Jump to content

Anyone here LIVE at the bottom of any slopes?

Recommended Posts

I live near the base of the towering, massive, yet elusive Mt. Tsukuba...the pride of Ibaraki...


A ropeway can take you to the top, where

the finest and steepest backcountry awaits...


over the last year Tsukuba-san has been blessed with a whopping 10cm of snow...and

that is probably a conservative estimate...


This is no mountain for the weak hearted...

no weekend warriors here...only the hardest

of the hard-core...


you may ask, "if this is such a great mt,

why haven't SJG covered it yet??" well my

friends...this is the greatest secret in japan, and it would not be wise to spread the

word...I am in grave danger myself for having

divulged this most important and ancient secret...


Ride it if you Dare!





pray for snow

Link to post
Share on other sites

danz, sounds like you need a mountain board or some grass skis to ride that heap.


Suwa has been getting some good snow recently, even during the warm period, so I'm planning to go up to Wada Toge in the next few days and check it out. It's only 30 min away - maybe qualifies as 'bottom of the slope'?

Link to post
Share on other sites


thought this might interest you ....

as you live at the base of Tsukuba-san...came across this in The Japan Times:


Twin peaks offer a double take on plants




The summit of Mount Tsukuba in southern Ibaraki Prefecture has two peaks,

one regarded as female and the other as male. Rising to 876 meters, with

a shrine on the top dedicated to Izanami no Mikoto, the female creator deity,

Nyotaisan is just 6 meters higher than Nantaisan, topped by a shrine to

the male creator deity, Izanagi no Mikoto. Tsukuba Shrine is located at

the foot of the mountain, which is mentioned in the eighth-century Man'yoshu

collection of poems, and close by is Omido Buddhist Temple.



Mount Tsukuba (top) hosts a rich variety of fauna and flora, including this

ancient ginkgo biloba by Tsukuba Shrine (above) and the evergreen climber

Euonymus fortunei (below).



The formation of Mount Tsukuba, which is now part of the Suigo Tsukuba Quasi-National

Park, began around 300 million years ago, when molten granite erupted through

the Earth's crust deep under the ocean. Subsequently subjected to enormous

tectonic pressure, this igneous extrusion was gradually pushed upward to

create both the twin peaks and the hilly land that extends to the north

and east, with the Kanto plain to the west. However, until the Jomon Period,

from 10,000 to 3,000 B.C., the Kasumigaura inlet close to the town of Tsuchiura

still extended all the way round to the western base of Mount Tsukuba. Seashells

discarded by settlers at that time can be found on the lower western slopes.


As fascinating as all this is, though, what makes Mount Tsukuba so interesting

is that it now hosts plant communities from both the cool-temperate and

warm-temperate regions. For instance, cool-temperate trees such as buna

(Fagus crenata; Japanese beech) can be seen growing near the summit of the

male peak, while warm-temperate, evergreen aka-gashi (Quercus acuta; Japanese

red oak) can be seen on lower slopes and also near the summit on its southern

side. This latter tree gets its common name from the reddish color of its



Close to the male summit there is a splendid, 1.5-km woodland trail along

which many of the larger plants are labeled with both their botanical and

Japanese names. The trail's three viewpoints offer different perspectives

of the landscape below. When the weather is fine, it is possible to see

Mount Fuji in the distance.


The overall shape of deciduous trees is best observed in winter. Take, for

example, the mizunara oak (Q. mongolica var. grosseserrata), whose rough,

light-brown bark has vertical fissures and whose leaves have large teeth

along the margin. The upper half of the leaf is wide and the leafstalk,

or petiole, is very short, because mizunara oaks are adapted for growth

in windy areas; on Mount Tsukuba they grow alongside hardy Japanese beeches.


Beech trees are loved by all and are the kings of the deciduous forests.

They can grow up to 30 meters high, with trunks 1 meter in diameter. There

are only two prefectures in Japan where beech trees do not grow naturally

-- Chiba and Okinawa -- and Mount Tsukuba has the best stand of them close

to Tokyo.


Beech trees have a great capacity to absorb water, and the country's largest

specimens are found in mountainous areas along the Sea of Japan, where annual

snowfall is high. In winter, these trees' bark is easy to identify as it

is smooth and light metallic-gray in color.


Winter buds on beech trees are brown and slender, from 1 to 3 cm long and

pointed at the tip, while oak buds are fat and rounded. Beech trees are

also monoecious, meaning that male and female flowers occur as single-sexed

flowers on the same plant, opening in May just as the new leaves emerge.


Closely associated with Mount Tsukuba's beech and mizunara oak woods is

the bamboolike sasa that covers large areas of the woodland floor. Along

the Pacific Ocean side of Japan, including the Mount Tsukuba area, suzu-dake

growing to between 1 and 2 meters are common. Botanically known as Sasamorpha

borealis, these are less rampant than sasa.


Meanwhile, on some beech trees, especially on the north side of Mount Tsukuba,

you can see the climbing evergreen tsuru-masaki (Euonymus fortunei; spindle

bush). Like ivy, this climbs with the aid of adventitious roots -- i.e.,

ones that grow from stems. The leaves are small, being only 2-6 cm long,

and are oblong with tiny serrations along the margin.


As well, Tsuru-ajisai (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris; climbing hydrangea)

can be seen growing on large rocks in the area. Its flowers, which open

during the rainy season of June and July, are large, flat-headed panicles

10-18 cm in diameter.


Yet another deciduous climber encountered on the mountain is tsuru-ume-

modoki (Celastrus orbiculatus). During the winter months the bright orange-red

fruits, each 7-8 mm in diameter, hang in bunches from the branches and are

a favorite food of the musasabi (Petaurista leucogenys; giant flying squirrels)

and Honshu-momonga (Pteromys momonga) living in Mount Tsukuba's woods.


Togoku-mitsubatsutsuji (Rhododendron wadanum) is a deciduous rhododendron

that also grows in Mount Tsukuba's arboreal wonderland, and the first word

in its compound Japanese name alludes to the Kanto area where the species

grows. Its mauve-colored flowers open between April and June as the leaves

emerge. At the same time, too, nirinso (Anemone flaccida; Japanese woodland

anemone) comes into bloom, its white-to-light-pink flowers borne in pairs

just below the whorls of three-lobed leaves. Also around the same time you

may be lucky enough to see the small, pinkish-white flowers of the Eizan-sumire

(Viola eizanensis; Eizan violet), which is also distinguished by its leaves

with three deeply divided lobes, somewhat like a cut-leafed maple.


Botanists have identified more than 65 species of ferns in Mount Tsukuba's

forests, and many plants were first discovered there. As a result, many

plants' names include that of the mountain, such as Tsukuba-kinmonso (Ajuga

yesoensis var. tsukubana), a native bugle that only grows on the Pacific

Ocean side of Japan, and Tsukuba-torikabuto (Aconitum japonicum ssp. maritimum;

Tsukuba- aconitum).


Enjoy Mount Tsukuba; take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.


To get to Mount Tsukuba, take an express bus from the Yaesu South Gate of

Tokyo Station and alight at Tsukuba bus station, then take a bus or taxi

to Tsukuba Shrine, from where the summit is reached either by ropeway or

a 1-hour hike. Return fare is 1,020 yen for adults.

For more information, visit www.city.tsukuba.ibaraki.jp/


The Japan Times: Jan. 24, 2002

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
  • Create New...