TSUKUBA / USHIKU / AMI
Tsukuba City, in the center of this district, is only about 45 minutes from Akihabara on the Tsukuba Express rapid train so the access from Tokyo is quite good. Tsukuba is well-known for its academic and research institutions.
Tsukuba Space Center is the base for space development with some areas inside the center open to the public. In the exhibition room there are space rockets from the past and test models of satellites. Tours of the space station experiment building are available.
Mt. Tsukuba, in the northern part of Tsukuba City, parallels Mt. Fuji in elegant beauty and so it is said “Mt. Fuji in the west, Mt. Tsukuba in the east.” It only takes about 15 minutes to get to the top of the 877-meter peak by ropeway and on foot and well worth the overwhelmingly beautiful view of the Kanto Plain. After strolling around the top, you can take a cable car to the bottom and then have a soak in the Tsukuba Onsen hot springs at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba.
Ushiku-Daibutsu, the Great Buddha of Ushiku, is a 30-minute bus ride from Ushiku Station. It’s said that this statue is so big it can be seen from an airplane. It is 120 meters high and, in 1995, was recognized by the Guiness Book as the world’s largest standing bronze Buddha, and big enough to walk around in. The visitors also can sit and write down sutras in the statue.
In Ami Town there is a big shopping center, Ami Premium OutletsR, with over 100 shops and restaurants. Designer brand clothes and goods from abroad as well as domestic brands, sundry goods, kids’ clothes and toys are all available; many goods and products to satisfy people of all ages. Moreover, the prices are surprising: often 50% or 70% off ! Th ere is a wide variety of restaurants and cafes so you can shop around all day long.