This month we describe a nice tour going to the northern part of Tsukuba and even beyond.
Fureai Park is located on the Kokai River, which is the river flowing along the western edge of Tsukuba. To go there, the best way is to ride along the bicycle path going from Tsukuba center to the university. This path is quite easy to follow. The only place where you may hesitate is when you reach the Amakubo township as the path to follow is just behind the area map. Stay on this path until you reach the red buildings of Tsukuba University.
After the University buildings, the path crosses a road. Cross the road and turn left to leave the path and follow the road, soon you will reach another crossing where you must turn right and then one hundred meters later turn left again. You are now on a road crossing a rural part of Tsukuba. Right after leaving the campus, you will cross a small stream (often dry), then a few houses and paddy fields.
Later, you will cross a second stream (called Hasunuma River on the map) right after a junkyard for old cars. The route follows this stream, and so turn right after the bridge (just before a little cemetery) and follow the small road across the paddy fields. This road follows the direction of the Hasunuma River until it reaches Route 408, where the river disappears.
Cross Route 408 and keep going until you reach a traffic light; then turn right and later turn left at the next traffic light. This road goes all the way to the Kokai River. The Kokai River (Kokaigawa) is a large river (more than 10 meters wide) and you can not miss it.
Once you have reached it turn right before the bridge to take the trail along the bank of the river. It is a gravel path and so if you prefer, you can go on the paved road that also follows the river, but not directly on the banks. You will cross a bridge and then the river makes a 90-degree turn to the left. Follow it and soon you will reach a second bridge (Iwaibashi Bridge).
Cross the river on this bridge and then cross the road at the traffic light and keep following the banks of the Kokaigawa. Soon you will see a big building shaped like a bug. This is the Fureai Park where you will find playgrounds for your children and many nice spots for a lunch.
On the way back, you can follow the same way, but you can also go a bit further on along the Kokaigawa until you reach another bridge, then cross the river and you will have in front of you Mount Tsukuba. Now you can choose any of the roads going across the paddy fields heading toward Mount Tsukuba and after riding for half an hour to 45 minutes you should reach the Sakura River. You will have to go along its banks until you find a bridge to cross it.
Soon after the bridge you should reach Route 14. Turn right and as soon as possible turn left to leave Route 14 and keep heading toward Mount Tsukuba. Before reaching it you should see a bridge over a red trail (Tsukuba Rin Rin Road). This red trail is an old railway that is now converted in a cycling trail. Turn right onto this trail (there should be access roads before and after the Bridge) and you are now on your way back to Tsukuba center. You will pass a few former stations like the former Tsukuba Station.
After a few kilometers a big road passes over the trail, and then one hundred meters later, you will see a sign indicating that you enter the village of "Niihari" and a second bridge passing over the cycling trail. Turn left on this bridge to cross (again) the Sakura River and keep following the road until you reach Higashi Odori near the entrance of Tsukuba University. Once there you can either go back to the center along Higashi Odori or take the cycling path in Tsukuba University.
You can find more details and pictures of this park at http://alientimes.free.fr/sunnysunday
To provide the best ideas to everybody, we need your suggestions. Please email us at sunny-sunday.tsukuba[at]delerue.org what are you preferred places around Tsukuba where you go on sunny Sundays.
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