Our second day began with a drive to Fukuroda Falls, a waterfall in Ibaraki-ken. I don’t know how you go do anything in Ibaraki without a car, so I can’t attest to the bus system or public transportation (besides the bus from Tokyo). [Pictures taken September 24, 2013]
The drive there included lots of relaxing country scenery. Looking out the window was definitely a relaxing experience.
You’ll know you’re getting there when you see this sign:
Even though it looks like pretty clear weather in this picture, it was raining really hard between Tsukuba and the falls. When we woke up that morning (I stayed at my friend K’s house in Tsukuba for the duration of my trip), it had started to rain, and we wondered if it would rain all day. It rained really, really hard right after I got in the car after a stop at Family Mart on the way, and continued to rain for some time before clearing up somewhat on our way to the falls.
We found parking easily (nobody’s there in late September on weekdays…), and it was supposed to be ￥500, but there weren’t any people in the parking kiosks. We inquired of the people working in the shop adjacent to the parking lot, and they told us not to worry about it, so we let it go.
Something you can eat here that I think is pretty unusual is ゆずみそ団子 Yuzu-Miso Dango–three rice cakes with (mixed) yuzu and miso flavoring. Yuzu is citrus and miso is a seasoning. My taste buds didn’t really understand what I was eating, but it was still an interesting experience.
By the way, you there’s also this sign, directing you to the falls, an additional hiking trail/nature hike to a smaller waterfall, and a parking lot:
My friend said the 自然 nature hike part was difficult and took her and her friend like 2 hours to get through once, so…just keep that in mind if you’re about to embark on that after seeing Fukuroda Falls. (The falls are easy to reach, though.)
Continuing on our way up to the area where you can view the falls (It’s ￥300 for adults to get in, and ￥150 for children).
I took a video of the “rainy weather version” of the falls (“sunny version” here)
If you go to the falls in the winter, you can see them frozen over! I think that sounds really awesome, except my friend K who lives here says it’s so cold that she’s never gone to go see it. If the cold discourages you, fall seems like a really nice time to visit as well.
It’s worth it to go to the top, because the view of the waterfall really changes.
At last, we stopped at another place on the way to have lunch.
We were still full from the three large dango we’d eaten earlier that one fish was enough. This is あゆの塩焼き, ayu (“sweetfish”?) grilled in salt. You can eat the whole thing, including tail and fins, but I can never eat the head >.< It’s something from this area, and we saw it being sold around the falls, along with the yuzu-miso dango.
Also, K introduced me to Georgia “Max Coffee.” It’s not unique to Ibaraki, but it’s either made for Ibaraki or from Ibaraki originally or something like that. I got one and tried it. My friend doesn’t like it because it’s too sweet, and I thought it was sweet, but not too bad. American food is thought to be super sweet, so maybe that’s why I didn’t mind too much (haha).
This post is a little long, but I’m hoping to introduce different things that are unique to Ibaraki and foods that you should try if you visit any of the places we went. Ibaraki isn’t that well known, even in Japan, so I hope that if anyone who reads this visits, they can at least get an idea of what to eat once they get there :3