Ibaraki Prefecture

Ibaraki Prefecture (茨城県, Ibaraki-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region of Honshu.[1] Ibaraki Prefecture has a population of 2,871,199 (1 June 2019) and has a geographic area of 6,097.19 square kilometres (2,354.14 square miles). Ibaraki Prefecture borders Fukushima Prefecture to the north, Tochigi Prefecture to the northwest, Saitama Prefecture to the southwest, Chiba Prefecture to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

Ibaraki Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
Ibaraki Prefectural City Hall
Anthem: Ibaraki kenmin no uta
Country Japan
SubdivisionsDistricts: 7, Municipalities: 44
  GovernorKazuhiko Ōigawa
  Total6,097.19 km2 (2,354.14 sq mi)
 (December 1, 2020)
  Density470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Ibaraki dialect
ISO 3166 codeJP-08
BirdEurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
FlowerRose (Rosa)
TreeUme tree (Prunus mume)
Ibaraki Prefectural Office and Headquarters in Mito

Mito, the capital, is the largest city in Ibaraki Prefecture. Other major cities include Tsukuba, Hitachi, and Hitachinaka.[2] Ibaraki Prefecture is located on Japan's eastern Pacific coast to the northeast of Tokyo, and is part of the Greater Tokyo Area, the most populous metropolitan area in the world. Ibaraki Prefecture features Lake Kasumigaura, the second-largest lake in Japan; the Tone River, Japan's second-longest river and largest drainage basin; and Mount Tsukuba, one of the most famous mountains in Japan. Ibaraki Prefecture is also home to Kairaku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, and is an important center for the martial art of Aikido.


Ibaraki Prefecture was previously known as Hitachi Province. In 1871, the name of the province became Ibaraki, and in 1875 it became its current size, by annexing some districts belonging to the extinct Shimōsa Province.

Kamitakatsu Shell Mound in Tsuchiura


In Japanese Paleolithic, humans are believed to have started living in the present-day prefecture area before and after the deposition of the volcanic ash layer from the Aira Caldera about 24,000 years ago. At the bottom of this layer are local tools of polished stone and burnt pebbles.

Asuka Period

During the Asuka period the provinces of Hitachi and Fusa were created. Later Fusa was divided, among them, the Shimōsa Province.

Muromachi Period

At the beginning of the Muromachi period, in the 14th century, Kitabatake Chikafusa made of the Oda Castle his field headquarters for over a year, and wrote the Jinnō Shōtōki (Chronicles of the Authentic Lineages of the Divine Emperors), while he was at castle.

Lake Kasumigaura in Ushibori Village (Hitachi Province), Mount Fuji in the background; 19th century of the Edo period. Hokusai, painter and printmaker

Edo Period

During the Edo period, one of the three houses or clans originating from Tokugawa Ieyasu (Gosanke 御 三家, three houses), settled in the Mito Domain, the clan is known as the Mito Tokugawa family or simply the Mito clan. Mito Domain, was a Japanese domain of the Edo-period Hitachi Province.

In 1657, a Mitogaku was created when Tokugawa Mitsukuni, head of the Mito Domain, commissioned the compilation of the Dai Nihonshi, a book on the history of Japan.

Meiji Period

In Meiji era, during the Meiji Restoration, the political map changes, the old provinces are converted or merged, to create the current prefectures, in this case the Ibaraki Prefecture.


Rivers Shintone (left) and Tone (right), Inashiki and Kawachi areas
Map of Ibaraki Prefecture
     City      Town      Village      Lake
Hitachi Sakura Festival

Ibaraki Prefecture is the northeastern part of the Kantō region, stretching between Tochigi Prefecture and the Pacific Ocean and bounded on the north and south by Fukushima Prefecture and Chiba Prefecture. It also has a border on the southwest with Saitama Prefecture. The northernmost part of the prefecture is mountainous, but most of the prefecture is a flat plain with many lakes and is part of Kantō Plain.

Natural Parks

As of 1 April 2012, 15% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Suigo-Tsukuba Quasi-National Park, and nine Prefectural Natural Parks.[3] Also, Ibaraki has one Prefectural Geopark. The Suigo-Tsukuba Quasi-National Park, also includes the northeast area of Chiba Prefecture.


The northern third of the prefecture is mountainous and in the center is the Tsukuba Mountains (筑波 山地). Its main mountains are: mount Yamizo with an elevation of 1022 m on the border with Fukushima and Tochigi prefectures (tripoint), mount Takasasa with 922 m, mount Tsukuba with two peaks Nyotai-San at 877 m and Nantai-San at 871 m, mount Osho at 804 m, mount Hanazono at 798 m, and mount Kaba at 709 m.

