Places of Interest (sightseeing information)

The southern part of Ibaraki, which is serviced by the Tsukuba Express, has many historic, cultural, sightseeing and leisure areas and events.

In Tsukuba City, there is the Tsukuba Expo Center, the site where the International Science Expo was held in 1985; this Expo put Tsukuba City on the world map as a science city. There is also the beautiful and mysterious Mt. Tsukuba, where visitors can experience a sense of the mountain’s ancient spirit. In Tsukuba Mirai City, there are cultural assets related to the great explorer Rinzo Mamiya, including his birthplace and tomb, and a traditional event called the Tsunabi, or rope fireworks, which has been designated one of Japan’s intangible folklore cultural assets. A little distance away is Lake Kasumigaura, the second-largest lake in Japan.

We hope that you will visit the multitude of sightseeing spots along the TX line.

 

Nature

Mt. Tsukuba

Mt. Tsukuba [Tsukuba City]

This is an 877-m mountain with double peaks. Nantai-san can be reached by cable car from the Tsukuba-san Shrine, whereas Nyotai-san can be reached by cable car from Tsutsujigaoka. Hiking trails connect both peaks. Visitors can enjoy a full day visiting and utilizing various facilities, such as cycling roads at the foot of the mountain, and plum trees and hot spring inns in the middle.

 

Lake Kasumigaura

Lake Kasumigaura [Tsuchiura City, Kasumigaura City, and other cities]

This freshwater lake is the second-largest lake in Japan after Lake Biwa and is known for its traditional sailing boats, which were once used to fish for smelt. These boats are now used for sightseeing. The lake provides a habitat for foreign species such as black bass, making it a very famous fishing spot.

 

Sakura Zutsumi at Fukuoka Zeki

Sakura Zutsumi at Fukuoka Zeki [Tsukuba Mirai City]

This is a famous place for cherry trees and has been selected as one of 100 sightseeing spots in Ibaraki. There are about 500 someiyoshino cherry trees dating from the Edo period. Trails and multi-purpose spaces give a sense of harmony with nature.

 

History/Festivals

Itabashi Fudo (Seiansan Fudoin Temple)

Itabashi Fudo (Seiansan Fudoin Temple) [Tsukuba Mirai City]

This is a famous temple in the Kanto Area that was believed to have been created by Kobo-Daishi, or Kukai, in 808. The principal image and other items are designated national important cultural properties, and the main hall, two-storied gate, and three-storied pagoda are designated prefectural cultural properties.

 

Tsukuba-san Shrine

Tsukuba-san Shrine [Tsukuba City]

This is one of the most noted shrines in Japan and enshrines the married deities Izanagi and Izanami, the gods of marriage.

 

Two Schools for Tsunabi CeremonyTsunabi at Takaoka School / Annual Celebration at the Takaoka Atago Shrine
Two Schools for Tsunabi CeremonyTsunabi at Obari Matsushita School / Annual Celebration at the Obari Atago Shrine

Two Schools for Tsunabi Ceremony [Tsukuba Mirai City]

Tsunabi at Takaoka School / Annual Celebration at the Takaoka Atago Shrine

There are two schools of Ina-no-Tsunabi in Tsukuba Mirai City (formerly Ina Machi), which has been designated as one of Japan’s intangible folklore cultural assets. One of them is the Takaoka School Tsunabi, which is dedicated to the annual celebration at the Atago Shrine in the Takaoka Area. This is a puppet play where dolls or boats travel down a rope in the air. At the end of the show, fireworks are set off; this can also be seen at the other school (Matsushita; see below). Performers in the Takaoka School walk around with fireworks and throw sparks around themselves. This ceremony is also called the Ayatsuri Ningyo Sikake Hanabi (Setting-off Fireworks with Puppets).
*The event is held on 23 August every year.

 

Tsunabi at Obari Matsushita School / Annual Celebration at the Obari Atago Shrine

The other school is the Obari Matsushita School Tsunabi, which is dedicated to the annual celebration of the Atago Shrine in the Obari Area. As with the Takaoka School Tsunabi, this is also a puppet play where dolls or boats travel down a rope in the air and fireworks are set off at the end of the show. But the Matsushita School’s play is said to have more of a story line. The school was named after the inventor of who Tsunabi, Matsushita Iwaminokami, lord of Obari Castle during the Civil War period in Japan. This ceremony is called Sanbon Zuna Karakuri Hanabi (Setting-off Fireworks with Three Popes).
*The event is held on 24 August every year.

 

Rinzo Mamiya

Rinzo Mamiya [Tsukuba Mirai City]

Rinzo Mamiya, who discovered that Karafuto (Sakhalin) is an island, was born in present day Tsukuba Mirai City (formerly Ina Machi). He was a civil and survey engineer employed by the Tokugawa Shogunate and is known as the first Japanese explorer recognized outside Japan. He was sent by the Tokugawa Shogunate to Ezo (present day Hokkaido) for a survey and explored Karafuto, which at the time was not well known. The report compiled by Rinzo was introduced to the world by the physician Philip Franz von Siebold, who worked at Dejima in Nagasaki. The strait between the Eurasian Continent and Karafuto was named the Mamiya Strait (Tatar Strait) after the explorer. In Tsukuba Mirai City, the birthplace and tomb of Rinzo Mamiya have been preserved as prefectural historical sites. A memorial hall next to the birthplace displays his footprints.

 

Facilities

Tsukuba Expo Center

Tsukuba Expo Center [Tsukuba City]

The Tsukuba Expo Center is a memorial to the International Science Expo ’85. The Center offers opportunities for visitors to have fun and learn about science at the same time. The planetarium, which has a diameter of 25.6m, is one of the world’s largest, and there is a large high-definition TV screen that shows beautiful images of space.

 

Tsukuba Science Tour

Tsukuba Science Tour [Tsukuba City]

In Tsukuba, there are over 300 private and public research institutes. Using the research results as learning opportunities, the Tsukuba Science Tour provides visitors with information and observation tours of these institutes.

 

Ibaraki Nature Museum(Museum Park)

Ibaraki Nature Museum(Museum Park) [Bando City]

The museum exhibits the evolution of the universe and the history of the Earth from many different angles by using animation, dioramas, and specimens. Outdoor facilities, including forests and open natural spaces, provide visitors with good learning opportunities through hands-on experiences, such as digging, to learn about fossils and soil strata.