The Kairakuen was built relatively recently, in 1841, by the local prince Tokugawa Nariaki. In contrast to the two other great landscape gardens of Japan, Kenrokuen and Korakuen, Kairakuen was not only for the pleasure of the ruling prince, but was also for open to the public, Kairakuen means "Park to Enjoy Together" ".
The garden consists of a forest with 3000 trees with over a hundred different plum tree varieties with white, pink and red flowers. The Mito Plum Festival (Mito Ume Matsuri) takes place annually from mid-February to March. In addition to the plum trees, Kairakuen also has a bamboo grove, cedar forests and the Kobuntei, a traditional Japanese-style building. Like the entire park, the Kobuntei was always open to the public and served educational and recreational purposes. From the top floor of the building there is a beautiful view of Kairakuen and the nearby Senba Lake.
Hidden in the back of a building, with only a very simply sign advertising it, is one of Mito’s best-kept secrets. Rin is an exquisite little café on the ground floor of one of the many eponymous buildings near the Daiku area of Mito, featuring a soothing and relaxing atmosphere and delicious home-style meals.
Finally reopened after several long months of reconstruction, Mito’s historically rich Kobuntei could be considered the jewel in the crown of the city’s famous Kairakuen. With its delicately painted wall-screens and stunning views of the surrounding countryside, this former aristocratic villa offers a glimpse at a different lifestyle.
One of Mito’s landmark attractions is the beautiful Lake Senba, a part of the famous Kairakuen Park. Though it is a man-made lake, this has allowed the city to incorporate many attractive features that make it a mainstay of life for many residents, and there are several different facets to enjoy at any given time.
Senba Park in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture is around 67 hectares. With its lake and open space, the park is great for families and children. Many wild birds can be found there and the park is close to the famous Kairakuen Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.