The twin peaks of Mount Tsukuba lie to the north of the city.
To reach the mountain, go up Higashi Odori to the very end (past the Clean Center and the Japanese national archives, then turn left at the T junction and then right again at the sign with a monkey on it.
Walking up from the bottom funicular station to the top is a good afternoon outing. It is worthy of an entry in the Lonely Planet - "Hiking in Japan". If you are relatively fit, you will make it. You start off from the Tsukuba San Jinja (shrine). Turn left, walk up the stone steps to the funicular station. Just before you get there the trail starts. There is a map... so no problem. Some parts are quite rocky and steep. It's not a "walk", certainly a "hike". On a hot summer day it can be quite exerting.. but it is worth it. If you drive up to the end of the road right in front of the shrine, restaurant owners will offer to let you park at some exhorbitant rate ($10 for the afternoon). Do not be deceived, there is a road up to the left, just after the traffic light before the shrine, which leads to a free municipal parking lot.
At the top there is a seedy (oh, it's OK) revolving restaurant... it sounds as if it is going to fall off its bearings now and then. Have a bowl of noodles there, and then continue along the crest. You pass some high power microwave antenae. Bashou thought that Tsukuba San compared favourably with Fuji San
Sure, it has beautiful snow (Fuji)
but shining Mount Tsukuba
is clothed in purple
quoted from translation in Lonely Planet - Hiking in Japan
and then a little noodle stall. At that point you can go down to take a cable car down... and pass a large rock that looks like a toad (... you have to use your imagination). Or you can go down the north (?) side on a trail back down to the town. Before doing either, go to the shrine right at the top. It has a scary outlook over the countryside (be sure you don't fall over!). In the shrine there is (sometimes?) a friendly guy who will invite you inside to chat if you happen to get caught in a thunderstorm.
You can also take the funicular back down.
One of the main attractions on Tsukuba san is the cable ar.
Follow road signs for Mt.Tsukuba, and once on the mountain follow signs for the ropeway. It's pretty far up the mountain but keep going!
In the carpark you will find an aincent, but interesting, set of Childrens rides and attractions.
The ropeway is 700(ish) yen for a one way ticket (walking back the other way) or 1070yen for a return.
Once at the top you can explore several walking routes.
Alternatively you can buy a pass to use the ropeway, then hike for about 30(?) mins and take seperate cable car back down. There is then a shuttlebus to take you back to your original start point. Tickets cost around 2000yen.
This maop shows the rough starting point for both the ropeway and cable car: map
The most famous product is Gama abura, otherwise known as "toad oil", a cure-all made from the sweat of toads.