Mount Tsukuba: Take A Day Trip From Tokyo

Kanto Tour Tsukuba 2018.10.31
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  • Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture is about a 45-minute train ride from Akihabara, making it one of the best places to get out of the city for a day trip. Whether you live in Tokyo or are just visiting, Tsukuba is a cool place for a change of scenery. Famously known as "the science city" due to the number of researchers and institutes there, Tsukuba has plenty of things to see and do from eating their famous chicken and rice bowls to climbing their great mountain. This time JAPANKURU took a train to Tsukuba and not only climbed Mt. Tsukuba but explored around the city to see what else we could find making an evenly day trip.  

Getting to Tsukuba from Tokyo

The simplest way to get to Tsukuba is taking the Tsukuba Express Line (TX). We started from their first station Akihabara, but you can also get on the train from Asakusa. Taking Tsukuba Express is great because you won't have to deal with changing trains, you just ride the train to its final destination. No hassle whatsoever. 

There are also 4 trains; rapid, commuter rapid, semi-rapid, and local, all of which take you to Tsukuba from Akihabara and Asakusa so you don't need to worry about which type of train you should take. Just get on the first one you see! 

Tsukuba Express (TX) website (ENG)
  •  TX Akihabara Station 

  •  TX Asakusa Station 

Since we started our trip with going to Mt. Tsukuba, once you arrive at TX Tsukuba Station,
all you need to do is hop on the bus that takes you there.

Special Tsukuba Travel One-Day Ticket

  • If you buy a Tsukubasan Story Ticket (筑波山きっぷ; Mt. Tsukuba ticket), it will cover the train from Tokyo to Mount Tsukuba as well as letting you enjoy riding privileges on the shuttle bus, ropeway, and cable car. Think of it as a Mount Tsukuba tour ticket! Since we came from Akihabara, we got it there but you can get the Mount Tsukuba ticket at any TX Tsukuba Express station. It is also worth mentioning that there are two different ways to buy the ticket. To get the special designed ticket in the picture above, you can purchase them at the TX Ticket Counter. You can also get your tickets at the train ticket machine, but the ticket won't be as pretty. It will look more like a regular train ticket. But don't worry! The two are exactly the same, they just look different.  

Things to do

Climbing Mt. Tsukuba

Mt. Tsukuba stands alongside Mt. Fuji as one of Japan's greatest and tallest mountains. What makes it different is that Mt. Tsukuba has two separate peaks, Nyotai-san (女体山; "female body") and Nantai-san (男体山; "male body"). Using the Mt. Tsukuba Ticket, you can reach the top of the mountain by either ropeway or the Tsukubasan Cable Car. Or if you prefer to hike, that is an option too!

Gama Ishi

  • The summit is filled with all sorts of oddly shaped rocks. One popular one is the Gama Ishi, which is shaped like a toad if look hard enough. It is tradition to while having your back turned to the toad, throw a stone and try to get it to land in its mouth. If you make it you are guaranteed luck and fortune. 

    Google Maps

Koma Observatory

The Koma View Terrace (コマ展望台) right beside the Mt. Tsukuba Summit Station is not only a nice place to check out a different side of Japan's countryside but a good place to eat as well! If you do stop here for lunch you should try Tsukuba's famous Oyako-don (Chicken and egg rice bowls) topped with "shichimi" which is a combination of 7 spaces. It is loved throughout Japan.

Google Maps
Website (JPN)

Tsukubasan Jinja Shrine

  • Visit Tsukubasan Shrine is of course a must. The shrines has about 3000 years of history. Two famous Japanese deities, Izanagi ("He who invites") and Izanami ("She who invites"), which are known for being the creators of Japan and many of its gods (like their first born Ebisu, and the famous Amaterasu). Their marriage has a bright yet dark history, so many couples come here to wishing for successful love and happiness. 

    Google Maps
    Website (JPN)

Stop for a Snack

  • Mount Tsukuba manju

    Manjus are like sweet buns with a variety of flavors. The most common one is anko (sweet red bean paste).

    Google Maps
    Website (JPN)
  • Mount Tsukuba dango

    Similar to mochi (sticky rice balls), dango are another great sweet snack that has three-five dango on a skewer.  

    Google Maps
    Website (JPN)
  • Shichimi

    Tsukuba is famous for shichimi, which is a common Japanese spice that includes 7 different spices. Here it's tradition to add some in your tea!!

    Google Maps
    Website (JPN)

Old Mount Tsukuba Post Office

Tsukuba has a lot of stone paths that have been there since Edo period. At the end of the stone steps is an antique old small building. An old post office that was built in the early Showa period (1939).

Google Maps

Tsukuba Edo-ya

  • After all that hiking and walking, taking a nice hot foot bath while looking out into Tsukuba's nature is beyond amazong. Tsukuba Edo-ya (筑波山江戸屋) is also a cafe, so you can grab a drink and chill while you soak your feet.

    Google Maps
    Website (JPN)

More Things to along the Tsukuba Express Line

Kitasenju

  • If you're looking for a place along Tsukuba Express Line to hang out, eat, and drink, we recommend walking around the drinking area in Kitasenju (北千住).

    Google Maps
     

Takara-yu

Takara-yu (タカラ湯), known as The King of Garden, is a lovely sento (bath house) that has several massage and aromatic baths with a nice view of a Japanese garden. We like it because you don't need to deal with massive crowds as you would in central Tokyo. It is a great place to get away from being that typical tourist!

Google Maps
Website (JP)

Adachi Market

Adachi Market (足立市場) is basically like Tsukuba's Tsukiji! Here many fish are caught, sold, and prepared for food. Here there are also restaurants and places you can eat the fish fresh.

Google Maps
Website (JPN)

Daikoku-yu


Daikoku-yu (大黒湯) is another nice sento, but this one has a massive mural of Mt. Fuji on the wall!

Akihabara

Akihabara is famous for Japan's subculture. It is a very interesting place with games and maids, where the culture of otaku was born!

- More information on Akihabara here

Asakusa

Asakusa is a tourist destination that represents old Tokyo when it was known as Edo. If you take Tsukuba Express, you can get there in 4 minutes from Akihabara. 

- More information on Asakusa here

Nagareyama City

Nagareyama is a small town in Chiba. In the city where a Japanese condiment called mirin was born, it is a cute city with lots of traditional areas to see and retro cafes.

- More information on Nagareyama here

An Eventful Day Trip from Tokyo

Seeing as how Mount Tsukuba is widely recognized as one of Japan's top 100 famous mountains, it is worth checking out. Many of Japan's mountains are a bit out there, but since Mount Tsukuba is only 45mins taking TX Tsukuba Express the trip becomes a bit easier. Along with man scenic hiking trails, there are plenty of unknown gems that you won't find inside Tokyo. So if you are looking for a place filled with nature and looking to get away for a day, we highly recommend visiting Mount Tsukuba!




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