While visiting a shrine in Ibaraki I came across this lone itasha (anime decorated car) in the parking space and could not help but taking a few photos. You seldom see these kinds of cars on weekdays in Tokyo, but on weekends they are quite common all over the Kanto area as their owners take them out for a spin. I had to check this series up on Wikipedia, but it seems to be a series called Dog Days (ドッグデイズ) with this car car being devoted to the character Ricotta Elmer.
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.
A couple of weeks ago I took these photos on a drive from Tsukuba City to Mount Tsukuba. It was a sunny day with clear skies and and just had to take some photos of the driving in this part of Japan. The autumn leaves looks fantastic this time of the year! I passed the entrance to the Tsukuba University campus. “Tsukuba Dai” is probably one of the premier centers of Science education and research in Asia.
On a bright day like this the camera makes it look like the cars are standing still, which makes for boring photos. Luckily we were passed by a motorcyclist and a little tweaking of the camera settings produced a more interesting photograph. I believe it was the last weekend of the year with near perfect motorbiking weather!