Yasu Takahashi (since June 2011)
| Tokiwa University, Ibaraki University, Mito, Mito Junior College, Tokiwa Junior College|
Mito (, Mito-shi) is the capital city of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, and has a central location, moderately offset towards the coast in that prefecture.
As of 2005, the city has an estimated population of 263,748 and a total area is 217.45 km², giving a population density of 1,212.91 persons per km². Mito natto is the citys culinary specialty and is well-known across Japan.
Mito is the site of the Japanese garden Kairaku-en, located near Lake Senba and counted as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Constructed by Tokugawa Nariaki in 1842, the park is known nationwide for its ume trees. Many people come to the park in spring to view the blossoms, particularly during the Ume Festival. In summer, Mito also holds the Mito Koumon Festival.
Mito was the seat of the so-called Mito School, a congregation of nativist scholars of Confucian persuasion led by Aizawa Seishisai, who during the 18th and 19th centuries advocated Western learning as a means not only to further Japanese technological development and international strength, but as means to prove Japanese uniqueness and superiority among nations. The Kodokan was the largest of the han schools.
Art Tower Mito
Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art
Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History
Mito Municipal Botanical Park
The Tokugawa Museum
The Yamato people settled in Mito around the 4th century CE. Around the end of the Heian period, Baba Sukemoto, a warlord of the Heike family, moved to Mito and built a castle there. Mito Castle changed hands several times after that: a daimyo named Satake Yoshinobu won it in the mid-16th century, but he was forced to surrender it to Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 after the epic Battle of Sekigahara. Ieyasus son Tokugawa Yorifusa then took over Mito Castle, becoming one of the three "gosanke" family members fortified outside of Edo. Edo was directly connected to Mito by the Mito Kaido. The Tokugawas directly ruled Mito until the mid-19th century, when the bakufu in Edo was overthrown.
The modern city of Mito was formed on April 1, 1889, with a population of 25,000. It was designated as the prefectural capital. By 1900, the Joban Line connected it to Tokyo, and by 1910, telephones and electric lighting were available throughout the city. Although more than three-quarters of the city burned to the ground near the end of World War II, the population rebounded to 70,000 just two years later, and has continued to grow ever since.
Today, Mito is primarily a commercial and administrative city: most industry in Ibaraki is concentrated around the nearby city of Tsukuba. Mito has a modest but thriving tourism industry, centered on Kairaku-en (park) and local museums dedicated to the Tokugawa family. Mito is also the site of Ibaraki University and Tokiwa University.