Mito City, Ibaraki

Mito city is the capital of Ibaraki prefecture and is rich in nature especially with its beautiful gardens such as "Kairaku-en", considered to be one of Japan's three most celebrated garden parks. It is 18 acres and dates back to 1842 featuring beautiful plum blossoms (ume) which normally bloom in late February or early March.

Natto is a traditional Japanese breakfast food that is a Mito culinary specialty. Made from fermented soybeans, it is a rich source of protein. For some, natto can be an acquired taste due to its powerful smell, strong flavor, and sticky consistency. In Japan, natto is most popular in the eastern regions of the country.

With a strong focus on promoting culture and the arts, Mito has several places to visit including the Tokugawa Museum which features artwork from former clan lords. There is also the Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art as well as the Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of Mito, displaying a range of regional history spanning from ancient to modern time. And lastly, symbolizing Mitos place as an active city of culture is the unique Art Tower Mito.

Find out more about the Mito City Local Organizing Committee in Japanese at http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~wci310/

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