Japanese Mountains (Part 1): Mount Tsukuba

Clowning on Mt. Tsukuba

This weekend I’m thinking about taking a short bus ride to Mount Tsukuba. This is a short journal entry that I wrote about visiting Mt. Tsukuba back in June of 2008:

It’s not very common, at all, that I get to visit the mountains, especially being from Atlanta, Georgia. But I recently had a chance to visit Mount Tsukuba with some of my friends. Instead of doing the easy, standard, cable car ride to the top, we decided to hike up the mountain. Honestly, I’m so glad we did…

TSUKUBA-SAN (Mount Tsukuba). TSUKUBA, JAPAN. 2,877 Feet (877 Meters)

I was a little apprehensive about climbing any sized mountain, because the only experience I ever had climbing one was the nice, but small, granite one in Stone Mountain, Georgia. As far as mountains go…Stone Mountain doesn’t really qualify.

I felt like I was in pretty good shape, but I’ve never been a big fan of hiking. I decided to go because these were my friend’s (and mentor) last days in Japan. We did this hike in early June and if you know anything about Japanese summers, they can get pretty hot. It was a hot day, but only mildly uncomfortable. I think we started just under halfway up the mountain. A gigantic, red torii (shrine archway) marked our starting point.

The hike began and we it was pretty standard. The jokes and laughter ensued, it’ just how we do things here Tsukuba. After about 20 minutes of walking, every step made me a bit more conscious, and little uneasy, about the beads of perspiration that the heat seemed to be aspirating from all the wrong places. Why oh why, did I decide to wear light-colored jeans? Everyone else did the smart thing, and wore shorts…but, oh no, not me.

Just as the sweat started to get uncomfortable was when I started noticing how beautiful the hike really was. I had never seen tree & rock formations like this. They were all so foreign to me…much like the country itself. I stopped worrying about how much I was sweating, and instead, survey the breathtaking landscape around me. There were huge, rugged rock formations, cool, shaded patches of forest, tress that seemed as though they’d been here since the dawn of time, streams, and so many trails to take. Occasionally we would run into an elderly couple briskly walking along the path. They all seemed so energetic, and they weren’t really sweating the way I was…it always seemed to be a light, glowing sheen. What kind of medicine were these people taking (and where could I get it?). I even saw women hiking in heels like it was no problem. Maybe it’s the Tsukuba toad oil that I’ve heard so much about…that’s gotta be the secret.

By the time we neared the summit, the temperature had gotten so much cooler. Not to mention that there was great, soybean ice cream at the top of the mountain; it sounds weird but tastes great! I didn’t have a chance to go inside of the shrine near the top of Tsukuba-San. But the mountain was enchanting enough for me. If you ever make to Tsukuba on a bright, sunny day, and you have some time…visiting Mount Tsukuba is a must!

Starting to cool down on Mt. Tsukuba

Donald Ash
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Donald Ash is an ATLien expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last six years. While in aforesaid time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator, writer, designer, editor, programmer, and occasional bad artist of thejapanguy.com blog (that's just way too many hats, dude). Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.
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