In the south of Ibaraki Prefecture sits Itako city, a city located between Lake Kasumigaura and Lake Kitaura. The Tone River also flows through the city. Because Itako City is surrounded by different bodies of water, the city has a convenient network of canals.
During the Edo period, these canals were of great importance, since Itako City prospered with the shipment of rice and other goods to the capital through those canals. The spotlight is now on Itako City for being the venue for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. If you plan on visiting Itako City soon, here is a one-day itinerary for you!
Wishing for good fortune in battle, Chosho-ji Temple was built in 1185 by Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate. The bronze bell in the temple is an important cultural property of Japan.
The study hall that was used by Mito Mitsukuni, a prominent daimyo or Japanese feudal lord, can also be found here. The temple is in front of Inariyama Park, so it would also be great if you can visit the park.
Visitors can ride a boat and cruise the waterways of Itako and see 12 different bridges. The tour will let visitors experience a ride on a traditional boat and help them visualize what it would have been like to live in Itako in the past.
The scenery seen during a tour is best when the irises are in full bloom. The Visit Itako website (link below) lists several tours that visitors might be interested in.
Because of the city’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean and other bodies of water, sushi is a staple food in the city. Unagi (eel) is another delicacy that is famous in Itako. The nearby Kasumigaura Bay is the place where most of the eel in Itako is caught.
The most popular dish is Kabayaki- style eel, a broiled dish with a sweet and salty sauce. The Japanese believe that eating eel during the summer can help them survive the heat, and they even have a special day dedicated to eating eel!
遅くなりましたが、１２月、酒コンペティション 純米大吟醸の部で一位をいただいた時の賞品、「山田錦」をいただきました。いよいよ大吟醸の造りが始まります！どんな味に仕上がるのか楽しみです＾＾従業員一同頑張ります！！ pic.twitter.com/W0mXTgHrsn
— 愛友酒造 (@aiyushuzo) January 7, 2017
Aiyu Sake Brewery has been brewing sake since 1804. To book a tour of the brewery, visitors need to make a reservation through their website. The tour is free and 40 minutes long, and it is available from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day.
The tour will introduce you to their facilities, the history of Aiyu Sake Brewery, and their brewing process. Visitors can also have a free taste of their sake products!
Senbei or Japanese rice crackers, Teppo-zuke pickles, and tsukudani are some of the popular local foods in Itako. Roadside Station Itako is a collection of shops near the Itako Interchange on the Higashi Kanto Highway.
This establishment is the perfect one-stop shop for visitors looking for souvenirs, gift ideas, unique crafts, and indulgent snacks!
— 茨城県潮来市（公式） (@itako_city_offi) March 2, 2017
Itako is famous for its irises. During the early summer, they hold the Suigo Itako Iris Festival. For people visiting Itako during the summer, attending this festival is a must!
The festival boasts over 1 million irises and over 500 varieties in full bloom. The highlight of the festival is the Yomeiri-bune, a traditional wedding ceremony, where the bride in a wedding gown is riding on a boat.
In just one day, visitors can already experience a lot of what Itako City has to offer. With the 2020 Olympics coming soon, Itako City will be expecting a high visitor rate. Make sure you do not miss out on exploring wonderful Itako City!