Just located in the northern part of the Kanto region, golf courses in Ibaraki are within easy reach of Tokyo and Narita/Haneda International Airports. Surrounded by diverse nature including sea, mountains, rivers and lakes, it is no surprise that Ibaraki is well renowned as the ‘treasure trove of golf courses’. Boasting 114 golf courses in just the prefecture itself, Ibaraki actually holds the 5th largest number of golf courses in Japan.
Blessed with the warm climate and few snowfalls, it is very enjoyable to play golf in winter. 10 Ibaraki golf courses have previously hosted Japan’s finest tournaments and casual courses are also available at the weekday rate of only around 4,000 yen. Ibaraki golfing ranges from flat courses overlooking the stunning view of the ocean to forest hilly courses, it is sure to suit every golfer’s needs, even for those on a budget. Uniquely, some Ibaraki golf courses are equipped with golfing Segways, a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric personal transportation vehicle. More golfers seem to be aiming for an alternative and unique way to get around the golf course with these special transports.
Ibaraki can be described as one of the ‘lucky’ prefectures of Japan ever since the Edo Period as people in Ibaraki have been well off since the old days. From colourful flower plains to a myriad of Sake Breweries, Ibaraki holds some of Japan’s richest and secret spots not made wholly aware to many Australians. Ibaraki is located in the Kanto region of Japan, northeast of Tokyo along the Pacific Coast. It is an area with an abundance of Japanese culture and its tradition flows from its beautiful natural surroundings, multitude of shrines and delicious food. Due to Ibaraki’s strong cultural traditions, the prefecture holds a range of different activities such as seasonal festivals, art exhibitions, art and music festivals. Cultural promotion is a big part of the people of Ibaraki’s lives as the area represents richness of the mind and improvement in life.
The best way to get to Ibaraki from Tokyo is via the JR Joban Line from Ueno Station. You can access major Ibaraki stations from Narita using the JR Narita Line.
From Kansai airport, you can fly to Haneda airport and take the express train which is a 3.5 hour trip. Alternatively, you can ride the train for 5 hours and 30 minutes with multiple transfers along the way.
From Haneda airport, there is an express bus directly from the airport to Ibaraki’s capital Mito which takes 2.5 hours. From Narita Airport, there is a direct bus to Mito which takes 2 hours. Currently, there are no buses scheduled for Kasama.
200 Okura, Hokota-shi, Ibaraki
This is a purpose-built course to cater the world-renowned golfers and meet the world’s highest standards to assure that an exceptional experience can be achieved in Japan. Not only accommodating to international golfers but it is designed to provide an ideal environment to develop the skills of domestic golfers too, raising the standard of Japanese golfing. To achieve this concept, a well-structured Links style course was built, to provide beautifully blending in with the natural surroundings. The course spans 8,143 yards in total, which is very rare for a Japanese golf course given that land is very limited in Japan. The longest hole is 705 yards. Each hole consists of hazards such as bunkers and water areas, which are all strategically placed as the golfers are required to make decisions using their management skills and precise shot making. Immersed in the vast landscapes, golfers can enjoy a variety of nature, enhancing their memorable golfing experience.
Since 2018, THE ROYAL GOLF CLUB has been hosting the ‘Mizuno Open’ which is a prestigious professional golf tournament in Japan. Its reputation does not only come from hosting Japan’s leading events but the exceptional and wide range of facilities to suit day trips or extended holidays. 4 types of rooms are available which are- The Suite, Corner Deluxe Twin Room, Deluxe Twin Room and Double Room. The guest’s rooms offer superior services to accommodate guests in a relaxed and natural environment by incorporating wooden decorations and furniture, which lends warmth and comfortability to the space. After golfing, golfers can treat themselves with a high-quality meal served at the on-site restaurant or have a few drinks at the bar while enjoying the beauty of the sunset. THE ROYAL GOLF CLUB makes for a comfortable day trip from the hustle and bustle of the city.
1050-1 Seraku, Omitama-shi, Ibaraki
This is a signature and one of the most prestigious golf courses in Japan, given that it was designed by Jack Nicklaus, a legendary American golfer and the world’s acknowledged leader in golf course design. Among the 26 courses Jack designed in Japan, he successfully embedded the layout of the vast nature and he himself highly praised his work by describing it as ‘the best golf course that I know in Japan.’ His word has been proven true, as it was voted the best golf course in Japan for 2002 and 2003 by Par Golf, Golf Digest and JGTO. The 7,071 yard is immersed in the stunning beauty of nature. The fairway and the greens are surrounded by trees and lakes. ISHIOKA GOLF CLUB challenges the players with its tight fairways which are lined by mature trees. Golfers will need to utilize all of their 14 clubs in order to complete this course.
This is relatively a flat course since the elevation change is only 4 metres between its highest and the lowest point. It is a world-class course with a high degree of strategy required, in a beautiful place with stunning nature. Nicklaus has placed various obstacles throughout the courses including the iconic bush, ponds and hazards where there are many risk and rewards for all levels of golfers including pro, senior and female players, making them want to play again and again. It has a proven track record for hosting high-profile tournaments including the ACOM INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT for 8 consecutive years. It offers a full practice facility complete with a 330yard driving range, putting green and chipping green.
