyal of the Tokugawa loyalists. However, the Mito School of fiercely chauvinist Confucian scholars also helped to redefine the Japanese nation in a way that provided the ideological foundation for enhancing imperial power during the Meiji Restoration and its aftermath. …WikiTravel
Kairakuen Garden (偕楽園). Open 6:00 am to 7:00 pm Apr 1 – Sep 15; 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Sep 16 – Mar 31. One of Japan’s Top 3 Gardens, its primary claim to fame is its 3,000 plum trees, which bloom in February and March. In addition, the garden also contains a network of walkways running through large stands of tall cedar trees and bamboo, and past expanses of flame-red azalea and snow-white bush clover. Depending on the season, one can also observe camellia, magnolia, and cherry blossoms. While the sights within the garden are quite impressive in their own right, this hillside garden also provides spectacular overlooks of Semba Lake and Park when the cherry blossoms come into bloom in April.
Kobuntei (好文亭). This well-preserved, old-style samurai residence on the grounds of Kairakuen is well worth seeing, with its fine natural woodwork, thatched roofs, hand-painted paper doors, surrounding garden, and beautiful vistas from the higher floors. Look for the Chinese-character cheat-sheets on the walls of the Chinese poetry composing room. Admission ¥190.
Tokiwa Jinja (常磐神社), at the south gate of Kairakuen, . Open from 9:30 am to 15:30 pm on weekdays and from 9:00 am to 16:00 pm on holidays and during the plum festival, this large Shinto shrine is dedicated to Mito clan lords Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628-1700), known as Mito Komon, and Tokugawa Nariaki (1800-1860).
Mito Arts Foundation (水戸芸術館) Founded by the city in 1988 to commemorate Mito’s 100th anniversary as an official city in 1989, it’s spiral tower rises 100m above the ATM plaza. Popular with locals due in part to its proximity to Mito Station, it is meant to symbolize the movement from the past to the future and from tradition to creation.…WikiTravel
Police have arrested two men on suspicion of stealing baseballs from a high school baseball club in Saitama Prefecture. The suspects, who were arrested on Monday, were former baseball teammates in junior high school, Fuji TV reported. (Japan Today)
The Ibaraki Prefectural Board of Education said Tuesday that 379 students at 61 schools in the prefecture felt sick after drinking milk served during lunchtime at school the previous day. (Japan Times)
People shield themselves from snow while walking in Mito on Thursday morning, as snowfalls were seen in various parts of the country due to a low pressure system moving across Japan. (the-japan-news.com)
Tokyo stocks plummeted on Monday, with the Nikkei index seeing its biggest points drop this year, as a Greek debt default looked likely this week following the collapse of eleventh-hour talks over the weekend. (Kyodo)
The Mito city government is seeking donations from companies and individuals to help restore major parts of Mito Castle: the Otemon main gate, the Ninomaru Sumiyagura watch tower within the outer structures of the castle and the castle walls. (The Japan News)
Saturday was the first weekend day since the start of the cherry blossom viewing season was declared in Tokyo, and unseasonably warm weather in the Kanto region brought large crowds to popular viewing spots. (The Japan News)