Water system

The main rivers that flow through the prefecture include the Tone, Naka (Ibaraki), and Kuji rivers, all of which flow into the Pacific Ocean. Before the seventeenth century, the lower reaches of the Tone were different from its current layout, and the Tone ran south and emptied into Tokyo Bay, and tributaries such as the Watarase and Kinu rivers had independent water systems.

The main tributaries of the Tone River basin are the Kinu River and Kokai River, which flow from north to south in the western part of the prefecture. The Shintone and Sakura rivers flow into Lake Nishiura.

The Edo River flows into Tokyo Bay; its source currently rises as an arm of the Tone River. In the past, the course of the Edo River was different, its source was corrected and diverted to the Tone River in the 17th century by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect the city of Edo (now Tokyo) from flooding.

The Tone River, in addition to the Edo River, is part of the southern border of Ibaraki Prefecture with Chiba Prefecture, and the Watarase River, Tone River, Gongendō River, and Naka River (Saitama) in the southwestern border of Ibaraki with Saitama Prefecture. The Watarase River has become a small boundary of the southern border between Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures.

From ancient times to the beginning of the Edo period, the lower reaches of the Tone River did not exist and the mouth of the Tone was in Tokyo Bay. On the plain was the Katori Sea, which existed in ancient times,[4] the Lake Kasumigaura and other lagoons in present-day Chiba prefecture are remnants of that sea. Katori Sea was connected to the Kashima-nada (Pacific Ocean).

Lake Kasumigaura is currently divided into three lakes: Nishiura, Kitaura, Sotonasakaura. In addition, in the prefecture there are freshwater lagoons such as Hinuma, Senba, and Ushiku.

Fukuoka Dam, is a dam that spans the Kokai River in Tsukubamirai, it is one of the three largest dams in the Kantō region. Ryūjin Dam in Hitachiōta, is a beautiful dam on the Ryūjin River with a large pedestrian suspension bridge above the dam lake.


Thirty-two (32) cities are located in Ibaraki Prefecture:

Towns and villages

These are the towns and villages in each district, 10 towns and 2 villages in 7 districts:


Ibaraki's economy is based on energy production (particularly nuclear energy), chemical and precision machining industries, research institutes, and tourism. Agriculture, fishing, and livestock are also important sectors in the prefecture.[5]

Ibaraki's vast flat terrain make it highly suitable for industrial development. This complements its proximity to the Tokyo metropolitan area, giving it a high reputation as an industrial base. The prefecture is also home to Tsukuba, Japan's most extensive research and academic city, and the birthplace of Hitachi, Ltd.[6]

Paddy field at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba
Sweet potato field in Namegata


With extensive flat lands, abundant water, and suitable climate, Ibaraki is among the prefectures with the highest agricultural production in Japan. It plays an important role in supplying food to the Tokyo metropolitan area. Its main products include melons, pears, peppers, various varieties of rice and sugar cane, as well as flowers and ornamental plants.

It also supplies other food crops to the rest of the country. As of March 2011, the prefecture produced 25% of Japan's bell peppers and Chinese cabbage.[7]


It is one of the prefectures with the highest fish production in the country; in the Pacific Ocean, Lake Kasumigaura, other lagoons and rivers, various species of fish are obtained.


The Hitachigyū cattle (常 陸 牛 - ひたちぎゅう - Hitachi-gyū, Hitachi-ushi), which is a prefectural bovine breed, is noteworthy in livestock. The name comes from the kanji 常 陸 (Hitachi), the name of the ancient Hitachi Province and 牛 (ushi or gyū, beef).[8]

Background. In 1833 Tokugawa Nariaki (徳川 斉昭) established the breeding of black cattle in the present Migawa-chō (見川 町) of the city of Mito. Originally it remained mainly in the northern part of the prefecture, but later it spread throughout the prefecture.

Cyberdyne Inc. in Tsukuba

Industrial centers

  • Hitachi area. Grouping of industries, such as electrical, electronic and machinery. More than 1,300 companies; many of them hired by the Hitachi company, which was founded in Sukegawa (Hitachi City) in 1910.
  • Tōkai area. Atomic Energy Research Organization Grouping. J-PARC, Proton Accelerator Research Complex.
  • Tsukuba area. 32 institutes for education and research. Manipulation of matter at the level of atoms (nanotechnology). Robotic security center for support in daily life. Space center.
  • Kashima area. Grouping of materials industries, such as steel and petrochemicals, around 160 companies.


Ibraki prefecture population pyramid in 2020
Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

Ibaraki's population is decreasing more rapidly than any other prefecture.[10][11]


Ibaraki is known for nattō, or fermented soybeans, in Mito, watermelons in Kyōwa (recently merged into Chikusei), and chestnuts in the Nishiibaraki region.[12]

Ibaraki is famous for the martial art of Aikido founded by Morihei Ueshiba, also known as Osensei. Ueshiba spent the latter part of his life in the town of Iwama, now part of Kasama, and the Aiki Shrine and dojo he created still remain.[13]

Kasama is famous for Shinto (Kasama Inari Shrine), Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, house museum of the calligrapher and ceramist Kitaōji Rosanjin, Kasama Nichidō Museum of Art, residence of Morihei Ueshiba, founder of the martial art Aikidō.[14]

The capital Mito is home to Kairakuen, one of Japan's three most celebrated gardens, and famous for its over 3,000 Japanese plum trees of over 100 varieties.

