「レッツゴー キャム！」Cam, Ikuzo! Come follow Camden’s journey! December 2023
Hiking at Mt. Tsukuba with MIEA’s “Young People’s International Group”
On November 18th I went to go hiking at Mt. Tsukuba, which is considered to be one of the “100 Famous Japanese Mountains.”
As part of MIEA’s (Matsudo City International Exchange Association) “Young People’s International Group,” an event was held for people of different backgrounds living in Matsudo to go hiking together, and it turned out to be a great time. The route that we took had steep slopes at times, but as we climbed up we were able to come across many of Mt. Tsukuba’s famous landmarks. One that really stood out to me was called “Benkei Nana Modori.” “Benkei” is a word referring to a person putting on a strong front, but originates from a legendary warrior called Musashibo Benkei. The landmark is a large rock ledged in a way which makes it appear to be suspended in the air over a cliff-side, with a hiking trail that people pass through beneath it. The name in English translates to “Benkei goes back 7 times,” in reference to a legend that says even Benkei hesitated to pass under the rock which looks like it could come falling down at any moment.
The reddening of autumn leaves came a little bit late this year for the timing of our hike, but the trees that were tinted with red and yellow colors were very pretty, and there was a great view with Mt. Fuji visible in the distance waiting for us at the peak of the mountain. Due to it raining the previous day, there were lots of slippery parts of our route, so we made sure to be very careful of where we were stepping as we hiked up the mountain. By the way, the participants for this event talked in mainly Japanese or English, and there were very little issues in regards to communicating with each other during the hike.
On the top of the mountain there was a place to eat, where I had a chance to talk with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, so it was a great opportunity for international exchange. For going back down the mountain, instead of going by foot we chose to take a ride down on the Mt. Tsukuba Cable Car. Once we got off the cable car, we visited Tsukuba Shrine at the foot of the mountain. Around this time the sun started to set, so from the shrine we had a great view of Mt. Tsukuba being illuminated by the rays of the setting sun. Matsudo City is also home to plenty of famous spots that are surrounded by nature, such as Hondoji and the Forest and Park for the 21st Century, so I am going to make sure I visit all of those places while there are still some autumn colors that can be seen.
The “Young People’s International Group” is looking for people from the age of 18 through 39 who want to be part of more events like this in the future, and when the next event is decided it will be posted on MIEA's Facebook page, so for those who want to have fun and meet people from many different countries, please be on the lookout!