Sunday, 31 March 2013

Plum Grove and Aerial Tramway of Mt. Tsukuba

Tsukuba-san Aerial Tramway

It got warm in Tokyo. Who would have thought it would get warmer so quickly?

While it is cherry blossom season in downtown Tokyo, plums are still blooming in the northern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. I visited a plum grove at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture at the end of last week.

Tsukuba-san Plum Grove is one of the largest plantations in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Local people cultivate plum trees for fruit to eat and blossoms for viewing. When I visited there, both red and white plums were in full bloom. The visitors were enjoying the last days of the 2013 plum viewing season in their own way (see the following photo).

After enjoying the beautiful plum grove, I climbed up the 877-meter peak on foot. It was a bit hard work for me. So, I then came down to the mountain foot by an aerial tramway, namely the "Tsukuba-san Ropeway" (see the top photo). The Tsukuba-san Ropeway was opened in 1965. Connecting Tsutsujigaoka and Nyotaisan stations, the route length is 1,300m. The height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 298m. Currently, Swiss made medium sized gondolas, which can accommodate up to 70 passengers, are operated every 20 minutes. The travel time between two stations is 6 minutes. It took only a moment; while it was tough to climb up to the summit on foot.

A gorgeous plum grove and a scenic aerial tramway... it was a weekend full of memories again.

Full-blown plum trees in Tsukuba-san Plum Grove