The only manmade object in Ibaraki Prefecture visible from Tokyo is the huge Ushiku Daibutsu, a standing buddha statue that is so tall that on very clear days you can see it from the top of the Tokyo Skytree tower in Tokyo, about 50km to the south west. It is located in northern Ushiku City and visible for miles around, quite impressive. The statue itself is 100m and standing atop a 20m tall base. For comparison the American Statue of Liberty is 40m. More posts to come on this statue!
The other week I visited the famous Yasukuni Shrine in the heart of Tokyo to see their beautiful sando, sacred approaching path lined by yellowing ginko trees. The light up was organized at the same time as a sake festival and there lots of stands to get food and drink While plenty of people were taking advantage of this I spent most of my time closer to the shrine to see the views of the closed front gate and the lit yellow leaves of the trees.
Mount Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture north of Tokyo is one of the most famous and most accessible mountains in Japan. There are four routes up to to either of the two peaks, two hiking trails, rope way and a cable car. I decided to try out the ropeway from the Tsutsujigaoka Station on about halfway up the mountain, arriving just in time for the cloudy and cold sunset. The mountain itself peaks at 877m and on clear days it is said that you can see the Tokyo skyline far to the south. Although not quite as clear when I visited, It was interesting to see the entire Kanto plain laid out in front of the mountain, flat as a tabletop!
There is an interesting story about Mount Tsukuba, to the north of Tokyo in Ibaraki prefecture. In the old days a diety descended to Earth and asked two mountains if he could spend the night on them. One of the mountains, a proud and perfect Mount Fuji, refused, while the other, a humble Mount Tsukuba accepted the visitor and provided food and water and shelter. Even to this day Mount Fuji is barren and cold like a moonscape whereas Mount Tsukuba is lush and rich in forest, springs and animals.
Driving up to the twin peaked Mount Tsukuba on a glorious autumn day you can almost sense the truth of this story. It is said that the two Gods that gave birth to the Japanese people are enshrined here, Izanagi-No-Mikoto on the top peak, and Izanami-No-Mikoto on the other peak.