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Showing posts with label Ibaraki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ibaraki. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mark 1 Hotel Tsukuba


Virtually next door to the Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen Tsukuba, at Kenkyugakuen Station is the Mark-1 Hotel Tsukuba - a superior business hotel with the added luxury of a spacious onsen bath open to guests-only.

Mark 1 Hotel Tsukuba, Ibaraki

The boxy rooms are modern and the beds firm. There are excellent views of Mt. Tsukuba from the north facing side.

Tsukuba (Science City) in Ibaraki Prefecture is best reached on the Tsukuba Express (TX) Line from Akihabara (1100 yen) in Tokyo.

Near the Mark 1 hotel is the pleasant Kenkyugakuen-mae Park and the popular Iias shopping mall with its food courts, import supermarket and large Uniqlo store.

Mark 1 Hotel Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

Also in Kenkyugakuen-mae the Bestland Hotel has an excellent Italian style restaurant, La Porta, on the ground (1st) floor.

Mark 1 Hotel Tsukuba
D3 Gaiku 5
Tsukuba city
Ibaraki 305-0817
Tel: 029 875 7272
Check-in: 15:00
Check-out: 10:00

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kenkyugakuen Station Tsukuba


Kenkyugakuen Station is the penultimate stop on the Tsukuba Express (TX) Line between Akihabara and Tsukuba (Science City) in Ibaraki Prefecture. Semi-express and local Tsukuba Express trains stop here and the fare to Akihabara is 1100 yen.

Kenkyugakuen Station, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

Near the station is the pleasant Kenkyugakuen-mae Park and the popular Iias shopping mall with its food courts, import supermarket and large Uniqlo store.

The surrounding square, where buses depart into Tsukuba, and streets are all no-smoking areas.

Kenkyugakuen Station, Tsukuba, Ibaraki

Hotels near Kenkyugakuen Station include Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen Tsukuba, the Mark-1 Hotel Tsukuba and the Bestland with an excellent Italian style restaurant, La Porta, on the ground (1st) floor.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen Tsukuba


Toyoko Inn near Kenkyugakuen Station on the Tsukuba Express (TX) Line that runs between Akihabara and Tsukuba (Science City) in Ibaraki Prefecture is a decent business class accommodation for travelers and conference goers.

Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen Tsukuba Ibaraki

Located just a few minutes walk from Kenkyugakuen Station, the Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen is close to a good Chinese restaurant, an adult-friendly shochu bar and the nearby Kenkyugakuen-mae Park.

Other Tsukuba attractions within reach of the Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen Tsukuba include the Tsukuba Cultural Center Ars which houses the Tsukuba Museum of Art and the Municipal Library. The Iias shopping complex is within five minutes walk.

Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen Tsukuba Ibaraki Japan

Another nearby hotel is the Mark-1 Hotel Tsukuba.

Toyoko Inn Kenkyugakuen Tsukuba
305-0817 Ibaraki
Kenkyugakuen D3 Town Districts 7

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Music Festivals in Japan 2012

Here is a listing of music festivals in Japan for the summer of 2012.

Rock and Electronic

The Peaceful Love Rock Festival

July 7-8, Okinawa with Diamantes & Zukan

Nano-Mugen Fes

July 15-16, Yokohama Arena with Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Suede, Mates of State

Goose Fresh Beat

July 14-15, Yukari no Mori, Tsukuba, Ibaraki


August 18-19, Hiroshima with Dragon Ash, Radwimps

Join Alive

July 21-22, Iwamizawa, Hokkaido with NICO Touches the Walls, Mannish Boys

Fuji Rock Festival

July 27-29, Naeba featuring Radiohead, Noel Gallagher, Stone Roses, Elvis Costello

Rock in Japan

August 3-5, Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki with Avengers in Sci-Fi, Weaver, Dragon Ash

World Happiness

August 12, Yumenoshima Park, Tokyo with YMO and Kaela Kimura

Rising Sun Festival (RSR)

August 10-11, Ishikari, Hokkaido


August 17, Makuhari Messe (Chiba) featuring Pitbull, Basement Jaxx, 2manyDjs

Summer Sonic

August 18-19, Tokyo and Osaka with Green Day, Rihanna, Jamiroquai, Tears For Fears

Arabaki Rock Fest (held in April this year)

