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Cosmos are in full bloom in Kokaigawa Fureai Park in Shimotsuma, Ibaraki Prefecture. Image: PIXTA/HIRONU
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Ibaraki ranked ‘least attractive’ among Japan’s 47 prefectures in survey

36 Comments

The results of an annual online survey ranking Japan’s "attractive prefectures” has named Ibaraki as the “least attractive,” coming in at number 47.

The survey conducted by Brand Research Institute, a private research company, ranks the attractiveness and name recognition of all 47 prefectures. The survey conducted in June and July received around 34,000 valid responses.

This year, Ibaraki replaced Saga Prefecture as the least attractive. Saga ranked 46th (Ibaraki's spot last year).

At the other end, Hokkaido reigned supreme as the most attractive prefecture for the 15th consecutive year, followed by Kyoto and Okinawa in second and third place.

The annual survey has not been without controversy, with some Ibaraki prefectural residents commenting “Our attractiveness is not being fully conveyed, and we’d like to get the word out.”

Others have taken the ranking in stride by stating, “Perhaps we don’t need to worry about things like the liveability factors or number of tourists.”

Either way, the reaction to this ranking always comes with mixed reviews.

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36 Comments
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I for one very much like Ibaraki. Mito City is full of historical sites and a great garden, Kairakuen. There's also the beautiful old hermitage of Mito Komon in Hitachi Ota, and the waterfall at Fukuroda. Driving along the Kuji river is very relaxing. Ishioka has a natto museum. (No free samples, but they sell natto everywhere. Yummy!) And it's close enough to Tokyo to make it affordable and accessible.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Southern Ibaraki, yeah, sure. It’s an industrial belt of outer Tokyo. But northern Ibaraki is a different place all together, including Daigo and Hitachiomiya and other stops along the Apple Line. The survey results remind me that this region is my own little secret.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Ibaraki is nice but it's big with less rail network compared to Tokyo, there are times you will need to use bus if you don't have car.

https://wattention.com/ibaraki-a-land-of-charm/

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Where is Saitama on the list? It deserves to be last, tied with Aichi.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

I wonder if the ranking has anything to do with all the bosozoku and yanky boy punks in their stupid cars in ibaraki.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Where is Saitama on the list? It deserves to be last, tied with Aichi.

Third from bottom, just ahead of Saga and behind Gunma.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Boondocks go figure many of Chiba’s areas are also boondocks

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Well, my favourite is Osaka where I live. Not so interested in nature really, you know. I’m a City person and it suits me just fine I always found Aichi rather dull.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Lived in Ibaraki for more than twenty years. If this means fewer people coming here, then that’s all good. Don’t come. It’s nice and peaceful without the baggage.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

By how many votes did it actually take to make it to last place?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mito's great. Loads of greenery, right in the city center, and not just some mountain too steep to build on (cough, cough, most of the greenery in Kobe).

Not far from Narita too, so easy access to the whole world if you can afford to fly.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Attractive?? Attractive for what???

This is like asking what is the most and least amazing food. What the HELL are they even asking??

5 ( +7 / -2 )

More people more stress, less people more leisure and most rest! Life is what you make of it! If you want to be a robot move to Tokyo or other big cities if you want to be a wild flower or a bosozoku or punk yanky boy then follow your desire!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Glad it is "catalogued" as least attractive, there are many beauties around such as Kaihin Park, Tsukuba Mt, Kashima Shrines and other Tsukuba Expo, JAXA Museums, Hitachi north region with nice hot springs with the advantage is that those hidden places are known by locals leaving the mob behind .. there are cool places all around Japan ... regardless of the rankings.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

After a day in Tokyo, I’m happy to return to Ibaraki and relax.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Hokkaido is very nice but no more cold gloomy winters for me. Okinawa is number one with me and most all of my close associates.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Interesting. How does that square with Moriya in Ibabraki ken being the most popular place in Japan to move to for years?

Tsukuba is a great place. When the Tsukuba Express from Akihabara to Tsukuba opened, the entire corridor was filled with new train stations, new affordable housing, new restaurants, new everything. And only 20-30 minutes from Tokyo.

Having lived in Hayama, Yokohama and Ibaraki, Ibaraki was by far the best place.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I should go to Iberaki in my next holiday. I don’t know the surveyors but my trip to hokkaido was the worst. There was no taxi at the airport over an hour, no food at so called luxury hotel after 9pm. The only attraction was riding to mountain which was broken on that day. First time in my life, i cut my trip short and happily got out of Hokkaido.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think, it depends on the individual situation. After my retirement 7 years ago, my Japanese wife and I moved out of crowded Tokyo (no. 4) to Okayama City (no. 35), we both agree the best decision we made in our life.

