The area around Tsuchiura Castle and Kijo Park is the location of a number of historic storehouses or kura in Japanese.
As you walk from Tsuchiru Station the buildings are sign-posted to your left as you proceed towards the castle. The area of Nakajo-dori Street evokes a bygone era with its granite paving stones and retro lights. The electric cables have been largely buried in this district to preserve its historic atmosphere.
The four storehouses that make up the Tsuchiura Machikado Kura Daitoku are: Mise Kura, Sode Kura, Moto Kura and Mukai Kura. The buildings date from the end of the Edo Period and have been converted into shops, cafes (where you can sample the local curry) and exhibition spaces. You can also rent a bicycle here.
Another storehouse, the Tsuchiura Machikado Kura Nomura was the main storehouse of the Nomura merchant family.
Also in the area just south of Kijo Park are the Togakuji and Tokoji temples. Togakuji Temple is known for its historic, 13th century copper bell rung at New Year. Tokoji dates from 1607 and is visited by people with eye problems to pray for a cure.
The Yaguchi Family Residence was built as a fire resistant structure after a fire in 1841. The Nurigome plaster finish provides protection in case of a blaze.
The Ryotei Kagetsuro was constructed as a traditional restaurant in 1889 and has served the likes of aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who was Japan's naval commander during World War II and post-war Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru. The building has historical documents dating from the war and the landing of the Graf Zeppelin in Tsuchiura in 1929.
Finally, the small Kofuku Inari Shrine was built as a miniature copy of Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.
Tsuchiura can be reached by the Joban Line from Tokyo's Ueno Station, Tokyo Station and Shinagawa Station. The Super Hitachi (now simply Hitachi) and Fresh Hitachi (Tokiwa) are the fastest trains, taking about 45 minutes from Ueno. A local train is 1 hour and 15 minutes. From Mito the journey is 30 minutes by express or 45 minutes on a local train.
From Tsukuba Station there are Kanto Tetsudo Buses (30 minutes; 510 yen).
Inside Track Japan For Kindle