April 28-29, Michinoku Park, Miyagi

Freedommune Zero

August 11, Makuhari Messe (Chiba) with Manuel Göttsching, The Lowbrows


August 25, Yokohama Arena with Gary Beck, Derrick May, Ken Ishii


May 12, Makuhari Messe (Chiba) with Orbital, Mayuri, Derrick May


June 2-3, Kodamanomori, Kiso-mura, Kiso-gun, Nagano


Sept 15-17, Naeba, Niigata

Other Festivals

Sapporo City Jazz

July-August, Sapporo

Pacific Music Festival (classical)

July-August, Sapporo

Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto (classical)

August 7-Sept 7, Matsumoto

Monterey Jazz Festival

July 28, Noto, Ishikawa

Tokyo Jazz Festival

Sept 7-9, Tokyo

Starlight Dance Reggae Festival

July 14-16, Meiho Ski Resort, Gifu

Ueda Joint

Not held this year

World Music & Dance Festival

August 4-10, Hakodate, Hokkaido

Earth Celebration

August 17-19, Sado Island with Kodo


August 24-26, Nanto, Toyama

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tsukuba Station


Tsukuba Station is the terminus of the Tsukuba Express (TX) that runs between Akihabara and Tsukuba (Science City) in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Tsukuba Station, Ibaraki

Tsukuba Station's facilities and platforms are underground and include the premises of the local tourism information office. Tsukuba bus station is adjacent to the train station. North of Tsukuba Station is the large Chuo Park area and an interestingly designed koban (police box). Farther north is the Tsukuba Expo Center and beyond that Matsumi Park.

Tsukuba Station

Other Tsukuba attractions within easy walking distance of Tsukuba Station include the Tsukuba Cultural Center Ars which houses the Tsukuba Museum of Art and the Municipal Library.

Nearby hotels include the Okura Frontier Hotel Tsukuba.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kegon Falls in Nikko


Kegon Falls

The Kegon Falls (Kegon no Taki) are a famous natural feature of the historically famous town of Nikko, and one of 98 waterfalls in the Nikko area. With a height of 97 meters, the Kegon Falls are among the three highest waterfalls in Japan, the other two being the Fukuroda Falls in Ibaraki and the Nachi Falls in Wakayama.

The Kegon Falls are fed by Lake Chuzenji, a lake created by the eruption tens of thousands of years ago by the volcano, Mt. Nantai, that sits just north-east of it. The Kegon Falls are formed from lava from that eruption.

Such is their height that the spray produced by the water falling into the precipice below can, depending on the weather conditions, fill the whole area, making the falls themselves all but invisible. At such times, this mist produced does not disperse, but rises into the air forming what is effectively cloud, visible from a long way away.

Kegon Falls Nikko

The Kegon Falls were said to have been first discovered by the priest Shodo Shonin, of the Nara period of Japanese history, and of whom there is a statue in Nikko. He was an advocate of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism (known as the Kegon school in Japanese Buddhism), after which he named the falls.

Kegon Falls in Nikko

Since the early 20th century, the falls have been infamous as a place for youth suicides since the young poet, Misao Fujimura, despondent in unrequited love, wrote a poem on the trunk of a tree at the Kegon Falls before jumping to his death from them in 1903.

There is an elevator that for a 550 yen fee, takes sightseers about 100 meters down to the base of the falls where their power and beauty can be truly appreciated.

There are a few souvenir shops, stalls and restaurants around the falls, serving tourists.


The Kegon Falls are about 20 kilometers west of Nikko by road. The falls themselves are hundreds of meters above sea level. Therefore, the way up is a steep one and involves navigating a long series of hairpin curves. Helpfully, both the road up and the road down are one-way, considerably enhancing safety and peace-of-mind.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mount Tsukuba


Mount Tsukuba or Tsukuba-san in Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture rises to 877m and is clearly visible from the city.

Mount Tsukuba, Ibaraki

The twin peaks of the mountain are Nyotai-san at 877m and Nantai-san at 871m - "Male Mountain" and "Female Mountain" respectively.

Visitors can reach the peaks by either cable car or ropeway and there are tremendous views over the Kanto Plain below as far as Tokyo and the Sky Tree.

Mount Tsukuba cable car

Buses run from Tsukuba Station to both the cable car and ropeway stations at the foot of the mountain and various hiking trails criss-cross the slopes.

Tsukubasan Shrine at the foot of Nyotai-san has festivals on the first day of April and November and there are small shrines on the summits of both peaks.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tiger Jeet Singh Curry House


Indian restaurants called "Star of India" or "Taj Mahal" can be found all over the world so it was a bit of a surprise to find an Indian restaurant called "Guns" in Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, to the north of Tokyo.

