## Oarai and Hitachinaka, two of Ibaraki's best seaside towns, have plenty to offer
The area around Oarai and Hitachinaka has long sandy beaches and bustling fishing ports. There are several famous and gorgeous parks in the area, set to the backdrop of the ocean's endless blue. You will find plenty to see, do, eat, and explore in this stunning corner of Ibaraki.
- Ibaraki's epic coastline and many pristine beaches
- The famous Hitachi Seaside Park
- Fresh seafood from the Pacific
How to Get There
Oarai and Hitachinaka are accessible from Tokyo by express train and highway bus.
You can reach Hitachinaka and Oarai by taking the Hitachi Super Express on the JR Joban Line from Ueno Station. It stops at Katsuta Station, which is at the center of Hitachinaka.
For Oarai, go to Mito Station and catch the Kashima Rinkai Railway Oarai Line to Oarai. Buses go directly to Oarai and various parts of Hitachinaka from Tokyo Station .
The Ibaraki coastline
The Oarai and Hitachinaka area, which sits right on the ocean, is home to some fantastic beaches. Ajihaura Beach is a pristine beach with gentle waves near Hitachi Seaside Park. It has excellent views and a pier at one end where you can watch the waves crash against the rocks.
Oarai Sun Beach is a stretch of white sand beach perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. It is the biggest single beach in the Kanto area, stretching from the fishing port in the north to the picturesque bluffs to the south. The water here is shallow; hence, it is great for wading and water sports.
Aqua World Ibaraki, the shark capital
For a look deeper into the sea, visit Aqua World Ibaraki Prefectural Oarai Aquarium, a huge aquarium with 68,000 animals of nearly 600 species.
It is famous for its giant water tanks and sharks. It has 45 species of sharks, making it the biggest collection of sharks in Japan. There's also an outdoor playground for kids, dolphin and sea lion shows, and great views of the Pacific.
Blooming flowers at Oarai and Hitachinaka
Ibaraki is famous for being a great place to see some incredible flower gardens. Hitachi Seaside Park is probably the area's most picturesque park. It is a spacious park blanketed in flowers of different colors that overlooks the town of Hitachi and the ocean.
During the spring, the park's gentle hills are covered in pale blue nemophila flowers. In late summer, it is covered in a carpet of kochia bushes that turn crimson in the fall, creating a surreal landscape.
Hitachi Kamine and Shizumine Furusato Parks
Hitachi Kamine is another park with excellent views of the ocean and plenty of cherry blossoms. In addition to its fields of flowers, the park has two amusement parks and a zoo. Shizumine Furusato Park is known for its yaezakura, or double-flowering cherry blossoms, during the cherry blossom season.
Oarai Isosaki-jinja Shrine is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean. It has three gates, one of which, Kamiiso-no-Torii, is an iconic sight in Ibaraki. It stands on a rocky island at the edge of the Pacific Ocean where the waves crash against its base.
Oiwa Shrine is another excellent shrine complex in the Oarai and Hitachinaka area. Located halfway up Mt. Moiwa , it stands among the whispering mountain pine trees, creating a mysterious atmosphere.
A seafood heaven
If you are into seafood, the area presents a few must-see attractions. You cannot visit Oarai or Hitachinaka without hitting the Nakaminato Fish Market. It rivals Tokyo's Tsukiji with its bustling atmosphere and delicacies from the depths of the sea, but it is a little more tourist-friendly. Visitors wander among rows of vendors selling fresh seafood at reasonable prices, while nearby restaurants prepare cuisine with the day's catch.
If you like mentaiko, or seasoned cod roe, you have to visitOarai Mentai Park . This is mentaiko maker Kanefuku's Ibaraki factory, and it is open to the public. The company has turned its factory into a museum and education center to help spread its passion for this delicacy around the world.
A day or a week
Ibaraki is known for its coastline, and the Oarai and Hitachinaka area is a great place to enjoy it. If you are a seafood lover or flower fanatic, a single day in the Oarai and Hitachinaka area will leave you wanting more. If you have a few days to spare, take your time and really soak up the beauty of this part of Ibaraki.