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.

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, [2]. 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


2 Dec

The body of an 18-year-old girl was found at the edge of a river in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Friday night. Police said the girl’s father was found collapsed on the ground nearby, with a stab wound to his neck in what they believe was an attempted suicide. (Japan Today)

18 Jul

A 36-year-old Filipino man arrested last year admitted Tuesday to raping and murdering a female university student in eastern Japan in January 2004. (Japan Today)

22 Oct

A man who has been arrested for assault could be tied to the body of a woman discovered inside a love hotel Tuesday in Mito City, police said on Friday, reports TV Asahi (

19 Oct

Ibaraki Prefectural Police on Wednesday revealed that a 49-year-old woman whose body was discovered inside a love hotel in Mito City had been beaten, reports TV Asahi (

3 Oct

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)

7 Jun

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)