City of Kasama - Information for Foreigners (外国人向け情報)

reDiscover Kasama! (笠間を再発見)

Japanese version follows the English. 日本語版は英語版の後に続きます。

1 笠間焼で食事をより楽しく!

Natalia, Kasama City press and PR officer, writes about her experience of Kasama City.
グローバル枠採用の笠間市広報スタッフ ナターリアが笠間の魅力をを紹介します。

You can also find this corner in Kasama Magazine. The articles are written in Japanese with furigana reading aid.


Kasama Magazine version / 広報かさま (PDF)

#4 Reunion with Chestnuts (2022/10)
第4回 栗と再会

English version

Kasama City has the largest area in Japan for growing sweet chestnuts. In the Iwama district, where I often take walks, chestnut orchards can be seen all around.


Where I come from, trees that we usually call "chestnuts" are horse chestnuts, and they are inedible. Also, the leaves and the fruits look different from Japanese chestnuts, which are actually pretty cute as they resemble little hedgehogs.

When I tried sweet chestnuts in my country, they tasted so bad that I thought "I will never eat them again". I have several friends who had similar experiences. However, ever since I tasted roasted chestnuts in Kasama, I look forward to the chestnut season from September to October every year. For me, such a sweet taste is unusual, and since I have a sweet tooth, whenever I find a new chestnut dessert, I end up buying it.

Three years ago, I participated in Kasama New Chestnut Festival held at Kasama Geijutsu-no-Mori Park as a kanban musume. "Kanban musume" is directly translated as "signboard daughter" and means an attractive girl or young woman who stands outside a store to attract customers. Though I was not used to the "Irasshaimase~ (Welcome!)" culture, it was a good experience to create a festival atmosphere simply by smiling and greeting people.
Vendors proudly promoted their food products, and customers lined up in front of their stores from early in the morning. It makes me nostalgic to recall the bustling atmosphere of the festival.


The store I was helping was baking a pizza with roasted chestnuts on top in a wood-fired oven. As it was quite an original recipe, I was happy to see that customers enjoyed it so much.
I looked around other stalls and found chestnut rice, desserts, sweets, and many other delicious things. I also saw a roasting machine for the first time and was surprised by the huge cloud of steam coming out when the chestnuts are ready.
The festival was not only about food. Many people enjoyed chestnut-picking activities, games, and a concert.

My friends from overseas also came to buy souvenirs before leaving Japan. Since moving here and getting to eat regional delicacies, I have come to think that local specialties are the best gifts to bring back home.

Please share your chestnut stories through #mykasama_jp too!

How do you say it in Japanese?


Let me introduce the "Kasama New Chestnut Festival."

You read the original name "かさま新栗まつり" as "kasama shinkuri matsuri."

This time, the words かさま kasama and まつり matsuri, which we have already learned are written in hiragana. I guess the characters' balance looks fancier this way.

新しい atarashii means "new," and 栗 kuri means "chestnut." However, if you put them together as 新栗, they change their reading to shinkuri.
新 becomes shin, like in 新宿 shinjuku or 新幹線 shinkansen.

As a bonus, マロン maron is an easy word for you to remember. It comes from the French word "marron" and means nut fruit of the sweet chestnut.

Kasama Magazine version (October 2022) / 広報かさま10月号 (PDF)












Kasama New Chestnut Festival



#3 Hiking with Tengu (2022/8)
第3回 天狗とハイキング

English version


When I first visited Kasama City nine years ago, I climbed Mt. Atago and saw large tengu masks and themed omamori amulets at the Atago Jinja Shrine for the first time in my life. That's how I learned about these Japanese folklore creatures.

Recently, I have been reading a book called "Tales of Iwama" and watching a video series of "Kasama Folktales" on the Kasama Channel. It is said that in the old days, when Mt. Atago was called Mt. Iwama, tengu lived and did austere practices there. I was surprised to read the "Tengu's Sumo" story, as some techniques appeared to be just like aikido ones!

I had thought that the Atago Jinja Shrine enshrines these supernatural beings. However, when I asked the staff, they told me that it was actually one of the three major fire prevention shrines in Japan. Behind it, at the Iitsuna Jinja Shrine, they worship the thirteen tengu of Iwama. I had wondered what these small buildings lined up in a row were, and was told that they were shrines to the thirteen tengu. Mystery solved! I also learned that the Iitsuna Shrine is famous for an extremely unusual Akutai Matsuri (Cursing Festival).

Goshuin Stamp

When the priest talked to me about the Atago Shrine, he also let me try my hand at writing a goshuin stamp! As it was hard to keep a good balance of kanji characters, my handwriting wasn’t that good. However, it was a gratifying experience I could not normally have.

Afterward, I walked along the "Kasama-Wagakuni Atago Hiking Course" to see what kind of mountain the tengu trained on. I wandered through a tunnel of tall trees and enjoyed the soothing birdsong and hummed the song I heard in the Tengu animation short movie. My legs were tired but my mind was refreshed as I reached the Minami-yama (South Mountain) resting spot. Next time, I will wear proper hiking shoes and try to walk the entire trail.

It seems that there are many folk tales and legends passed down in Kasama. Knowing them not only helps you understand local traditions and history, but it also becomes a topic of conversation with foreigners like me. Please let me know about opportunities to experience folk tales and hiking in the city through #mykasama_jp!

How do you say it in Japanese?

Let me introduce the shrine’s and mountain’s names in Japanese.

"Atago Jinja Shrine" is "愛宕 神社" (atago jinja).
Since the word “jinja” means "shrine," you just drop the English explanation. It’s easy, right?

