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One Day in Oarai

Bus schedules may vary depending on the day (weekday vs weekend, and national holidays; annual bus and train schedule changes may also apply), so make sure to double check the official schedule before planning your commute! A recommended model course is available below, but feel free to explore as you go.

Use the following sites and apps to plan your day:
(for reference: 大洗 Oarai; 水戸 Mito)

  •     English bus schedule (August 2019): “Getting around Oarai” tab


  •     Train travel site (in English, Japanese, Chinese): 



  •     Train schedule (in Japanese): 


  •     Other Oarai travel information (in Japanese): 



8am onwards



Take the Oarai-Kashima line train from Mito in the morning; arrive in Oarai after 15 minutes or so.

Next, start your Oarai day with a visit to Aquaworld Oarai!
Take the Kaiyu-go loop bus service (Aquaworld Oarai Route) bound for Aquaworld Oarai. If you plan to use the bus a lot, buy the Hop-on Hop-off ticket for ¥200 from the driver when boarding the bus. 
If Aquaworld is not your thing, and you came to Oarai for the beach experience, you want to jump onto the Kaiyu-go Oarai Sun Beach Route service from Oarai Station (get off at the Sun Beach Kaigan bus stop). 

Arrive at Aquaworld Oarai. Sightseeing time! 
The dolphin & sea lion show is especially recommended for parents with children. Also, do not miss out on the penguins! At Aquaworld Oarai you can learn about the Japanese sea life, including the notorious jellyfish, which flood the Oarai beaches in late August.  

Once you’ve finished touring Aquaworld, take the Kaiyu-go bus service going towards the city, and get off at the Oarai Isosaki Shrine bottom bus stop.


12pm onwards

Walk down the stairs towards the coast to enjoy the spectacular Kamiiso Torii, the Gate at the Beach of the Gods. Kamiiso Torii resembles a window overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and it’s especially popular at sunrise, when you can see the Sun rising directly behind the gate. 
Go back the way you came from and climb the long stone steps to reach Isosaki Shrine, home to the spiritual side of Oarai. On top of enjoying a quiet moment to yourself, you can discover what your future holds by drawing omikuji (a bargain at only ¥100 per fortune)! 

Either board the Kaiyu-go bus service (from the Isosaki Shrine bottom bus stop), or take a stroll towards the city centre to explore the area around the port and the Mentai Park (get off at the Gyoko-iriguchi Fishing Port entrance). 

Mentai Park is a strange yet great attraction on its own: originally a walleye pollack roe factory (called “mentai” in Japanese, usually salted and spiced with red pepper), it now hosts a factory tour, a shop and a cafeteria where you get to try different foods made with mentai. Following the tradition of Japanese “weird” ice cream flavours, you can also try some mentai ice cream! Don’t be discouraged though, it really is tasty! 

If it’s delicious seafood lunch you’re after, then Kaachan no Mise is your spot! Found by the fishing market, it can also be reached by bus (Myojin-cho bus stop). Alternatively, walk a bit further (or hop off the bus close to Kosekiya/Town Hall entrance bus stops) to discover a selection of various shops, cafes and restaurants. Check our site for recommendations!


3pm onwards



Marine Tower is your next stop. It’s a stone’s throw from the fishing market, so savour this 10 minute-long exercise opportunity. Take the lift to the Marine Tower top floor to enjoy the Pacific Ocean view (as well as the local Ibaraki prefecture sights). On crisp winter days you may even spot Mt. Fuji in the distance!


If you’re a Girls und Panzer fan, you won’t be disappointed. Marine Tower hosts a G&P-themed café on the 2nd deck (PANZER VOR), so you can enjoy the views at a leisurely pace, with some delicious coffee or food in front of you. 

Alternatively, you can visit the Waku-Waku Science Museum, an interactive ocean-focused museum for children. Sadly, it’s all in Japanese, so you might consider that before your plan your visit.

At this point you might be feeling slightly tired, so use this opportunity to explore the Seaside Station, found right next to the Marine Tower. Seaside Station is Oarai’s little shopping district, with a range of shops including fresh food markets, drugstores, clothes shops, cafés (including the famous Saza Coffee), and even a ¥100 shop (called Seria).


5pm onwards

If you want to go back to Mito, simply take the Kaiyu-go bus Oarai Sun Beach Route service from the Marine Tower bus stop. It’ll take you to the Oarai Station, where you can board the Mito-headed train. On the other hand, the Oarai train station is only 15 minutes away on foot, so you’ll be fine even if you miss the bus.


Have you decided to stay in Oarai longer? Great, you can stay for dinner

Oarai is famous for its delicious (and cheap) food, so please take your time and discover the local diners and restaurants! For reference, you can use different internet sites, or pamphlets, guidebooks and maps found at the Oarai Town Hall, Tourist Information Centre and various sightseeing spots.

For instance, you can find some Japanese food recommendations on Oarai's official tourist website:


Don’t worry about extending your stay, the last train for Mito leaves at 10.48 pm (check online for changes), so you’ve got plenty of time to properly enjoy yourself!


You can also stay the night, with many accommodation options available at a different price range:

ex. http://www.oarai-info.jp/hotel.php

or simply search booking.com for Oarai hotels!


Other ideas & suggestions



Other Oarai attractions include:

The Museum of Bakumatsu and Meiji History (mostly in Japanese) and the Oarai camp site
take the Kaiyu-go bus Aquaworld Oarai Route service from Oarai Station and get off at the Museum of Bakumatsu and Meiji History entrance bus stop

Oarai Heitaro Bathing Beach and the Oarai Golf Club:
take the Kaiyu-go bus Aquaworld Oarai Route service from Oarai Station and get off at the Tourist Information Centre bus stop

Matsukawa - the village of the setting sun
take the Nacchan-go bus (Morning or Afternoon Route) going from the Oarai Station and get off at the Matsukawa Kyorei bus stop


Oarai Matsuri (festivals):

Hassaku Festival - summer festival, held at the end of August all around the town

Anko Festival - angler fish festival, held in November all around the town


Hot springs

Want to experience Japanese hot springs (onsen)? Oarai has got you covered! You can choose from a variety of options, and below are just some ideas:

Kanpo no Yado Oarai (かんぽの宿大洗)
For Kanpo no Yado, take the Kaiyu-go bus Aquaworld Oarai Route service from Oarai Station and get off at the Iwai-machi bus stop.

Ocean View Oarai (オーシャンビュー大洗)
For Ocean View Oarai, take the Kaiyu-go bus Aquaworld Oarai Route service from Oarai Station and get off at the Myojin-cho bus stop.

Yukkura Kenko-kan Leisure Centre (ゆっくら健康館)
For Yukkura Leisure Centre, take the Kaiyu-go bus Oarai Sun Beach Route service from the Oarai Station and get off at the Yukkura kenko-kan-mae bus stop.


Shiosai Hotspring (潮騒の湯)
For Shiosai Hotspring, take either the Kaiyu-go bus (Oarai Sun Beach Route or the Oarai South Route), or the Nacchan-go bus going from the Oarai Station and get off at the Maebara bus stop. 

There are some other recommended options nearby, so research the possibilities!
ex. https://onsen-trip.com/3407.html

You may also use this list of attractions and the nearby bus stops to plan your day:

Colours of the chart represent the loop bus line used to access a given spot:
Kaiyu-go (blue - Aquaworld Oarai, Orange - Oarai South, purple - Oarai Sun Beach), Nacchan-go (green), both (pink).

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