Situated in the southeastern part of Ibaragi prefecture, Itako, Hokota and Kashima area are the waterfront districts facing the Pacific Ocean, Kasumiga-ura Lake and Kita-ura Lake.
The area holds famous ‘Katori Jingu Shrine’ and ‘Kashima Jingu Shrine’ which are two of the ‘Togoku Sanja （the three big shrines which have the highest divinities in Kanto Region）’.Besides, a variety of sightseeing spots are also on offer, such as ‘Sahara Machinami Koryu-kan’where exhibits historical materials of Sahara City, or ‘Suigo Itako Ayame-en （Suigo Itako Iris garden）’ where colorful irises are enjoyed.
- 1. Spot Ranking
- 5th Nishikura
- 4th Kashima-nada Kaishin Koen Park
- 3rd Maekawa Jyuni-hashi Meguri
- 2nd Kashima-Jingu Shrine
- 1st Suigo Itako Ayame-en
- 2. Getting in
- 3. Other Area List
1. Spot Ranking in Itako, Hokota and Kashima area
‘Nishikura’ has been selling hand-grilled rice crackers since 1969 when it started the business in Itako City, Ibaragi Prefecture. Suigo Itako City is known for growing good quality of rice and Nishikura makes their rice crackersusing locally cultivated rice and secret saucegrilling one by one with hands and delicacy over charcoal.
Full in the charcoal grilled sent and texture, Nishikura’s rice crackers are made without additives or preservatives and taste simple but genuine. No wonder they are popular and loved. The shop sells a variety of flavored rice crackers, such as ‘Soy sauce flavored’, ‘Sesame mixed’, `Red peppers mixed’, ‘Nori seaweeds’, `Kaki-mochi（deep fried)’ and others, that is also an appeal. Opening Hours is 7:00-19:00 Note: closed when sold out. It closed at January 1.
Access from Itako Station: around 10 minutes on foot from JR Itako Station.
4th. Kashima-nada Kaishin Koen Park
‘Kashima-nada Kaihin Koen Park’ is a seaside park where people enjoy a magnificent nature view of the Sea of Kashima and pine grove on the beach. The park is accessible being free of charge and a popular place to have relaxing time which provides visitors with usable bathroom facilities and a rest station where visitors can buy snacks and local souvenirs.
It is also recommended to have lunch on the grass at picnic ground. You may take a nap on the grass beside children are playing around or enjoy walking to the beach. Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00（summer seasons）/ 10:00-17:00（winter season).
Opening Hours: 24 hours a day. Closed: No Closing days. Admission is Free.
Access from Itako Station: A combined use of the JR Kashima-Line and the Kashima-rinkai Tetsudo Oarai-kashima-Line is convenient. JR Kashima-Line（Bound for Kashima-jingu）；from Itako Station to Kashima-jingu Station. Change to the Kashima-rinkai Tetsudo Oarai-Line. Kashima-rinkai Tetsudo Oarai-Line（Bound for Mito）; Kashima-jingu Station to Shin-hokota Station. Around 10-minite ride on a taxi from the station to the park.
3rd. Maekawa Jyuni-hashi Meguri
Having flourished as a center of water borne trade, Itako City has laid out horizontal and vertical waterways all over the City down the ages. As a result, the district was divided into many small islets, which accommodates only two households each and 12 narrow bridges were built between the islets so that residents can come and go. The 12 bridges became called ‘Jyuni-hashi（12 bridges）’ later.
The view of 12 small bridges, connecting islets and households over the waterways is popular sightseeing highlight here, reminding visitors of the appearance of old times. Sightseeing tours, ‘Jyuni-hashi meguri (going round the 12 bridges on a small rowboat called ‘Sappa sen’)’, are on offer.
One of seasonal recommendations is the beautiful purple iris at its best from May to June. During ‘Ayame Matsuri（Iris festival）’ in June, lucky ones may come across a beautiful bride on a‘Yome-iri Fune（a rowboat, carries a bride for the wedding）’. Some special row boats called ‘Rokogi-sen （a rowboat pulled by an oar）’ will be available during the Festival.
It may be recommended to visit in this season. Opening Hours is 9:00-16:00 Note: Sightseeing boat tours is suspended from July to May. Closed on canceled in bad weather. For a 30-minute tour, 1000 yen/Adults 500 yen/Children（Free: Children under Elementary School）.
Access from Itako Station: a 7-miniute walk from the station.
2nd. Kashima-Jingu Shrine
Kashima-Jingu Shrine is one of the noble‘Togoku Sanja（the three big shrines which have the highest divinities in Kanto Region）. The Shrine was founded by the Emperor Jinmu at his first year of his reign and enshrines ‘Takemikaduchi-no Okami’. Some shrine buildings were offered from Tokugawa Shogun; the ‘Shaden （main building of shrine）’ was from the 2nd Shogun Hidetada, ‘Okunomiya（rear shrine）’was from the 1st Shogun Ieyasu and ‘Romon gate（two-story gate）’ was from the 1st Mito feudal lord Yorifusa Tokugawa, respectively and all are designated as important cultural properties.
More than 90 rites and festivals are held during the year, some of them are special ceremonies, such as ‘Saito-sai’, ‘Hakuba-sai’and ‘Yabusame（archery on horseback）’. Opening Hours is 8:30-16:30. Access from Itako Station: A combined use of The JR Kashima-Line and the Kashima-Line is convenient.
JR Kashima-Line; from Itako Station to Sahara Station. Change to the Kashima-Line. Kashima-Line; from Sahara Station to Kashima-Jingu Station. Around 10-minute walk to the Shrine.
1st. Suigo Itako Ayame-en
‘Suigo Itako Ayame-en（Suigo Itako Iris Park）’opened in 1976 and holds around 1 million roots (500 kinds) of irises, rabbit ear irises and other flowers within its area of about 1.3 hectors. The beautiful flowery view was nominated as one of ‘500 beautiful paths of Japan’and is very popular as an excellent scenic are.
The best season to visit is around June, when ‘Suigo Itako Iris Festival’ is held. During the festival, visitors may enjoy ‘Yome-iri Fune（a rowboat, carries a bride for the wedding）’, ‘Itako-bayashi musical performance’, excursions on ‘Rokogi-sen （a rowboat pulled by an oar）’ and other variety of events. The park is free to access whole day.
Access from Itako Station: A 3 minites walk from Itako Station.
2. Getting to Itako station from Tokyo
From Tokyo station, a traveller can take JR Sobu rapid Line to Narita station, then transfer to JR Narita Line regular service towards Choshi and get off at Sawara Station, then transfer again to JR Narita Line regular service towards Kashima Shrine, get off at Itako Station. Duration is about 3 hours. Ticket Price is 1940.
3. Other Area List
Hitachinaka, Oarai and Nakaminato
Mito – Kasama
Tsukuba, Tsuchiura and Ushiku
Itako, Hokota and Kashima
Yuki and Chikusei
Fukuroda, Daigo and Hitachiota
Kitaibaraki and Hitachi