A lot of greenery around with hills, forests and rivers, not far to the Seto Inland Sea, not so much traffic in the streets and easy to drive around by car and no problem with parking, we bought a very nice condominium unit for a price about 3 times cheaper than in Tokyo, excellent water quality and fresh air. Okayama City together with nearby Kurashiki City is not such a small city-area anyway, totally about 1.2 million people and all what you need is available here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Link to complete Brand Research Institute list (Japanese): https://news.tiiki.jp/articles/4854

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is the home of natto, right? Makes the ranking a little understandable.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

JHS students addressed this some time ago in an English forum. Talking to several of them, they expressed that they are pretty comfortable in Ibaraki, and most wouldn't think of living anywhere else. As an expat here, I also find it comfortable. I guess the people who do these surveys want a bit more excitement, but I do wonder if [m]any of them have ever been to Ibaraki.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Perfect publicity to keep out tourist overload. We know great places here!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I like Ibaraki. Then again, I like rural areas and I love Natto. And there are many hidden gems there. But the transportation to and from there without a car would be unbearable.

I would place Tokyo at the bottom as I just plain HATE it alongside Kyoto and Nagoya although the latter 2 are cities not prefectures.

I don't blame them for putting Hokkaido first. I visited before and loved it. It's certainly one of my favorite places in Japan.

But you know, to each his/her own. And that's a good thing. If everyone liked the same place, that place would get super crowded and super expensive.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ehime and Yamaguchi beat Ibaraki for being inconveniently rural, and Chiba has more Yankee punks.

I used to live in Susono, Shizuoka which is pretty Inaka, but because of all the tax revenue from the several Army installations, had amazing civic infrastructure.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I spend pretty much most of my weekends in Chiba, Saitama, Gunma and Ibaraki, just been to the 120m Buddha statue park last month. Fresh air, polite people, normal drivers. If it wasnt for all these beautiful prefectures surrounding this crowded jungle I'd be gone long ago.

Ibaraki has Kasumigaura, the "Biwako" of Kanto.

Plenty of places to relax and have fun by this beautiful lake, reason enough to laugh about this article.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As an expat here, I also find it comfortable. I guess the people who do these surveys want a bit more excitement, but I do wonder if [m]any of them have ever been to Ibaraki.

Totally agree. And as long as they continue not to come, it will make the prefecture more enjoyable for the rest of us.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For those interested you can see more of the results (in Japanese) here:

https://news.tiiki.jp/articles/4854

The phrase "least attractive" might be slightly misleading since it implies it is measuring the physical attractiveness (how nice it looks), but the survey actually measures "魅力的", which is a bit broader (like measuring each prefecture's overall appeal rather than just what it looks like).

Most of the prefectures that scored the worst are rural ones that actually have a lot of beautiful nature in them but are viewed as kind of backwaters by Japanese people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

BeerDeliveryGuy: I also live in Shizuoka just south of the Atami bends. Do you know off the spiral road that lead you off a side of a mountain then spiral around two time. Best road infrastructure I ever come across. But I really enjoy Iwate. Heaps of history, Lovely coast, Heaps of snow in winter, Iwate San and some the the best mountain walking trail in the north.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

For those interested you can see more of the results (in Japanese) here:

https://news.tiiki.jp/articles/4854

Thank you for the link!

But what the heck? Almost all Tokyo surrounding prefectures at the bottom of the list .............. Saitama alone is huge, a real universe to explore, it'd take you years.

Heck, the first capital/prefecture I lived in Japan doesnt even show up in the national forecast map of all J-tv stations and you only hear about it once every couple of months but it has so many places to go you'd have to live there for some 5 years to be able to see everything, still they are totally irrelevant to the japanese...

I guess they measure "attractiveness" = + department stores?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I love the place. Fabulous Ferry Cruise port. Took the Sunflower with its number one top-of-the-line cabin at a high cost all the way to Hokkaido in August from there. The Ibaraki workers treated us like royalty.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have always enjoyed visiting Ibaraki.

Each prefecture has it's own charms and scenic spots or shops.

They also have their pros and cons,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Been to Ibaraki city in Osaka but never Ibaraki Ken. In fact Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Chiba are the only three prefectures I have never visited yet on Honshu. Would like to visit and see why its ranked so low.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@John-San

BeerDeliveryGuy: I also live in Shizuoka just south of the Atami bends. Do you know off the spiral road that lead you off a side of a mountain then spiral around two time. Best road infrastructure I ever come across.

Yes, I took that route many times going to Shimoda to surf.

I don’t remember the designated Route Number, but it’s the Amagi Pass. Definitely an ingenious way to traverse a cliff drop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ibaraki ranked ‘least attractive’ among Japan’s 47 prefectures in survey

Sadly, this is pretty accurate.

I've spent a lot time in Ibaraki over the past 20 years as the in-laws live there.

Apart from Mt. Tsukuba, there aren't many places with good scenery, just a lot of fields ... And then more fields.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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