Hiking is the perfect activity for the Covid pandemic. The hiking trails give you the wide spaces to social distance and you don’t even need to wear a mask if you’re nowhere near another hiker.
It’s also a great option if you just need to get out after being continously holed up inside your room because of the pandemic.
So recently we hiked to the top of Hōkyōsan (or Mount Hōkyō 宝篋山), a 461-meter mountain in the Tsukuba mountainous region. The name derives from Hōkyōintō (宝篋印塔), a type of Japanese pagoda that was erected on its peak.
It’s a low mountain that offers an alternative to people who have climbed the more famous Mount Tsukuba, or those who want a more leisurely hike than that offered by its taller neighbor.
The hike starts at the Hōkyōsan Oda Rest Area, where a nearby parking area can accomodate about 70 cars. It can also be reached by bus from TX Tsukuba Station or JR Tsuchiura Station.
The city of Tsukuba has a page about the hiking course. You can also download a PDF of the trekking map here.
Below are some photos I took.
A group of children accompanied by their Kindergarten teachers
Hikers taking a rest on their way to the top of Hōkyōsan
The two peaks of Mount Tsukuba from the summit of Hōkyōsan