Photo:白石准 on Photozou

Shinhotaka Ropeway – A Magnificent Winter Scenery Spot on Mt. Hotaka

The third tallest peaks of Japan named the Hotaka Mountain are situated near the Takayama area of Gifu prefecture. It is a snow covered region attracting a lot of tourists in the spring and early summer seasons. One of the biggest ropeways of Asia is situated in these mountain ranges which takes us to the top of the Hotaka Mountain with an altitude of 2156 meters. 

There are two different ropeways in this place. From the bus station, we could walk up to the first ropeway base station which carries the visitors to Nabedaira Kogen station at an altitude of 1305 meters. The first base station has a hot spring, souvenir shops, art gallery with paintings, wood carvings and sculptures, restaurants etc.

People used to dip their limbs in a small hot spring at the garden of this base station. The warm water of this tiny water body is believed to soothe and soften the body. This first and small ropeway carries us to the top of the second ropeway station after a four minutes ride above the green and thick forest during the spring and summer. But during the winter season, it will be fully snow-covered in this region also. From the Nabedaira Kogen, the second ropeway with double decked cable cars climbs up to the Hotaka Mountain. This is the first double decked cable cars of Japan. This cable car can accommodate up to 70 people at its bottom deck and 50 at the bottom.

A six minute aerial ride gives a nice experience of traveling over the snow-filled valleys of the Hotaka ranges, with a number of green coniferous tree tops popping up through the snow. The guide gives explanations about the mountains around us and other interesting things about the place during this small ride. We could see the parking area and the bus station at the valley as we move to the top. The vehicles could be seen like perfectly arranged boxes at the foot of the valley. As the car moved up, they disappeared.

The cable car takes us to the top station of the Hotaka Mountain which has a building consisting of many souvenir shops, food stalls, etc. The observation deck is situated at the forth floor of this building from where we can enjoy the majestic view of snow covered mountain ranges touching the sky on all four sides.

The wide building terrace gives clear and beautiful views of the mountain ranges from each corner. The picture, name and other details of each mountain around us are written on boards situated at the corresponding directions of this observation deck. A postbox and some deer shapes made out of wooden logs could be seen at one end of this observation deck. The panoramic view of snow filled mountain ranges and the greeneries heading up through it creates a nice treat for the cameras and eyes. 

The roundtrip cost for the two ropeways is 2900 yen for the adults and 1600 yen for children. Cars and other vehicles may travel up to the parking area of the Nabedaira Kogen station. From there, the ropeway costs 2800 yen for adults and 1500 yen for children. This is a really nice seasonal trip to enjoy the snow and the onsens during the late winter season and early summer. The ropeway and the nature of these mountain ranges are interesting and worth viewing at any time.

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