TsukubaIbaraki, to the north of Tokyo, Japan.
You can also travel to Tsukuba by highway bus (高速バス) from Tokyo station's Yaesu south exit (八重洲南口). Most of the buses go to University of Tsukuba, but you can get off at Tsukuba Center, a bus hub located near the Tsukuba Express line station. The travel time is approx. 70 minutes at a cost of ¥1150 each way.
Japan Rail Passes can not be used.
Tsukuba is extremely accessible and well laid-out. The infrastructure consists of the Higashi-Ōdori (東大通り) on the east and the Nishi-Ōdori (西大通り) on the west, both major roadways running on either side of the university. The campus itself is connected to downtown via a system of bicycle paths and bridges, known as the Pedestrian Way, offering easy transit for university students.
Bicycle rental is available in front of the train station (ask for "rent-a-cycle"). 500¥ per day, half for kids bicycles, open from 09:00 to 18:30. You have to return the bicycles by 18:30, except if you rent for several days.
phone: +81 29-868-2023JAXA research center with free exhibits and guided tours five times daily. Facility includes exhibits on rockets, satellites, and Japan's involvement with the International Space Station. Guided tours in Japanese three times a day, reservations needed.
phone: +81 29-864-1872address: 1 Kitasato
phone: +81 29-862-6215address: Higashi 1-1-1Science Square Tsukuba is a museum that highlights some of the exciting research that is happening at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). You might think that a museum about research would be boring, but that is not the case for Science Square Tsukuba. At this museum, you can get a sense of what life will be like in the near future. It's almost like going to a science fiction museum, but in this case, it is science fact—or soon to be fact! The best part about this museum is that you are allowed to touch and interact with some of the displays. 90 minute tours starting at 10AM and 2PM.
Tsukuba Expo CenterFeatures a model of the H2 rocket and a planetarium as well as robots and undersea vehicles. There is also the famous organ-playing robot with a TV-camera in his head that was presented during the Expo.
Mount Tsukuba ShrineNotable for a huge bell and Nikko-style carvings, this shrine lies at the foot of the hiking path/cable car.
Mount TsukubaThere are several hiking paths up the mountain, the most direct of which will get you to the top in about an hour. However, the longest trail offers the most cultural sights, such as shrines and a large stone looking like Buddha. The huge trees and rocks make for a fantastic walk. The not-so-fit can take the cable car to the top. The terminus of the cable car features several restaurants, souvenir stores, and snack shops. The true summit of Nantai-san is a short additional hike. The twin summit of Nyotai-san boasts a dramatic granite formation, a small shrine, and the famous toad-shaped rock, Gama-ishi.
Tsukuba has several large shopping centers such as LALA GARDEN, Q't and SEIBU. Lots of families or couples go there every weekend.
IiasShopping center one stop away (Kenkyuu Gakuen) on the Tsukuba Express line. It offers three floors of stores and restaurants, including a large movie theatre and a pet store.
address: Azuma 1-11Tsukuba is the flagship store of Right-On, a Japanese denim chain.
phone: +81 29-852-4509address: 13-12 HigashiaraiGreat place to enjoy amazing tonkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet). It is near the city center and the layout will remind you of a Denny's in the U.S.A.
address: 2 Chome-14-12 NinomiyaWhile they also cook occidental food, their speciality is a 60 centimeters-high parfait (frozen dessert) for ¥3000, it is called "Bikkuri Thunder Mountain" and is supposed to be enough to feed 10 people.
Menya AOIDelicious miso ramen, in a thick soup. Large serving for the same price.
phone: +81 29-855-8181address: 254 OnozakiTraditional Japanese food.
HeartlandSmall Italian restaurant in a quiet street. It is the best option in walking distance from the Space Center.
Sawadeephone: +81 29-856-1908Authentic Thai food cooked by a Thai chef.
El ToritoAmerican-style Mexican food, a rare sighting in Japan.
address: Amakubo 3-15-1Lively after 7PM.
phone: +81 29-852-1112address: Amakubo 1-1364-1
phone: +81 29-863-7955address: Azuma 1-5-7
phone: +81 29-851-2255Old but cheap and conveniently situated between the train station and Tsukuba Space Center.
phone: +81 29-851-515address: Amakubo 1-13-5