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September 28, 2013 - Rural Fukuroda & Ibaraki Flower Park
After living in Japan for over two years, I am now at a stage where I have exhausted most guidebooks along with JG for weekends away from Tokyo. As such - I now need to do some of my own research. As such, today I visited Fukuroda and Ibaraki Flower Garden in Ishioka.
Fururoda is around 70 minutes by train from Mito (950 yen one way) with a train leaving every two or so hours. The town itself is known for the aptly named Fukuroda Falls, one of the three best waterfalls in Japan. A bus can be caught to the falls (3KM away but first bus is 10:30'ish) but on this occasion I chose to walk. The way is well signed (in Japanese) and is quite nice as you get a chance to see country life.
After around a 40 minute stroll, you get to a small shrine located next to the entrance to the falls. Note there are A LOT of stores here selling knick knacks and local delicacies.
It costs 300 yen to enter the falls. This allows you to walk through a 200-300 meter tunnel and access an elevator to see the falls from different heights. It's good value compared to other similar places I've visited.
One of the tunnels at the falls allows you to exit another from the falls. As it was such a nice day - I decided to follow it. It was a fantastic walk (a bit over 2 hours and 8-9KM's including getting slightly lost) but is only labelled in Japanese. It's best to walk with another person as the tracks are not as well upkept as others in Japan and it is reasonably easy to get lost if you don't read the local language (I don't but I'm used to making my way around placed like this!)
Instead of walking the main route back to the falls, I decided to take another route which was not much used. Once I got lost, I used Google Maps which took me along an old and almost never used local road which felt like taking a stroll back in the 1960's. It even came with it's own tunnel with no traffic or people whatsoever for a whole hour!
Ibaraki Flower Park is located in Ishioka which is 20-30 minutes by train from Mito. You then catch another bus which takes 40 minutes (4-5 buses a day - 650 one way) which slowly takes you along small country roads for 13 kms until you reach the Flower Park (640 one way). I strongly suggest to check the bus schedule before you enter as I only had a limited amount of time before the last bus left at 4PM.
The park costs 740 Yen to enter and is quite big by Japanese standard (30 hectares). It was a little underwhelming for me - but I've seen some really good parks and gardens in Japan. At present - there is a large Rose exhibition occurring at the park
Above is a picture from Mito station tonight. If I have learnt something today - it's that Fukuroda is beautiful and to give myself more time at the Flower Park. In any case - both are worth a visit.