"Mount Atago" is "愛宕 山" (atago san).

If you speak about mountains in general, you use the reading "yama" for the "山".
However, you usually read the same character as "san" in mountain names. So, no, in Japanese it’s not "Fujiyama," it’s "Fujisan."

Kasama Magazine version (August 2022) / 広報かさま8月号 (PDF)












「愛宕山」=「Mount Atago

書く時は、「Mt. Atago」と短く書くことが多いです。「山の名前」ではく、「山」を表す時は、「mountain」という言葉を使います。

「愛宕神社」=「Atago Jinja Shrine

「Shrine」は「神社」という意味です。人によっては、「Jinja」を言わず、「Atago Shrine」と言う時もあります。

#2 Escape the Heat in Kasama (2022/6)
第2回 笠間の避暑地

English version

Tea Break

It is getting hotter and hotter. There are not so many hot days where I come from, so I get tired of the muggy and humid season in Japan and instinctively want to escape to a cool place. Do you know any spots in Kasama where you can enjoy staying cool, among other things?

For me, they are art museums!

Kasama has surprisingly large museums, such as the Kasama Nichido Museum of Art and the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum.

Kasama Nichido Museum of Art is situated not far from Kasama Inari Jinja Shrine. You can enjoy special exhibitions of Picasso, Tsuguharu Foujita, and other renowned Japanese and foreign painters, a palette exhibition, and bronze sculptures by famous sculptors. Once you enter, it feels like you're in a different world. There are three exhibition buildings, a garden, a rooftop café, and a museum store. 
I love cats, so when I went to see the "A Cats' World II" exhibition, I enjoyed the entire museum at my leisure and was very satisfied. I spent three hours there, but it was so exciting that it felt like a blink of an eye.

The Ibaraki Ceramic Museum is located in Kasama Geijutsu-no-mori Park. Visitors can enjoy a variety of unique contemporary ceramic works, from traditional crafts to figurative works and even everyday tableware.


The museum boasts masterpieces by Kosei Matsui, designated as a Living National Treasure, and other renowned artists. You can also take a break in the museum store or restaurant.
I was not interested in ceramics before visiting the museum. However, I was deeply impressed by the beauty of the ceramic works at the "Blue or White - Blue, White, and Blue and White Porcelain" exhibition two years ago. Since then, I have visited the museum many times.

Dear Readers, please be careful in this hot weather!
If you know of any other places in Kasama where you can escape the heat, please let me know on social media by adding the hashtag #mykasama_jp to your post!

How do you say it in Japanese?

Let me introduce the museums' names in Japanese.

"Kasama Nichido Museum of Art" is "笠間 日動 美術館" (kasama nichido bijutsukan).
Kasama is the name of the city, Nichido is the title, and bijutsukan means an "art museum."

"Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum" is "茨城県 陶芸 美術館" (ibaraki-ken tougei bijutsukan).
Ibaraki-ken means "Ibaraki Prefecture", and this museum is run by the prefecture, although located in Kasama City.
Tougei means "ceramic art, pottery".

While in English you can say just "museum," in the Japanese language, you have to choose between 美術館 bijutsukan, and 博物館 hakubutsukan.
As you may have noticed, bijutsukan is a fine art museum. You can find paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, and other works of art there.
Hakubutsukan is a general word for a museum. However, you usually use this word for an institution that displays artifacts and other historicalcultural, or scientific objects.

Kasama Magazine version (June 2022) / 広報かさま6月号 (PDF)
















「笠間日動美術館」=「Kasama Nichido Museum of Art」(カサマ・ニチド・ミュージアム・オブ・アート)

「茨城県陶芸美術館」=「Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum」(イバラキ・セラミック・アート・ミュージアム)

Museum of Art(ミュージアム・オブ・アート)とArt Museum(アート・ミュージアム)は語順が違ちがいますが、どちらも「美術館」という意いみ味です。


#1 Nice to Meet You (2022/4)
第1回 初めまして

English version

My name is Natalia, and I work at Kasama City Hall in the Public Relations Office.

I came to Japan four years ago and have been living in Kasama for two years. Every day I discover new beautiful things about Kasama. In this column, I would like to introduce Kasama as seen through the eyes of a foreigner like me.


Let's rediscover Kasama together!

Kasama is rich in nature, has many museums and galleries, and has surprisingly many events.

Besides big events like the Himatsuri Pottery Festival, the New Chestnut Festival, and the Chrysanthemum Festival, small fairs and festivals also often take place, making Kasama a place where it is fun to live.

Although events have been decreasing because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I believe this is an excellent chance to realize the value of ordinary things. Therefore, I invite you to see life in Kasama with new eyes, and I hope you will find more things you like about this lovely place.

However, I am still a relative newcomer to Kasama, so please let me know about exciting things happening here by adding the hashtag #mykasama_jp to your post on social media if you like.

I will also tell you the names of local tourist attractions in English and Japanese.
Let's learn together!

How do you say it in Japanese?


Let me introduce the "Kasama Himatsuri Pottery Festival".

You read the original name "笠間の陶炎祭" as "kasama no himatsuri."

笠間 is Kasama, the name of the city.

陶炎祭 (himatsuri) is quite tricky. It consists of the characters "pottery," "flame" and "festival".

Please don't confuse it with fire festivals.

Kasama Magazine version (April 2022) / 広報かさま4月号 (PDF)











Kasama Himatsuri Pottery Festival


「Pottery Festival」という単語をつけることで、焼き物のお祭りということが伝わりやすいです。


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〒309-1792 笠間市中央三丁目2番1号

電話番号:0296-77-1101 ファクス番号:0296-78-0612