"Guns" is owned by Tiger Jeet Singh, a former pro-wrestler in Japan, known for entering the ring in a turban and carrying a sword. Now a Canadian citizen, the Punjab-born Singh is famous for his philanthropy and his business acumen.

Tiger Jeet Singh Curry House

Enjoy an excellent Indian buffet lunch surrounded by some memorabilia from Tiger Jeet Singh's eventful career in the ring.

茨城県つくば市天久保1-8-9 第2松見ビル1F
Tel: 029 859 6677

Tiger Jeet Singh Curry House Tsukuba

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011



The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, is a leading Japanese research institute with strong international credentials.

Founded in 2001 in an amalgamation of other research institutes, AIST is Japan's largest public research organization and employs over 3,000 people. AIST is a leader in the field of green innovations, standardization, solar-power, and industrial R&D.

AIST, Tsukuba

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) site in Tsukuba has both a Geological Museum and the interesting Science Square Tsukuba. Here visitors can see displays of the latest Japanese robots including the therapeutic seal robot, Paro, a dinosaur robot, Tyrannosaurus, the Choromet mini-humanoid robots and a number of full-size humanoid robots in the HRP series.

AIST, Tsukuba

Awarded a Michelin Green Star, the museums are free to the public and are fun for families with young children. The Tsukuba site has a noted outdoor cafe looking over a lovely pond.

1-1-1 Higashi
Tel: 029 861 2130

Science Square
Open: 9:30am to 5pm (Tuesday to Sunday)

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Monday, August 01, 2011



Described as the world's most therapeutic robot, Paro was developed by the The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba in the early 1990s.

Paro robot

The furry, white, harp seal robot reacts to being petted and was designed as a kind of animal therapy for people in hospitals and nursing homes. Paro's tactile sensors allow it to respond to touch by moving its tail and opening and closing its eyes.

Paro Homepage

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Morgen & Sieger Cafe & Bakery

Residents and visitors to Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, can enjoy delicious German-style bread and cakes at the Morgen & Sieger bakery and konditorei.

Morgen & Sieger Cafe & Bakery Tsukuba

Located on the north side of Doho Park, Morgen & Sieger serves mouth-watering sandwiches (though heavy on the ham and cheese and therefore not great for vegetarians) and bread and you can enjoy a set quiche lunch at Sieger with tea or coffee.

Morgen & Sieger Cafe & Bakery Tsukuba Ibaraki

Sieger's range of cakes make for great presents and they also bake wedding cakes for order.

Sengen 2-13-2
Tel: 029 852 5777

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Green House Tsukuba


On a recent visit to Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, we stayed at the Green House, a short drive or taxi ride from Kenkyugakuen Station on the TX Express Line to Akihabara.

Green House Tsukuba

Rooms here are available for the day or on longer term rentals. Set in a lovely, pesticide-free garden Green House prides itself on its eco-friendliness: well-water showers, tatami and wood floors, beds made from local timber, free rental bicycles and stone floors in the bathrooms.

Green House Tsukuba Ibaraki

Green House
Tel: 029 856 8881

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Mitsukoshi Department Store Nihonbashi


The doorway in the impressive Renaissance-style facade of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Nihonbashi contains two bronze statues of lions.

The lions are based on the four lions found at the foot of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square in London and were made by a British company in 1914.

Mitsukoshi Department Store opened in 1935 and the company itself began trading in 1673, when it was called Echigoya, selling fabric for kimonos. The company founder Mitsui Takatoshi would later establish the Mitsui business empire and Mitsukoshi stores.

Mitsukoshi Department Store Nihonbashi
1-4-1 Nihonbashi-Muromachi
Tel: 03 3241 3311


A 1-minute walk along an underground passageway from Mitsukoshimae subway station on the Ginza and Hanzomon lines or the Tokyo subway, a 3-minute walk from Shin-Nihonbashi Station on the JR Sobu Line or a 7-minute walk from Kanda Station on the JR Yamanote and Chuo lines.

Mitsukoshi Department Store Nihonbashi Tokyo

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Hinano Restaurants


Hinano is a restaurant chain serving locally sourced, often organic, all you can eat buffets, which are great for vegetarians in Japan.

Hinano Restaurant, Tsukuba

Hinano franchises are mainly in northern Japan and Kanto with a few restaurants spreading in Kansai in Nara, Osaka and Hyogo Prefectures. Hinano has its HQ in Sendai and started its operations in 2007.

