There's a funny competition between Mt. Tsukuba and Mt. Fuji, where they said that a deity asked the two mountains for a place to spend the night - Mt. Fuji, with its arrogance, refused while Mt. Tsukuba welcomed the deity. This is why today, Mt. Fuji is such a barren mountain, while Mt. Tsukuba is teeming with vegetation (wikipedia).
It's also called the Purple Mountain due to its color at a certain point that I have no idea how to see.
Budget: JPY3,600 (~USD35)
- JPY3,600ish. Train / Bus, Tokyo < > trailhead, via Tsukuba Express train (JPY1,800 ish one way)
Hike Date / Difficulty (Elevation: 877m / 2,877ft)
- July 24, 2017, October 20, 2019
- Difficulty: 2 out of 5 if by foot, 0 out of 5 if via cable car/ropeway.
- Route below is around 5.3kilometers, with an elevation change of ▲837m/ ▽533m
When to Go
Anytime during the year!
- Weather forecast: English / Japanese. English more detailed, Japanese more accurate.
- Mt. Tsukuba has two peaks - one boy and one girl. The boy one is Mt. Nantai (男体山) and the girl one is Mt. Nyotai (女体山). The highest point and the official Mt. Tsukuba summit is the girl one - Mt. Nyotai (女体山).
- There is a significance to this (wikipedia). Ancient chronicles say that the sacred progenitors of the Japanese race are enshrined here, the male divinity, Izanagi-no-Mikoto, at Mt. Nantai, and the female divinity, Izanami-no-Mikoto, at Mt. Nyotai. Legends say that the two deities wed and gave birth to other deities, and even to Japan herself.
- Trailheads. Two main ones that are easily accessible with public transportation.
- Tsukubasan-jinja (筑波山神社入口). Google maps pin. Google maps work.
- Train, Tokyo to Tsukuba Station. Outside the station is the Tsukuba Center for buses.
- Bus, Tsukuba Station to trailhead.
- From here on, there's an option to take a cable car, to almost at the summit.
- The trail from this trailhead is wide and well maintained.
- Tsutsuji-ga-oka (つつじヶ丘). Google maps pin. Same bus as above, but this is the last stop of that bus.
- From here on, there's an option to take a ropeway, to almost at the summit.
- The trail from this trailhead is very rocky and steeper than the trail from Tsukubasan-jinja, but still beginner friendly.
- Mountain huts.
- Paid. None.
- Free. None.
- Camping. None.
- I have done this hike twice, once using the cable car / ropeway and another by foot. The pictures below are a mix of both trips.
|The entrance to Tsukuba-jinja trailhead is easy to spot - look for the big red arch.|
|Tsukuba Jinja (Tsukuba Shrine). Just follow the signs to the trailhead / cable car.|
|Taking the cable car up.|
|The stores at the top, in between Mt. Nantai and Nyotai.|
|A nice restaurant and a great place to have a snack at.|
|Going up Mt. Nantai.|
|Plenty of benches.|
|Mt. Nantai's marker.|
|The view from Mt. Nantai peak.|
|Going back down to go past the restaurant area and to Mt. Nyotai.|
|The last part before the summit.|
|With a shrine too.|
|Mt. Nyotai, the official summit of Mt. Tsukuba.|
|Ropeway going down.|
|Exit point (if on foot). See the big frog and the torii/arch?|
|Here's the close up.|