A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

HIGH PROFILE Tsukuba Landmark To Be Dismantled !

Tsukuba`s Meteorological Observation Tower Will Disappear in June

By Avi Landau
When not exactly sure of where we are in Tsukuba, locals and long time residents, always look for Mt Tsukuba`s familiar, semi-crushed M shape. When we spot it, we immediately gain our bearings.
When it is too cloudy, or hazy ( as it often is in summer) to spot the  familiar mountain, there is another landmark, which Tsukubans have turned to, to find their way- the 213 meter tall steel tower which since 1975 has been standing within the spacious precincts of the National Meteorological Research Institute.
With its  blinking beacons, it is especially visible at night, and when returning to Tsukuba from other parts, whether by car or by bus,  its flashing lights are always like a warm and reassuring WELCOME HOME.

The Meteorological Measurement Tower

You can imagine how dismayed I was then, to find out, that this highest of all structures in Tsukuba, has been deemed to have outlived its usefulness, and judged too costly to maintain. In other words, it has been condemned, and will be dismantled by the end of June.
I once had the good fortune to have been invited, by a researcher affiliated with the institute, to go up to the top of orange and white tower. I was amazed by how much time the small elevator ( capacity-3) took to get to the top- about 20 minutes! A veritable snail`s pace!
The view from the top was worth the long ride and the frosty temperatures, though, with Mt Tsukuba, Lake Kasumigaura and Mt Fuji all visible.
There is also a ladder which can be climbed to the top- not for the acrophobic! I have heard that this route up has been illicitly used by various late night-thrill seekers, including students from a nearby ( and quite famous) private school.

The tower through the trees

You would think that they might be able to keep the tower as an observation deck for tourists, but the problem is- that slow and small elevator. Just not economical.

The tower was used to take collect all sorts of meteorological data, which can now be gathered by other means, using newer technologies.
I think I speak for all of those who have grown familiar with, and fond of this tower, when I say I will be sad to see it gone ( though when it IS gone, on very windy days I will no longer have to keep a nervous eye on it as I pass within its falling range!)

Some of the small woods near the tower

I`m also concerned about what will happen to the area around it after it is dismantled. It is now  a sort of unofficial nature preserve, with plenty of trees and open meadows to provide a haven for birds and small mammals.Unfortunately, most of this will in all probability quickly disappear.
Deconstruction work has already begun, so if you`d like to take some memorial photos or call out a final farewell, you`d better hurry up.
Alas !What will will we look to now when lost on foggy days or by the dark of night?
Here is what Ive written about Tsukuba`s notorious non-working windmills, and what happened to them:

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