The Kasama Azalea Fair; held from late April to mid May, features 35,000 azalea bushes in bloom peaking in late April. It is located to the east of downtown Kasama (famous for its pottery). Ask for "Tsutsuji Koen." The Kasama Pottery Festival will also be taking place from May 1 - 5, and so the two would be a nice combo during Golden Week (though beware, the traffic during certain periods of Golden Week won't make you feel very "golden"!). The city of Kasama is also developing "Geijutsu no Mori Koen" ("Forest of Art Park"), a 54-hectare park featuring art displays, "hands on" art, etc, in a nature preserve atmosphere. Much of it is complete and now open, and it promises to be quite an attraction. Like many such facilities, it is closed on Mondays (or if that is a holiday, then the following day). The entrance fee is 300 yen. Definitely worth exploring. It is located a few km due east of Kasama Station off of route 355.
The Ryujin Carp Streamer (Koi Nobori) Festival will be held 4/20 - 5/ 12. Along Japan's longest suspension walking bridge (375 m.), there will be 300 giant "koi nobori" suspended above Ryujin Lake. It is located north of Mito, about a 2-hour drive from Tsukuba, not far from the famous Fukuroda Falls, one of the most spectacular in Japan. Both are well worth a visit. To get there, drive up the Joban to the Hitachi Minami Ota Exit and turn left onto Route 6. Then turn left again on Route 293 (a few hundred meters up Route 6). It's about 5 km from there to the junction with Route 349 (in Yamashita Town). Keep on 293 for another 2 km until it bends sharply to the left. Exit 293 at that point by going straight ahead for another km or so until you come to a main road. That is the road you want. It's called the Hitachi Ota - Daigo Sen. Turn left and proceed about 20 km. The dam, lake and bridge are on the left. Fukuroda no Taki (waterfall) is located about 15 km farther to the north. Turn left at the first main road (about 12 km up) and go across the pass. The falls are to the right.
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