Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009: A nice sunny day & hiking boots in hand (to be on the feet later) and we're off to Mt. Tsukuba, about 100 km from Tokyo, to do the Tsukubazan hike.
One of the 100 famous mountains in Japan, Mt. Tsukuba rises 877 meters above sea level (about 2900 feet). See a great explanation of Tsukubazan at: Wikipedia - Mt. Tsukuba.
My "Hiking in Japan" guidebook said this is an 'easy hike' - hah! Easy for one who has scaled a few mountains maybe, but two days later & the old legs are s.o.r.e.!
Leaving the car in one of the pay for the day (500 yen) parking lots a short walk from the shrine we donned our boots & set off for the climb up the mountain after a stop by the shrine.
877 meters doesn't sound like a lot, but when I saw the sign on the funicular track that was close to the hiking trail and read that it is a 36 degree slope - I knew it was gonna be a hard climb! Two hours , and many roots and rocks conquered later, we were at the top for a well earned lunch in the rotating restaurant that sits atop the funicular station. Great views out over the plains and Tsukuba City.
Then came the easy part - HAH, again! Big, I mean big boulder size, rocks to clamber over meant using some leg muscles that haven't been used for a while. Ouch, oh, ouch! Two more hours & we were at the bottom - where we wished we had remembered to bring a change of clothes because a hot onsen would certainly have been a great treat after all that excercise. Note to self - remember: backpacks, energy snacks, change of clothes...
Coming down the mountain there are some fantastic rock formations. Photos below.
Definitely worth the trip and the climb - up and down - don't be lazy & ride the funicular or ropeway, now!
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