The University of Tsukuba, founded in October 1973, is one of Japans leading comprehensive universities. Three Nobel Prize laureates have served as either president or faculty. The University of Tsukuba is a relatively new university, yet in fact, it has a long and distinguished history in the Japanese university system. Its origin dates back more than 130 years to the Meiji era when Japan started its modernization. What is now the University of Tsukuba was founded in 1872 as the Normal School (which later became the Tokyo Higher Normal School), the first teachers college in Japan. Its successor, the Tokyo University of Education, founded in 1947, moved to the Tsukuba area, which is about 60 km (36 miles) northeast of Tokyo, in 1973.
The planners of the University of Tsukuba aspired to create a new kind of institution at a time when scholars in Japanese universities were still reluctant to break down disciplinary barriers. As such, since its inception, Tsukuba has been a forerunner in university reform in Japan. For example, our academic and research units were designed in such a way as to enable interdisciplinary research and education. Moreover, it was here that Japans first graduate-level evening courses for professionals were offered in such areas as law and international business.
Located at the center of Tsukuba Science City, the university grew simultaneously with the development of the city. This science city is well known internationally for its large concentration of major research institutes such as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK). The name Tsukuba has attained high international esteem for its multitude of research accomplishments.
Our campus is quite distinctive. The main Tsukuba campus covers an area of 258 hectares (636 acres), making it the largest single campus in Japan. Moreover, both the campus and the city are surrounded by beautiful nature. It is, however, not far from the metropolitan district. The Tsukuba Express, the new train system that began its service in the summer of 2005, now connects downtown Tsukuba with Akihabara, Tokyo, in 45 minutes.