With three mountains ascended in Hokkaido in June, the idea of climbing mountains has been very much in my mind of late, and it was actually Mitake-San that I was planning to do but when my wife said she wanted to go to Wan Wan Land in Ibaraki-ken the idea of climbing Tsukuba-san was a big reality.
On Marine Day (the name of the national holiday on July 20th) we took a mini-bus to Tsukubasan jinja iriguchi bus stop which was about a 40 minute journey. A giant red torii gate is clearly visible and so we walked through that and on up the road for a few minutes until we reached Tsukuba-san shrine itself. This is a historic shrine dedicated to the sacred mountain which has been worshipped for over 3000 years.
It was a pleasant enough shrine but like most people we were only there to pass through it rather than pray for protection against evil and illness or be blessed with children.
Up until this moment I really didn’t think I’d be doing anything more than just taking the cable car up as I’d hardly been unable to walk just two days earlier having overdone it a bit on my return to running. However, my legs were feeling good and faced with a mountain in my way I just couldn’t face the thought of ascending it so easily by cable car.
At this time it was 10:40 am and the signboards said the Miyukigahara Course was a 90 minute ascend but I thought I’d surely be able to shave ten minutes off that time and so told my wife (who was taking the easier route up) I’d meet her at the top at midday.
This wasn’t actually the first time I climbed Mount Tsukuba as back in July 2004 I ascended it with a couple of workmates and did include it in the ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Day Trips Beyond Kanagawa, Saitama & Chiba‘ blog back in April 2014.
On another sweltering day (with highs of 34 degrees celsius) in Ibaraki-ken it was very sweaty work on this two kilometre climb and my t-shirt was pretty much drenched by the time I reached Tsukuba-sancho station at the top 62 minutes later.
Technically it wasn’t the top as the twin peaks of Nantaisan and Nyotaisan, for which it is famous, are a further 15 minute walk away. I met my wife and chilled for a bit allowing my t-shirt to be dried by the sun (yuk!) before continuing on my lonesome to the summit.
Not that I really knew it but the peak I chose to climb was Nyotaisan which at 877 metres high is six metres taller than the other peak so I was quite happy that I did that one.
The views from the top were rather splendid and well worth the extra effort.
Back at Tsukuba-sancho station there was another lookout point on top of the restaurant and after a quick look at the scenery from there we both went down the mountain together in the cable car which is called Momiji; the same name as Rina’s family dog, so she was happy about that connection.
You can read ‘Tsukuba 2015 Pt I: Wan Wan Land‘ here