Things to Do in Oarai, Ibaraki: Try Anglerfish Hot Pot, Explore Oarai Isosaki Shrine, and Delight in Fresh Seafood



Oarai, located in Ibaraki is a coastal town known for its scenic beaches, fresh seafood, and the iconic Oarai Isosaki Shrine. With its tranquil atmosphere, visitors can enjoy seaside strolls, explore the local fish market, and experience the cultural charm of this beautiful coastal destination!
This time, my friend and I decided to visit Oarai, savoring the local cuisine, ‘ankou nabe’ (Anglerfish hot pot), which is particularly cherished during the winter season.

It’s just a two-hour train journey from Tokyo to Oarai.
Besides savoring the local hot pot dish, we also indulged in other delicious foods and visited sacred places to rejuvenate our energy!

*Please note that information and prices listed are subject to change.

Travel Itinerary

08:30am Ueno Station(上野駅)

From Ueno Station, take the limited express “Tokiwa” to Mito Station, then transfer to the Kashima Rinkai Railway Oarai Kashima Line to Oarai Station.

The limited express Tokiwa looks like a bullet train and is very cool!

Inside the train

The train is adorned in black, creating a chic atmosphere that exudes elegance.

At Mito Station, transfer to the Kashima Rinkai Railway Oarai-Kashima Line.

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Ueno Station is located in Taito Ward, Tokyo. There are spots for shared bicycles in the vicinity, and electric bicycles are available for easy transportation. There are museums, zoos, and other tourist attractions near the station, making it a convenient meeting place. It is also available for shopping for souvenirs and sundries and for dining.

10:30am Oarai Station(大洗駅)

After a train ride lasting a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes, we reached our destination!
I heard that it is also known as a anime location.

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Oarai Station is located in Sakuramichi, Oarai-cho, Higashi-Ibaraki-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture. This station is also known as a sacred place for anime and is visited by many fans. It is also an attractive place for travelers to take trains such as the Oarai Kashima Line and the Limited Express HITACHI.

11:00am Kakigoya(カキ小屋)

We stopped by a restaurant near the Oarai fishing port for an early lunch, where you can enjoy grilled seafood ‘hamayaki’.

A restaurant like a fish market or a food stall

The restaurant offers seafood and fish for sale right in front.

Dining area in the back, souvenir corner in the front

The restaurant looks lively with a good atmosphere!

Choose the seafood you like✨

In the center of the dining area, there is a line of seafood, from which you can choose what you want and grill it yourself. We are getting excited!

There is a wide selection of seafood, ranging from ones in the fish tank to assorted dishes. The abundance of delicious-looking seafood makes it challenging to decide what to eat.

The large number of oysters was a surprise!

Decided on squid, crab gratin, whelk and oyster!

As we arranged our seafood on the grill nets and waited for them to cook, a savory aroma wafted through the air✨

Big oyster!

Today’s special set meal menu: Karei (flatfish) set for 1,500 yen

We decided to share our meals. The set includes sashimi and simmered dishes – absolutely delicious!

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Kakigoya, located in Oarai-cho, Higashi-Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, is a restaurant where you can enjoy seafood and seafood dishes. The restaurant is especially proud of its plump and fat oysters, and sells raw oysters in the store. It also offers a wide variety of shellfish and dried seafood, such as clams and scallops, as well as rice bowl menus. Located right next to the Oarai fishing port, the restaurant is highly recommended!

1:00pm Mentai Park Oarai (めんたいパーク大洗)

Next destination is Mentai Park Oarai, located near Oarai Fishing Port. The large mascot character (named Tarapiyo) on top of the building is very cute!

Tarapiyo and Dr. Tarakon welcome you!

There is also a gallery, a space to play, and a factory!

You can enjoy learning about the ecology of Alaska Pollack and mentaiko (spicy-seasoned cod roe), and recipes using mentaiko are also on display, making you want to eat mentaiko!

Factory tour area

Mentaiko was being made behind the glass! We were amazed at the large amount of pink cod roe!

Various mentaiko products were on sale.

