□ Count down to the new year and do some midnight hatsumode at Futarasan Shrine.
□ People watch Pokemon GO trainers at the Utsunomiya Castle Ruins.
□ Watch a quality performance at the Tochigi Culture Center.
□ Admire the 360°view of the city from the 15th floor of the Tochigi Prefectural Office.
□ Buy some gifts for yourself, family, and friends at the Orion-doori flea market (Saturdays, monthly).
□ Antique-shop and buy some vintage accessories on Union-doori.
□ Take a guided tour of the Oya Stone Museum.
□ While you’re at it, check out the Oya Stone Temple and the 27m tall Kannon (Buddhist) statue.
□ Admire the cherry blossoms during hanami at Hachimanyama Park.
□ Watch internationally renowned cyclists zoom past you at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race (October).
□ Learn something new at the Fairy Museum.
□ Find some solitude at the Matsugamine Catholic Church.
Eat, Drink, & be Merry
□ Find your favorite gyoza joint (extra points if you eat your fill for under \800!).
□ Try a beer (or make your own!) at one of the local breweries.
□ Attend the annual Tochigi Craft Brew Festival at Orion Square (July).
□ Find a local jazz bar and chill out for the evening.
□ Test out one (or more) of Kelsey’s suggested restaurants on her Eatsunomiya blog.
□ Try the house concoction at your favorite cocktail bar.
□ Get some 4 am eats after a night of partying.
□ Eat in an intimate setting at one of city’s 3 food stall streets.
□ Be served beer by a willing monkey at Kabayuki.
□ Sample sake from breweries across the prefecture at Sasara.
□ Find your preferred brew of umeshu at Pakapaka.
□ Eat a delicious meal from locally sourced produce at Kizuna or Shimotsuke Farm.
□ Try some lemon milk and strawberry ice cream at the Miya Café.
□ Mingle with locals and experience Japanese traditions at Machipia’s New Year’s festival (early January).
□ Find a cause you care about and volunteer for the day.
□ Attend an open lecture in a field that interests you at Utsunomiya University.
□ Study a foreign language in the Tochigi International Association’s library.
□ Experience traditional culture by taking a calligraphy, flower arranging, taiko, or martial arts class.
□ Attend a two-hour Japanese class for only \300 to brush up your skills.
□ Join your neighborhood association in (drunkenly) hoisting a mikoshi through the streets in the annual Miya Matsuri (August).
□ Refurnish your home with all the random items you can buy at Mega Don Quixote.
□ Buy some Japanese study materials in the bookstore on the 5th and 6th floors of the Mega Don Quixote.
□ Cuddle with some loving dogs and cats at Happy Tails.