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Azalea, Kasama Pottery, Chestnut Treats! Spending the Spring in Kasama

STORY

 

Azalea, Kasama Pottery, Chestnut Treats!
Spending the Spring in Kasama

 

 
 
Less than two hours away from central Tokyo, Kasama Tsutsuji Park is renown for its beautiful azaleas that are in full bloom from late April to early May. In this period the park's hill becomes an endless red carpet of flowers. Also, from late April to early May the Kasama Himatsuri pottery festival is held in the area. This makes it a great trip to enjoy the seasonality of Japan!

 

A Spectacular Sea of Azaleas! Kasama Tsutsuji Park

Kasama Tsutsuji Park boasts about 8,500 azalea plants, and the flowers are usually in full bloom from late April to early May. During the peak blooming time the entire hill is covered in red and you can also see pink, white, and other colors of azaleas all around the park.
 
A Spectacular Sea of Azaleas! Kasama Tsutsuji Park
 

A Spectacular Sea of Azaleas! Kasama Tsutsuji Park

 

A Spectacular Sea of Azaleas! Kasama Tsutsuji Park


Photo taken on May 1, 2019.
 

A Spectacular Sea of Azaleas! Kasama Tsutsuji Park

 

A Spectacular Sea of Azaleas! Kasama Tsutsuji Park


At the top of the hill inside the park is a shop selling local specialties like soft-serve ice cream made with Kasama pears, as well as udon and soba noodles.
 
 Local specialties like soft-serve ice cream
 
At Kasama Tsutsuji Park, tree climbing will be held from May 3rd to 5th, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00ap.m.. You can experience it with no charge.
 
* The photo is not an actual experience scene.

The Kasama Sky Lantern Festival will be held from 6:00 p.m. on May 1, 2021.
 
For the most adventurous, during the event you can try your hand at tree climbing
 
A Spectacular Sea of Azaleas! Kasama Tsutsuji Park

 

For the duration of the Azalea Festival, entry to the park does require a fee. However during the rest of the year you can get in for free and enjoy the view over Kasama city.

 

Information

Kasama Azalea Festival | 笠間つつじまつり
Event period: 17 April to 9 May 2021 
*the event is usually held in the period from mid-April to early May
*The schedule is subject to change depending on blooming conditions
Place: Kasama Tsutsuji Park (616-7 Kasama, Kasama-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture)
Fee: Adults (high school students and older) 500 yen. Free for junior high school students and younger
Website (Japanese-only): Kasama City official website
 https://www.city.kasama.lg.jp/page/dir000005.html
*Please check the official website for event details before your visit.


 

Accompany Your Azalea Viewing Experience With a Renown Pottery Festival

One of the things Kasama City is famous for is its pottery, called Kasama-yaki. Every year from April 29th to May 5th, the largest pottery fair in Kasama, the Kasama no Himatsuri, is held.
*Dates for the 2021 Himatsuri Festival are to be determined.
 
Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival

The best thing about this festival is that all the potters of Kasama gather in one place, and you can see a variety of their works. This means more than 200 potters and an even wider selection of products. Since there are no strict rules about using a certain shape or style for Kasama Pottery, the artists can really show their individuality in their work. You can pick up and feel each piece to find the perfect texture, thickness and color for you. 
As another perk of the Himatsuri, some potters sells their wares at a discounted price just for the event. The popular ones tend to sell out in the first half of the festival, so it's first come first served!
 

Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival

 

Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival


As for any respectable festival, the Himatsuri features a variety of food stalls that serve local dishes from Kasama and Ibaraki.
 
Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival
Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival
Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival
Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival
Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival
Kasama no Himatsuri - Pottery Festival
 
Inside the festival venue is also the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of Kasama Pottery and check out the pottery art displays.
 
Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum
 

Information

Kasama no Himatsuri | 笠間の陶炎祭
Event period: April 29 to May 5 2021
*the event is usually held in the period from mid-April to early May
Place: Kasama Geijutsu no Mori Park Event Space (2345 Kasama, Kasama-shi, Ibaraki Prefecture)
Website (Japanese-only): https://www.himatsuri.net/
*Please check the official website for event details before your visit.
 

Kasama Himatsuri Festival Limited Time Tour Bus

A tour bus runs during the Kasama Himatsuri Festival. This bus goes around Kasama Tsutsuji Park, Kasama Himatsuri Festival, Kasama Inari Shrine, etc. One ride is 100 yen.

http://www.himatsuri.net/access.php
 
Source: Kasama Himatsuri Official Website

Beautiful Contrast of Purple and Red! Wisteria Flowers at Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine

The Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine is considered to be one of the three major inari shrines in Japan. People usually visit it to pray for business prosperity, but in early May the gorgeous wisteria flowers steal the show and draw many more visitors to the shrine.