The showcase was filled with mentaiko, from freshly made mentaiko to a variety of mentaiko products! It seems that freshly made mentaiko is only available here, so we had to buy some.

Delicious looking large cod roe…

Original products from Mentai Park

Very cute!

There is also a food court where visitors can take a break.

Mentaiko soft-serve ice cream: 350 yen

Having traveled all the way from Tokyo, we wanted to eat something special! So we opted for this unique soft-serve ice cream. It was slightly pink, and if you look closely, you can see that it has some fish eggs in it!

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Mentai Park Oarai, located in Oarai-cho, Higashi Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, is a tourist facility specializing in mentaiko (cod roe) where visitors can enjoy shopping and a factory tour. Onigiri rice balls and mentaiko soft serve ice cream at the food court are popular, and since it is located near the Oarai fishing port, visitors have said it is a great place to stop by while sightseeing.

3:00pm ume cafe WAON

We wanted to take a break, so we visited Japan’s first specialty ume (plum) cafe.
It is located in a residential area, and the curtain with a large ‘ume’ written on it is impressive.


It is very small, with only 10 seats.

Attached to a shop

The shop was attached to the cafe and was filled with plums and plum products.

Lots of plum products

And pickled plums!

Aoume: 300 yen, Tsuyuakane: 350 yen

This time, we ordered Ume Soda. I had the Aoume and my friend had the Tsuyuakane!

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ume cafe WAON, located in Oarai-cho, Higashi-Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, is Japan’s first ume specialty cafe, renovated by a long-established pickle store called Yoshidaya. It is located in a residential area, with the word “ume” written on the curtain. The menu offers a wide variety of ume products unique to Yoshidaya, including pickled plums. Ume syrup is very popular and the food is delicious. Why not visit when sightseeing in Oarai?

4:00pm Oarai Isosaki Shrine(大洗磯前神社)

If you come to Oarai, you should definitely visit here!
A big torii gate welcomed us.

Surprised by the long staircase!

Worried about whether we would be able to make the climb, we climbed slowly, feeling the power of nature.

From the top of the stairs, the vast ocean!


Main shrine

Worship at the beautifully carved worship hall.

Kamiiso no Torii (神磯の鳥居)

Walking down the stairs to the Oarai Beach, we found the Kamiiso no Torii. The torii standing amidst the powerful waves looked very amazing.

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Oarai Isomae Shrine is located in Oarai-cho, Higashi-Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture. The location of the shrine has become a topic of conversation because of the panoramic view of the sea from its precincts. The famous Kamiiso Torii has long been a symbolic landmark of Oarai-cho. It is also recommended to go there to see the first sunrise of the year.

5:30pm Chushin(ちゅう心)

The final destination is to savor a specialty of Oarai, and at last, we arrived here to enjoy anglerfish hot pot!
This restaurant is like a hidden shop in the alleyway.

Reservations are required as it is a popular restaurant!

At 5:30 pm, customers were waiting in front of the restaurant.


Go to the counter seat on the first floor.

They offer private rooms and table seating on the second floor. The counter seating, allowing you to observe the skilled craftsmen at work, creates an amazing atmosphere.

Counter seating for a special feeling✨

Tonight we will toast with Japanese sake.

Ankou nabe (Anglerfish hot pot): 3,300 yen

At last, the ankou nabe arrives. The hot pot, already simmered to perfection, is presented for those at the counter seats. We are so excited!

Ankimo (anglerfish liver)

It goes well with miso soup, and the chewy skin and plump fish have an interesting texture.

The end of the hot pot is zosui (Japanese rice porridge)!

Zosui made with a broth infused with the umami flavor of anglerfish and vegetables is simply just amazing✨

Sazanami: 1,350 yen

Since the restaurant is owned by a fresh fish shop, we also could have sushi. The Sazanami is the chef’s choice of an 8-piece sushi menu.

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Located in Oarai-cho, Higashi-Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, Chushin is a long-established seafood restaurant. The restaurant has a relaxed Japanese-style atmosphere, and private rooms are available on the second floor. In winter, the restaurant is famous for its authentic anglerfish hot pot. Reservations are recommended.

Oarai Station(大洗駅)

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