Kashima Shrine (Jingū) Ibaraki's cultural heritage.

Mito Tōshō-gū, is the memorial shrine of Tokugawa Ieyasu in Mito.

Seizansō was the retirement villa of Tokugawa Mitsukuni.

Mito Municipal Botanical Park, is a botanical garden in Mito.

Park Ibaraki Nature Museum in Bandō.

There are castle ruins in many cities, including Mito Castle, Yūki Castle, Kasama Castle, Tsuchiura Castle, Oda Castle.

Hitachi Fūryūmono, a puppet float theater festival, Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Makabe Hina Doll Festival - Hinamatsuri - (Sakuragawa City).

Yūki-tsumugi (silk weaving technique) Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Kasama ware, Makabe Stone Lamp, Kagami Crystal Glass Factory, old glass factory in Ryūgasaki City.



  • Ami
    • Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences
  • Hitachi
    • Ibaraki Christian University
Kōdōkan (Mito)
  • Mito
    • Ibaraki University
    • Tokiwa University
  • Ryūgasaki
    • Ryūtsū Keizai University
  • Toride
  • Tsuchiura
    • Tsukuba International University
  • Tsukuba


The sports teams listed below are based in Ibaraki.

Football (soccer)



  • Stags - Kashima Rugby Football Club RFC (Kashima)

American football

  • Tsukuba University (Tsukuba)



  • Hitachi Pro Wrestling (Regional group) (Hitachi)


  • Ibaraki Robots (Mito)

Motorsport race


Transportation and access

Lines map Kantō Railway, Tsukuba Railway (suspended 1987), and others
Lotus field and Jōban Line
Mount Tsukuba Ropeway
Kashima Port
Ibaraki Airport


Cable cars

  • Tsukuba Kankō Railway
    • Mount Tsukuba Cable Car
    • Mount Tsukuba Ropeway


National highways

Ibaraki Prefecture with the following national routes:

Prefectural routes

Ibaraki Prefecture with more than 300 prefectural routes.


  • Port of Ibaraki
  • Port of Kashima


  • Ibaraki Airport
  • Ryūgasaki Airfield
  • Tsukuba Heliport
  • Ōtone Airstrip 大利根飛行場 (おおとねひこうじょう, Ōtone Hikōjō) is an airfield located on the Tone River in Kawachi.


The prefecture is often alternatively pronounced "Ibaragi" by those who speak the regional dialect known as Ibaraki-ben. However, the standard pronunciation is "Ibaraki". According to the author of "Not Ibaragi, Ibaraki",[15] this is most likely due to a mishearing of the softening of the "k" sound in Ibaraki dialect.

Sister regions

Ibaraki is twinned with:

See also

  • 2005 Ibaraki gubernatorial election


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Ibaraki-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 367, at Google Books; "Kantō" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 479, at Google Books.
  2. Nussbaum, "Mito" at Japan Encyclopedia, p. 642, at Google Books.
  3. "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  4. "歌垣発祥の地を訪ねる「筑波山・香取の海」(in Japanese) - To visit the birthplace of Utagaki「Mt. Tsukuba ・ Katori Sea」-". utakura.com. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  5. "About Ibaraki". invest.indus.pref.ibaraki.jp. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  6. "data | Attractive Local Regions in Japan - Investing in Japan - Japan External Trade Organization". ジェトロ. Retrieved 2022-07-04.
  7. Schreiber, Mark, "Japan's food crisis goes beyond recent panic buying", The Japan Times, 17 April 2011, p. 9.
  8. "Breed info, About Hitachiwagyū Beef". hitachiwagyu.com. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  9. Statistics Bureau of Japan
  10. "Gov't data show exodus to Tokyo from other parts of Japan continues". Japan Today. 1 February 2019. Archived from the original on 3 February 2019.
  11. "茨城県の人口と世帯(推計)-令和2年(2020年)12月1日現在 - (in Japanese) - Population and households in Ibaraki Prefecture (estimated)-As of December 1, 2020-,". pref.ibaraki.jp, December 22, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  12. "Ibaraki Guide". ibarakiguide.org. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  13. Aikikai Foundation Ibaraki Branch Dojo " Founder and Iwama", Retrieved August 25, 2017
  14. "Kasamashiko – A Journey Through Japan's Pottery Culture". ibarakiguide.org. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  15. いばらぎじゃなくていばらき [Ibaragi ja Nakute Ibaraki]


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