Tsukuba is a modern city built around the University of Tsukuba — one of the most respected public universities in Japan and home to two Nobel Prize winners and a cyclotron. The city is also located at the foot of Mount Tsukuba which offers scenic views, hiking, and lifts. The surrounding area is mostly agricultural.
You can also travel to Tsukuba by highway bus (高速バス) from Tokyo station's Yaesu south exit (八重洲南口). Most of the buses go to University of Tsukuba, but you can get off at Tsukuba Center, a bus hub located near the Tsukuba Express line station. The travel time is approx. 70 minutes at a cost of ¥1150 each way.
If you have a JR Japan Rail Pass and want to save some yen, keep in mind that the bus run from Tokyo to Tsukuba is COVERED under the Rail Pass.
Tsukuba is extremely accessible and well laid-out. The infrastructure consists of the Higashi-Ōdori (東大通り) on the east and the Nishi-Ōdori (西大通り) on the west, both major roadways running on either side of the university. The campus itself is connected to downtown via a system of bicycle paths and bridges, known as the Pedestrian Way, offering easy transit for university students.
Tsukuba's main attraction for tourists is Mount Tsukuba, a double-peaked mountain with a lot of history. A well-marked "tour bus" drives from the Tsukuba Express Train Station to Tsukuba Shrine for 700 yen each way.
Tsukuba has many places for shopping such as LALA GARDEN, Q't, SEIBU, and so on. Lots of families or couples go there every weekend. Moreover, these shopping centers are large comparatively, so you can kill time when you don't have things to do.
A large shopping center, Iias, is one stop away (Kenkyuu Gakuen) on the Tsukuba Express line and offers three floors of stores and restaurants, including a large movie theatre and pet store.
Ton-Q is a great place to enjoy amazing tonkatsu and a bottle of beer. It is near the city center and the layout will remind you of a Denny's in the U.S.A.
Many bars and izakaya (japanese-style pub) are located in Kuidaore district, which is near to a crossing of Kita-odori (北大通り) and Nishi-odori (西大通り).