Tokoyonokuni. Oarai

Morning in Oarai. The sun rising on the horizon. The sea and the clouds, those who live in town and those on the ship, those who are sleeping and those who are not, are illuminated, and the world turns a peaceful golden color.

Long ago, a large part of Ibaraki Prefecture was called Hitachinokuni. The Hitachinokuni Fudoki, written in the Nara period, states, "People in the past said that the land was wide and fertile, and the blessings of the mountains and the sea were abundant, similar to Tokoyonokuni (an ideal land of immortality far beyond the sea)." The seaside area that is now Oarai was part of Kashima County in Hitachinokuni. Beginning with the establishment of Oarai Isosaki Yakushi Bosatsu Myojin in the Heian period, the town was developed over and over again with the wish for peace and tranquility in this world like in Tokoyonokuni. Over the ages, the town has interacted with nature, overcoming natural disasters and the ravages of war to become the resort area it is today.

Tokoyonokuni, Oarai, Uminosato

Uminosato, where people live by the sea

Oarai is a small coastal town that stretches south of the mouth of the Naka River and is surrounded by sea, rivers, and lakes. On the eastern side of the town, reefs and sand dunes form the shoreline. On the reefs is the Oarai Stratum, an exposed geosite that was created in the Cenozoic period. The waves of the Pacific Ocean lap against the shoreline, creating an ambient sound of soothing water.

The Naka River estuary, Hiroura reclaimed land, Hinuma River, and Lake Hinuma on the north and west sides of the town were once a vast lagoon (area with brackish water where fresh water and sea water mix) known as Atakana no Minato. It is now split into rivers and lakes. The tidal force of the moon causes the ebb and flow of the sea, which in turn causes water to flow back and forth between lakes and the sea, creating a rich ecosystem.

Tokoyonokuni, Oarai, Uminosato
Oarai Town and surrounding topography Source: GSI|GSI Map 3D (modified by Shunsuke Hirose in 2023)

Oarai Town has about 103 excavated historical sites of various sizes, including the remains of dwellings and ancient burial mounds left by our ancestors, some dating back to the Jomon period. People have lived and made their living in this area since ancient times under the blessed water system.

The sun shines brightly in the seaside sky today. The joy of living with the abundant waves, and the gentle ebb and flow. We refer to Oarai as Uminosato with affection for our everyday lives. We encourage you to visit us from time to time to escape your daily routine. Come and soak in the golden waves and wind, watch the calm movement of water, fish up the river, and meet the people of Uminosato.

Places to stay

Oarai Town is located in the central region of Ibaraki Prefecture and is divided into four areas.

Staying area MAP