I left my father at the cable car station because he can't climb up the hill which took me 30 minutes or so to hike. I just have to have my exercise that day, so I went all the way to the shrine. The hike was steep and hard.
My father just went to the view deck and watched the cable cars come and go with local tourists and visitors. The cable cars sometimes stop in the middle of the mountain carrying a full-load of passengers then slide down the hill fast as it gets its acceleration.
I asked my father what he had done for the long time he was waiting for me and he said he just watched the cable cars and was figuring out how good the engineering was!
If you are not tired hiking up to the shrine yet, make sure to check the big frog building that is perched up on the hill. It takes about 20-30 minutes hike. You can see the frog from the parking lot of the Tsukubayama. The frog is a symbol of good luck to the Japanese. At Tsukubayama, there are tiny figurines of frogs to buy, frog key chains, etc. It's all frog everywhere!
The trail to the frog is very nice and well-maintained.
I left my father at the cable station and told him that I wanted to hike up the hill and follow the path where it will lead me. Since I had my sneakers on, I thought it would be an easy climb. For about fifteen minutes, it lead me to an intersection and one goes to the left where it goes down to another town. I followed the other fork and it led me to the temple. There were three little structures in there. One of the structures was made of wood and a person was there selling some incense. The other is the place for worship. The other? Not sure what it was made for. Some of the hikers stopped and had said some prayers...As I passed the little shrine, some hikers were climbing up the stones and looking down the hill. At first, I can see down below the hill and by the looks of it, there were previous hikers who went down there. After few minutes, we were engulfed with fog. It got so thick that I can't see the rest of the hikers. I told myself that it's about time for me to go back to the cable stations where my father had been waiting for about an hour!
It's a good weekend getaway. Mt. Tsukuba has two peaks; one is Nantaisan(represents male) and the other is Nyotaisan(female). From the elevation of 800m above sea level, you can enjoy the view of Kanto plain.
As well as some hiking trails, ropeway and cablecars are available.
For a travel plan, see my album.
This is a very modern building with beautiful architecture. International events such as conventions/exhibitions, seminars ..etc. are held here. It also has a nice restaurant, rooftop garden and you can pick up a simple city brochure/map guide here. Nearby, there are a couple of electronic stores that are pretty interesting to window shop in; they're very colourful and bright.
Right next to the Foreign Info Center is a modern concert hall that's worth keeping an eye on. Visit their website for upcoming performances, some of which are free. When it was raining during my first weekend here, I wandered into a free 2 hour opera demi concert feature various singers with some piano accompaniment. It was very lovely.
Yukari-no-mori may be a bit hard to find as it is situated pretty much off of the main road in the middle of no where (farmland). But if you manage to find the small road leading from the high way, you will find yourself in a lovely dense forrest grove (mori) with looming trees. It is a campsite, with tennis courts and cabins/lodges. There are also meeting rooms, an arts and crafts center , sports park and an insect museum (300 yen admission).
Very beautiful, serene place. There's a huge circular running track that borders the lake, so if you'd like to go for a nice scenic jog, its pretty sweet. For those who just want to relax, you can sit by the lakeside and admire the beautiful landscaped flower beds and trees, or feed the fish from the bridge.
Also, there's a community center with a pool which you can use for about 340 yen, but I've heard it is not the cleanest spot to swim. But the tennis courts look pretty nice.
The main attracion for Tsukuba is probably Mt. Tsukuba, where the twin peaks (designated male and female) loom over the city from a distance. It is a relatively easy climb and the tourist trail is dotted with small shops and interesting things to see along the way. Notably, the Temple, the Giant Frog and hot spring. Best time to go would probably be late November, when the leaves change colours or mabe even August and September when there are some traditional ceremonies performed at the temple.
DanaRo told me few days ago...Close to NARO(National Agricultural Reserach Organization) there is something I cannot describe in words. She wa referring to the Cherry Blossoms in the streets and gardens of the complex. We couldn't make it earlier. Last Sunday (April 13), we visited and had just flavor of what Dana found undescriptible...I am looking forward to her pictures. Meanwhile, here you can see ours...
Mount Tsukuba is the highest elevation in the plateau where the Science City of Tsukuba sits. From up there the view of Kasumigaseki Lake is gorgeous. Go up either by using own propulsion system or by cable car.