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After the funeral, Kenji’s parents came a few days to stay with us in Gunma, and we invited them along on our Ibaraki trip the second 3 day weekend in September. Sunday, the first day, saw us driving to Mito, checking in to the hotel, then visiting the station to grab a bite to eat. Kenji’s father wasn’t feeling well so we dropped him back off at his hotel to rest, while Kenji and I plus his mom went to the famous Kairakuen Gardens.

Kairakuen is one of the three most famous gardens in Japan, along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Korakuen in Okayama, both of which I visited this year. Timing-wise, there wasn’t many special flowers blooming, and it was too early for fall colors, but we did catch the nice Cosmos flowers in bloom, so that was something.

After that we picked Kenji’s father up, then headed to the coast to Oarai to visit a shrine, eat dinner, and go to an onsen, before calling it a night.

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Mito station and lunch

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Our hotel, Toyoko Inn

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Tokiwa Shrine at the entrance to Kairakuen

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Working the camera

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Around Kairakuen

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Mito’s character

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Kairakuen

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One early (late?) little plum blossom

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Kairakuen

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Flowering bamboo, a rare sight

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Plant and flower close-ups

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Around the lake area

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Across the tracks

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Cosmos in Kairakuen

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Woman walking five little yip-yip dogs

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This is my current iPhone background

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Oarai shrine

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Close-up of the shrine decor

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Stairs down to the ocean

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Torii on the rocks

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Dinner

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Onsen

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Shuuin from the two shrines

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Day two was driving north to Kita-Ibaraki where a famous waterfall called Fukuroda, which is famous for freezing solid in winter. We had lunch in that area, then drove again to the coast to visit Rokkakudo, a famous pavilion on the edge of the water, but unfortunately it was closed so we just took a few pictures and headed back onto the highway.

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Walking to Fukuroda Falls

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Walking up to the falls

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Fukuroda Falls from the lower balcony

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Area character… there are a million of these everywhere

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Fukuroda Falls from the upper platforms

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Little shrine located in the tunnel

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Heading back down to the parking lot

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Snacking a bit first on Ayu (type of grilled fish), yuzu-miso dango, and apple pie

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Late lunch of kenchin soup and flavored konyaku

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Often you can go down these steps to the platform to see Rokkakudo from a different angle, but the tide was too high

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We were only able to see the lantern, not the pavilion itself.

So that was Ibaraki, and now I am all caught up on posts!

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