952 Sanga, Omitama-shi, Ibaraki
TAIHEIYO CLUB is a boutique golf operation boasting 18 golf clubs across Japan. Many of their courses hold professional tournaments and the Taiheiyo Minori course is one of these layouts. Minori is about an hour ride from Narita International airport or just over an hour by train from the centre of Tokyo. The Minori course makes use of the beautiful surrounding countryside and although the surrounding land is relatively flat the Minori course has some undulation making the course both interesting and challenging. The large rolling bent greens and the beautifully manicured fairways are the strengths of the course. The course is a great test for all skill levels as it has an abundance of tee boxes to choose from creating an environment where everyone feels welcome. In 2016, 2017 and 2020 the TOTO Classic was played at the Minori course. This is a co-sanctioned event between the Japan and US Ladies professional golf associations. Former number 1 players ShanShan Feng and Jiyai Shin were both winners of this very prestigious tournament.
While some of the Japanese clubs struggle to overcome language barriers, the english speaking staff and caddies available at TAIHEIYO Minori makes communication very simple. TAIHEIYO CLUB actively promotes Japan as an ideal golfing destination and since 2015 they began reciprocal and affiliate agreements with some of the best courses in the world. Two of those clubs are in Australia with THE NATIONAL GOLF CLUB and COMMONWEALTH GOLF CLUB among these partners. The memberships of both clubs enjoy great benefits when travelling and playing golf in Japan.
The signature hole at TAIHEIYO Minori is the par 3 3rd hole where the green is almost totally surrounded by a pond.It is a challenging hole where golfers are required to hot a precise short iron to hold the sloping green. The par 4 18th hole is a memorable finish to a wonderful layout. The penultimate hole is a long dogleg right where the tee shot should be aimed to the left side to avoid the bunker on the right. Players will then have to navigate the water hazard that guards the right side of the green and at the same time hold what is a relatively shallow green for such a difficult approach.The Minori course as well as the TAIHEIYO hospitality is an opportunity that should not be missed.
1006-9 Komaki, Namegata-shi, Ibaraki
Here are some of the top things to do and see in Ibaraki Prefecture in addition to the exceptional golf experiences.
While you’re in Kasama, visit one of Japan’s largest Inari Okami shrines. Kasama Inari Shrine is one of the three largest Inari shrines in all of Japan with a history spanning 1360 years, rumoured to have been founded in 651 during Emperor Kotoku’s reign. Here the Japanese people worship the God of rich harvest and prosperous business, if you also wish for prosperity, you may buy charms from the unique stores found in the shrine’s shopping district. Here, you can find Japan’s rich pottery culture and restaurants, be sure not to forget about trying the local Abura-age, a deep-fried tofu pouch loved by the God of Kasama Inari shrine!
1 Kasama, Kashima-shi, Ibaraki
Ibaraki is home to about 40 different sake breweries, one of which is Sudo Honke located in Kasama. Sudo Honke is to date the oldest kura brewing company still brewing to this day! Their brewing method is based on being environmentally friendly, as their philosophy says “Good sake made with good rice, good rice grows on good soil, good soil contains good water, good water is gathered by good trees”. Due to Ibaraki being surrounded by a pure and clean environment, you can learn the craftsmanship of Sudo Honke’s Sake as well as marvel at the beautiful scenery at the same time!
2125 Obara, Kasama-shi, Ibaraki
One of 3 of the most famous gardens in Japan. In 1841, the garden was built not only for the feudal lord, but for the public to enjoy, kairakuen meaning “park to be enjoyed together”. There is a cedar forest, cherry blossoms, azaleas, bamboo trees, Japanese plums and clovers scattered throughout the garden. With Senba Lake, plum trees, and a prairie located near the park, there is a spectacular view from the third floor of the ‘Kobuntei’, which is a three-story historic structure.
1 Tokiwa-cho, Mito-shi, Ibaraki
Meat that can give Australian beef a run for its money, Hitachiwagyu beef is a quality brand of beef. The highly evaluated meat is lean, with just the right amount of thin layers of fat. There are many great restaurants throughout Ibaraki that serve delicious Hitachi beef dishes.
East of the capital of Ibaraki, Mito, lies Hitachi Seaside Park located in Hitachinaka, a 350-hectare park containing a variety of seasonal flowers and green fields. The park possesses 7 different fields (Dune, Forest, Pleasure garden, Grassland, etc.) each providing different scenery and colours. Its most recognised flower is the blue nemophila, upon Miharashi Hill, these flowers are as blue as the sky, particularly blooming from mid-April to early May. In the Autumn, the Kokia gradually changes colour as the temperature drops, and the entire hill turns red in mid-October.
605-4 Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka-shi, Ibaraki
Natto, or fermented soybeans, are infamous for being healthy and granting beauty. The usual method for eating natto is stir thoroughly with chopstick and place it over rice. Ibaraki has been producing natto for a long time, and Mito became known for its natto because the surrounding areas produced an abundance of smaller-sized soybeans, which were perfect for the food.