There are outlets in Sapporo, Hachinohe, Sendai, Mito, Tokorozawa, Tsukuba, Utsunomiya, Nagoya, Toyohashi, Yokkaichi, Ise, Okazaki and Nara as well as other cities.

Hinano Restaurant

The choice of fresh food is huge with delicious desserts and a range of fresh juices. Interiors are traditional Japanese farmhouse style with lots of wood and basketware.

The restaurant pictured is in the LALA Garden Mall in Tsukuba Tel: 029 855 8031. Hours are lunch 11am-3.30pm and dinner 5.30-10.30pm. Last orders are an hour before closing time.

Hinano Restaurant

Hinano restaurants

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Muji Department Store, Kyoto


"Muji ryohin," or just Muji as it is more commonly known, is a department store that sells items of generally good quality for reasonable prices.

The name literally means "No brand, good quality."

Thus, unlike almost all other Japanese stores, you will not come away with clothing with someone's name on it, wrapped in boxes and paper and string and plastic that will be tossed out as soon as you get home---and for a decent price.

The look of Muji products is simple. From clothing to bikes to household items, Muji goods have a pared down look. Today stores in Japan carry some 7,000 different products.

Muji started in 1980, working out of the Seiyu chain of department stores. By 1991, the first store opened overseas, in London.

Today the brandless brand shop has roughly 16 stores abroad and 180 in Japan.

The store pictured here is on Senbon Dori, in Kyoto.

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Friday, May 05, 2006


つくば (筑波)

Just got back to Tokyo, from two very pleasant days in Japan's science city - Tsukuba.

The pleasant Chuo Koen in central Tsukuba

Now within easy commuting distance of Tokyo (45 minutes) since the opening of the Tsukuba Express (TX), the open-plan city in Ibaraki has enough to keep you occupied for a short visit and the glorious Golden Week weather made strolling in the city's parks a relaxing break from the metropolis.

Planned in the 1960s as an overspill town for Tokyo, the new city attracted a number of research institutes along with Tsukuba University. The 1985 Expo confirmed Tsukuba's status as Japan's leading hi-tech research and development center. Now around 19,000 researchers (40% of Japan's total) live in the city.

Tsukuba is a planned environment 40 km from Tokyo

The numerous public and private research institutes located in Tsukuba include the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Geographical Survey Institute (GSI), which standardizes maps for the whole country, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) and the Meteorological Research Institute.
Many of these research institutes have attached public museums which can be visited on a bus or bicycle tour of the town.

Bicycles can be rented from the Tourist Information Office for 500 yen a day (029 836 1111) and are an excellent way to explore the town, which has a network of cycle paths. The bus tours are also booked from the Tourist Information Office, which is adjacent to the main bus and railway station. The Tsukuba Science Tour (029 863 6868) enables visitors to get on and off the shuttle buses which circle the main sites about every hour. The tours cost 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for pre-junior high school children.

A view of Tsukuba with the rocket at the Expo Center and the twin peaks of Mt. Tsukuba in the background

Most visitors tend to take in the robots at Science Square Tsukuba, the rockets and satellites at the Japan Space Center (JAXA) and the impressive glass-houses at Tsukuba Botannical Gardens. Doho and Matsumi Parks are also worth a visit and both have excellent sports facilities.

Tsukuba's other main attraction are the twin peaks of Mount Tsukuba which are about 870 m in height and offer fantastic views of the Kanto plain below. There are buses from Tsukuba station to the shrine at the foot of the mountain and then a cable car (570 yen) to the summit of Nantai (Male mountain) or a ropeway (600 yen) to the top of Nyotai (Female mountain). The mountain offers onsen, restaurants, hiking trails and an observatory.

Information here on Soy Sauce

Tsukuba guide



Saturday, August 27, 2005

Tsukuba Express (TX)

つくばエクスプレス - 秋葉原ーつくば

Tsukuba Express (c) Tsukuba City
Wednesday August 24 saw the start of a new express train service - the Tsukuba Express - between Tokyo's electronics mecca of Akihabara and Tsukuba (Science City) in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The 58 km route which passes through Saitama and Chiba prefectures will take 45 minutes compared to 85 minutes previously on the JR Joban Line or around 65 minutes by bus.

The new line has 20 stations equipped with automated gates with stops in downtown Tokyo at Shin-Okachimachi, Asakusa, Minami-Senju and Kita-Senju.
Fares are presently 1,150 yen for the whole journey.

Tsukuba Express English information

Guide to Tsukuba