Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Activities at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

This service includes sponsored advertisements.
article thumbnail image

Kasumigaura in Ibaraki Prefecture, the second-largest lake in Japan, is accessible in about an hour from Tokyo. Since ancient times, fish caught at the lake have been made into sweet-salty tsukudani dishes. This article features a tsukudani product with attractions and sightseeing spots in the area!...

Latest update :

A Popular Day Trip Destination from Tokyo

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second Largest Lake in Japan

Kasumigaura, located in southeastern Ibaraki, is Japan's second-largest lake, measuring 252 kilometers in circumference. It is a popular sightseeing spot in the Kanto region, about an hour away from Tokyo.

There are various attractions while enjoying the lake view, such as boarding a traditional fishing boat (hobikibune) or the cycling course.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Kasumigaura, a freshwater lake, boasts an abundance of seafood, such as wakasagi (pond smelt), shira-uo (Japanese icefish), and shrimp. Many fishery processing plants are in the area, delivering unique local products.

This article features prominent attractions around Kasumigaura, along with local food and souvenir shops.

Recommended Activity No. 1: Hobikibune

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Hobikibune is the name of a fishing boat used in this area. It is propelled by a sail while dragging a net in the water. The vessel was created in 1880 and played a major role in Kasumigaura for about 90 years until 1967.

Since motorboats are now used for fishing, the hobikibune has become obsolete.

Having said that, the beauty of its form and the elegant style of fishing cannot be denied. It is now a tourist attraction in Kasumigaura.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Skilled fishers will board the hobikibune.

Tourists will board an accompanying boat as they watch the sail being raised. Visitors will also get a grand view of the vessel against the backdrop of the blue sky.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

The boat will circle around the hobikibune. The sails are so powerful that you will hear cheers from all over the ship, especially when you pass next to the bulging sail.

Be sure to have your camera ready while enjoying the boat ride and view, which lasts for 30 minutes.

The hobikibune sails on Sundays from late July to mid-November. Make a reservation two days before the cruise via the official website of the Kasumigaura City Tourist Association (Japanese).

Recommended Activity No. 2: Cycling

Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road

Photo by Pixta

Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road, a cycling course, is another attraction that should not be missed!

The course stretches for 180 kilometers, including a route around the lake, where cyclists can take in the stunning view.

Visitors can rent bicycles at Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura, located next to JR Tsuchiura Station. There are various routes, such as an easy flat road or a challenging uphill climb.

Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring-Ring Road,

At Kasumigaura Comprehensive Park, visitors can enjoy the tulips in spring. Photo by Pixta.

Located along the routes are Ayumizaki Park, where visitors can watch the hobikibune, and Kasumigaura Comprehensive Park, famous for its beautiful windmill.

There are also rest stops and public toilets along the way so cyclists can enjoy a leisurely ride.

Tsukudani: A Special Food Product to Try in Kasumigaura

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Tsukudani produced by Onuma Suisan

At Kasumigaura, visitors should try tsukudani, a unique Japanese processed marine product.

This traditional preserved food is made by boiling small fish in soy sauce and sugar. Tsukudani is a beloved product that can be used as a topping on rice or an ingredient in onigiri (rice ball). It has been a household favorite for a long time!

The area has prospered in making tsukudani since the lake is teeming with small fish.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Onuma Suisan, established in 1904, is one of the companies producing tsukudani in the area.

During the early days, when modern technology for processing and preserving the material was unavailable, Onuma boiled fish in salt and sun-dried it. Once soy sauce and sugar became the norm, the company started making tsukudani.

Their product is unique because it's meant to be refrigerated or stored frozen.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Typical tsukudani is made by long hours of boiling and can be kept at room temperature. But those products tend to have a strong flavor and hard texture.

"Supermarkets and megastores ask for tsukudani that can be displayed at room temperature, which is easy to handle, rather than a product that tastes better."

"Our company aims to make tsukudani that tastes nice and is soft enough for senior citizens. While it may require extra care, our product is something customers will want to buy again."

These are the words of Mr. Toshiya Onuma, the executive director of Onuma Suisan.

Onuma Suisan

Picture courtesy of Onuma Suisan

In fact, tsukudani is popular with senior citizens, who hope to maintain good health and prefer food with a soft texture.

Onuma Suisan makes tsukudani that is wholesome and easy to chew by shortening the boiling time.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Wakasagi ame-ni, a variation of tsukudani simmered in sweetened soy sauce.

Tsukudani using wakasagi (smelt), a specialty product of Kasumigaura, is known for its soft texture. The taste is simultaneously sweet and salty, crumbling with each bite.

While the fish may be small, it is plump and pairs well with warm rice.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

In addition to wakasagi, Onuma uses shrimp, kelp, asari (short-neck clam), and ami (opposum shrimp) in their tsukudani. Products made from shirasu (young sardine) or kounago (sand lance) are mixed with walnut, which adds a crunchy texture, so it is fit for those trying tsukudani for the first time.

The direct sales shop next to the Onuma factory carries these products at a special price.

*Ame-ni and kanro-ni are both variations of tsukudani with a sweet taste.

Kasumi Kitchen and Kasumi Marche: Drop by This Gourmet Spot When Visiting Kasumigaura

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

Kasumi Kitchen is a lakeside eatery, using speciality products from Kasumigaura City.

They serve tasty dishes made from local products, with their mottos being "local production for local consumption" and "using wholesome ingredients."

Kasumi Kitchen

Picture courtesy of Kasumigaura Miraizukuri Company

One of those dishes is the shira-uo don, a bowl of rice topped with fresh fish.

The soft texture of shira-uo is heightened by adding soy sauce and ginger. Those tasting raw shira-uo for the first time should have no trouble enjoying this dish.

There are other menu items, such as Hitachi beef tendon curry and ground carp-meat cutlet burger.

Kasumigaura: Enjoy Food and Attractions at the Second-Largest Lake in Japan

After satisfying your hunger, visit Kasumi Marche, located next to Kasumi Kitchen, to look for souvenirs to take home to friends and families.

In addition to seafood, Kasumigaura is known for producing renkon (lotus root). The market carries a wide variety of local vegetables and fruits, delivered fresh from the farms.

The products are also sold on the online store (Japanese), so visitors can order their favorite items.

Additional Attractions and Events

While Kasumigaura is the second largest lake in the country, there are other popular sightseeing spots in the area.

Ushiku Daibutsu

Photo by Pixta

Ushiku City is the home of Ushiku Daibutsu, the largest statue of Buddha in Japan. Towering 120 meters in height, it is registered as the tallest bronze Buddha statue in the Guinness World Records.

The statue's interior is divided into rooms displaying the various aspects of Buddhism. There is a garden and a zoo on the grounds as well.

From the Daibutsu, it is a five-minute bus ride to Ami Premium Outlets, an ideal shopping spot to visit after sightseeing.

Mount Tsukuba

Photo by Pixta

Mount Tsukuba, located in Tsukuba City, ranks among the most famous mountains in Japan. It's fit for novice climbers and has a ropeway as well, so visitors can enjoy the natural setting.

There are various events and historic spots in the area, such as the Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition: one of the three major Japanese competitions. Another spot is Fujimizuka Kofun Park, where a keyhole-shaped tomb built in the sixth century is preserved.

A trip to Kasumigaura will be filled with memories of fine food and attractions!

Written by nagino.an.
Sponsored by the Reconstruction Fishery Processing Industry Market Recovery Promotion Center

Written by



Tokyo, Japan

MATCHA's promotional account for corporate and local government advertising. We aim to provide useful information to our readers in an enjoyable manner.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.