Mito’s oldest high school is actually not that old—it dates back to 1986. Its grounds, however, are an interesting walk through the prefectural capital’s educational heritage. It includes the historical Kodokan, Mito’s oldest clan school, and Shodokan, a museum. Mito Daiich is old-school architecture, with statues of dignitaries, sculptures, and old fashioned classrooms, adding a kick of nostalgia for visitors.
The school is entered through Yakuimon Gate, the only standing portion of Mito Castle, built in 1214. There is one other visible remnant, the castle moat, which is a deep and dried out dip in the ground—with no signs to indicate what it is. It can be spotted on the walk back from the education area to town.
The whole area is significant because Mito represents a key forerunner of the modern, holistic Japanese education system, starting with Kodokan and pioneering the movements that led to the Meiji Restoration. Mito Daiich and the other schools around are part of this proud tradition.