Ibaraki prefecture is located at northeast part of Kanto region on Honshu island. It is the most populous region in Japan which includes metropolis Tokyo.
Ibaraki is famous for Kairakuen garden in prefectural capital, Mito but it is not such a touristic prefecture as like other northern Kanto region's prefectures, Tochigi or Gunma. Does it mean Ibaraki is not worth to visit? The answer is no.
Kashima, a city located in southeast of Ibaraki is known to everyone as home of Kashima Antlers, a Japanese football club which never fell from J league, a premier league of Japanese football league since its establishment. Unfortunately, not so many people know that Kashima is a place where non-football fans can enjoy too. The most important tourist destination is Kashima jingu shrine.
Kashima jingu is the highest rank shinto shrine in Ibaraki prefecture. It is also a place where an imperial envoy performs rituals. Then, it is one of the eight shrines which Japanese emperor prays from the imperial palace on New year's day. It is told that established in 600BC. The shrine is quite large area and there is a pond called Mitarashi-ike which is one of the seven wonders of Kashima. The wonder is that water level will not exceed higher than the chest of anyone who stands inside the pond, even a child. Also there are more than thirty deer are kept inside the deer garden. Kashima literally means Deer island.
To get to Kashima Jingu, take JR Kashima line to Kashima jingu station. There are through trains from Chiba, Narita or Sawara stations on JR Narita line. From Tokyo station, take JR Sobu main line rapid train to Narita and change to Narita line bound for Choshi or Sawara. Then, change at Sawara station to Kashima line. From Kashima jingu station it is roughly ten minutes walk to the shrine. If you a coming from Mito, take Kashima Rinkai railway's Oarai Kashima line direct train to Kashima Jingu. Oarai Kashima line is officially till Kashima Soccer Stadium station but all trains continue to Kashima jingu station. Kashima Soccer Stadium - Kashima jingu belongs to JR Kashima line, which means Japan Rail Pass can be used.
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