Riding Shinhotaka Ropeway

We went to Shinhotaka ropeway from Norikura with a bus tour group. It took about one hour to reach there. As per the instructions given by the tour guide, who followed them. At 2.15pm, we reached the Nabedaira Kogen from where the ropeway station is located. The guide gave our ropeway tickets. As the next cabin will be starting from there at 2.45pm, we walked around there. The place was surrounded by snowy mountains on all sides.

The Ropeway of Shinhotaka

At 2.45pm, we entered the lower decker of the cabin. Shinhotaka Ropeway is the largest ropeway of Asia with double-decker cabins. From Nabedaira Kogen, it climbs over 800 meters up to the Hotake Mountain range, which includes Oku-Hotakedake, Japan’s third highest peak. The double-decker cars that can accommodate 50 people per deck are the distinguishing feature of this ropeway, which is the first of this kind in Japan. I got scared thinking the fact that there are 100 men accommodated inside the cabin which is moving through a ropeway over these huge mountain valleys. As the gondola moved up, I forget all these fears and it was quite a great experience to ride above the thick woods. From the foot to gradually changing white mountain peaks, the cabin moved up. We could see the parking place where our bus has been parked. All the vehicles looked like perfectly arranged matchboxes in the beginning and later as small dark dots which gradually disappeared.

Shinhotaka Ropeway
View from the ropeway cabin

We reached the upper Nishi-Hotaka Station in about 6 minutes. It is situated at an altitude of about 2150 meters. It has a restaurant, gift shops and, an observation deck. We climbed the stairs to reach the observation deck of the fourth floor. The grand panoramic view from the observation platform is breathtaking.  The snowy valley with coniferous trees peeping out at some places resembled some pictures in some X`mas cards. It was like the path driven by the rain-deer cart of Santa Claus. At the observation deck, there are information boards containing the name, picture and other details of the surrounding mountains.

Vview from the mount-view observation deck.
View from the mount-view observation deck.

There are souvenir shops in the building which was really crowded. After buying some souvenir, we reached the ropeway station. At the base station, there is a museum at the lower floor. There are some beautiful drawings, wood carvings, photographs etc. in this museum. A small garden with a small hot spring is located near the station building. Visitors can rest dipping their feet in the hot spring.  Once we were about to leave the place, it started raining.