 
Wisteria Flowers at Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine
 

Wisteria Flowers at Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine

 

Wisteria Flowers at Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine

Information

Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine | 笠間稲荷神社
Address: 1 Kasama, Kasama-shi, Ibaraki
Website: http://www.kasama.or.jp/english/index.html
 

Street Food Along Kasama Inari Monzen-Dori!

Kasama City has a lot of delicious local dishes that you should try. After visiting the Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine, we strolled around the area and tried some Kasama specialties. Read on to see our finds!
  

■Kasama Inari Sushi

Inari sushi is vinegared rice wrapped in fried tofu, and it can be found all over Japan. The Kasama variety is special because it uses a lot of ingredients like soba noodles, walnuts and maitake mushrooms to enrich this simple dish. Each shop has a different style so be sure to try a few!
 
Kasama Inari Sushi
 

■Strawberry Parfait

Place: Okai Shouten | 岡井商店(MAP
This greengrocer is right in front of the Torii gate of the Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine. On the second floor is a café space where you can enjoy this seasonal sweet.
 
Strawberry Parfait - OKAI
 
Okai Shouten
 

■Chestnut Cream Puffs

Place: Kashi Koubou Fuku | 菓子工房 福(MAP
Officially called "Kasama Shuukuri", these cream puffs are filled with chestnuts, one of Kasama's local products. Take out is available, and if you order a drink you can use the café space on the second floor.
 
Chestnut Cream Puffs
 

■Tomato Amazake

Place: Sasame Soubee Shouten(MAP
This sake brewery also serves amazake, a popular low-alcohol (sometimes non-alcohol) drink made from fermented rice that's considered to be very healthy and nutritious.
 
Tomato Amazake
 

■Manju

Place: Nakaya Souhonten | 中屋総本店(MAP
This shop sells hot homemade manju, a traditional steamed soft cake. The sweet red bean paste filling comes in two varieties: koshian (smooth) and tsubuan (chunky).
 

Nakaya Souhonten

 

Manju

 

Seasonal Goshuin at Shofuku-Ji Temple

Goshuin is a sort of "proof of visit" seal that is given out at temples and shrines. They usually include a red stamp and hand-written calligraphy that state the name of the temple, the date of your visit, and sometimes the temple's symbol or a prayer. People often collect them as a souvenir of their visit. The Sashirosan Shofuku-Ji Temple is on the way to Kasama Tsutsuji Park, so make sure you pay a visit! It has different goshuin designs for each month.
 
Shofuku-Ji Temple
 

Bonus: We Found Some Small Koinobori (Carp Streamers)!

If you stop by the Kasama History Exchange Center Izutsuya, they have tiny carp streamers on display during this period. Can you spot them in the picture?
 
Kasama History Exchange Center Izutsuya
 
On the first floor is also a tourist information center where you can get info about Kasama. The museum offers free Wi-Fi.
 
Kasama History Exchange Center Izutsuya
 

Enjoy Azaleas, Pottery and Gourmet Food in Kasama During Japan's Golden Week!

To summarize, during the same period you have the Kasama Azalea Festival and the Himatsuri pottery festival, as well as the Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine and other attractions nearby. If you visit Kasama in spring there are plenty of seasonal flowers and events to enjoy!
 
Enjoy Azaleas, KASAMA

 

Access Information

■Kasama City Tour Bus

A bus that takes you to major sightseeing spots in the city.
Fare: 100 yen per ride, 300 yen for a one-day unlimited ride ticket.
Operation: 8 rides per day (excluding Mondays). If Monday is a national holiday the suspension of service is moved to the following day

Kasama City Tour Bus Route Map (PDF)
 
Kasama City Tour Bus
 

■Bicycle Rental

You can rent a bicycle at the tourist information center in front of Kasama Station. Here you can also find handy maps and pamphlets with sightseeing information.
Fee: 300 yen for the whole day (500 yen for electric bicycles)
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. from November to March)
 

Kasama Bicycle Rental

 

Bicycle Rental

 

■How to get to Kasama from Tokyo

By bus: about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Adults 1,650 yen
Route: Akihabara Station → [Highway Bus Yakimono Liner] → Kasama Station and other places in Kasama City

Click here for more information about the Yakimono Liner
 
Highway Bus Yakimono Liner

By train: about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Adults 3,560 yen
Route: Tokyo Station → [JR Joban Line Limited Express] → Tomobe Station → [JR Mito Line] → Kasama Station
 

■How to get to Kasama from Ibaraki Airport


There is a bus service from Ibaraki Airport to Mito Station about once an hour. From Mito Station, it takes about 20 minutes to get to Kasama Station on the JR Joban Line.

Bus route: Ibaraki Airport → Mito Station
Fare: Expressway route: 1,050 yen for adults one way, regular road route: 1,160 yen for adults one way

Click here for more information about the Ibaraki Airport
 
Ibaraki Airport

*The above article is based on a coverage from April 2020.
*Some information has been updated on April 2021
*Event schedules and other information in this article are subject to change. Please check the official websites before your visit.
 

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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 02 25,2021 Author:DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team

 

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