Mt. Tsukuba, One of 100 Unique Geological Spots in Japan
Japan Geotechnical Consultants Association has announced the first 83 locations out of about 380 candidate sites to be included in their list of 100 geology spots in Japan, a.k.a., 日本の地質百選 (Nihon no Chishitsu Hayku-sen) last month. JGCA organized this project to raise public interest in local geology and at the same time, give local tourism industry a boost.
According to JGCA’s website, it made a selection based on the candidate site’s importance in understanding the geologic history of Japan and how the particular site will benefit the local education and tourism if picked.
So what’s so unique about the geology of Mt.Tsukuba?
According to Kazuhiro Miyazaki of Institute of Geology and Geoinformation (part of AIST), Mt.Tsukuba is made up of mainly two kinds of plutonic rocks, gabbro around the top of the mountain, surrounded by granite. The famous “Toad-shaped Rock” on Mt. Tsukuba is one big chunk of weathered gabbro, for example. Mr. Miyazaki states that a mountain made up of gabbro is rare. Orbicular granite is another rarity found in Mt.Tsukuba, and it is designated as the Ibaraki Prefectural natural treasure. Orbicular granite can be seen in the Ishioka City side of Mt.Tsukuba. (information based on June 17 issue of Asahi Newspaper)
As you know, or if you didn’t know, Mt. Tsukuba has been known as one of (100 since 1964 after a book called 日本百名山, Nihon Hyaku Meizain, came out that year) notable mountains in Japan since Edo Period (1603 to 1867 a.d.), so this new project has brought a new glory to this much-loved mountain. Mt. Tsukuba is the only site in Ibaraki to be included in the list of 100 so far.
If you love cycling or hiking, you might be interested in looking at the current exhibit called “Rediscover the Nature of Tsukuba” at Geological Museum before you plan your next outing. The exhibit is all in Japanese unfortunately, but you can still see the images of various geologically interesting sites in Tsukuba area. You can pick up magazine-type and fold out-type catalogs there. If you are heading home for summer, these catalogs can also be good souvenirs for your friends and families to show them what Tsukuba is like…, geologically!
Rediscover the Nature of Tsukuba
Geological Museum (AIST)
April 17 to July 16
Hours: 9:30 to 16:30