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ItakoItako mapItako is a city located at the southeast part of Ibaraki Prefecture.

The central area of the city faces Hitachi-Tone River flowing from Lake Kasumigaura.
To the south of the city, there is Sawara city in Chiba Prefecture.
This area including Itako, Kashima and Sawara has many rivers, canals and lakes.
We can enjoy the waterscape. So this area is called "Suigo" (the land with water).

Itako is famous for Japanese iris. (In Japanese, it is called "ayame".)
Along Maekawa River flowing into Hitachi-Tone River, there is Maekawa Ayame Garden.
There are more than one million Japanese irises in this garden, so we can see the white or purple flowers from late May to June.

In this period, Suigo-Itako Ayame Festival are held here.
It has many events such as the shows of the folk music and dance, and the fair of iris.

Especially most attractive event is "Yomeiribune" ("Bridal boat" in English).
Since old period, the people in this area had passed through the canals by boat as the community road.
Then the bride also had married into the groom's family by boat. This had been rare in the country.
In 1960 a popular song of this bridal boat became a big hit, then this custom had become known all over Japan.

Times are changing, so today the custom has gone.
Then this fastival revived the custom in 1985. Since that, this has been the main event of this festival.
Of course, the bride boardind the boat is real, and it is one of the events in her wedding ceremony.
All visitors congratulate her there.

From Maekawa Ayame Garden, the sightseeing boat to Katouzu-Juunikyo in Sawara city leave.
And there is the boat tour along the Juunikyo of Maekawa River.

See the page of Sawara in Chiba Prefecture.

The three cities on Waterfront

How to get to here

By railroad

From Narita, get on the local train on JR Narita Line and Kashima Line.
It takes about 50 minutes to Itako.
To Narita station, use JR Sobu Line from Tokyo through Chiba.
(It is inconvenient a little.)

By express buses

Get on the bus to Hokota station at Tokyo station.
It takes 1 hour and 47 minutes to Itako station.

Maekawa River
Maekawa Ayame Garden
Irises in Maekawa Ayame Garden
Yomeiribune (Bridal Boat)

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