Shin-Hotaka ropeway   新穂高ロープウェイ

April 16th. 2023

For such a small michi no eki Azumino Matsukawa on a wet night there were quite a few overnight vehicles. Come morning, we set off for the Shin-Hotaka ropeway.

Abo Touge (Pass)

On the way to Okuhida, for the Shin-Hotaka ropeway, we took R.158 to Hirayu. We thought it more fun to drive over the Abo Pass as it provides a wonderful view of Mt. Yakedake from the top. The road over the pas is on the right just after the entrance to the Kama tunnel but before the Hirayu tunnel.
The road appears to be open. We drive up past Nakanoyu Onsen but there is more snow and we pass a snow plough. Eventually, we come across the road closed barrier, u-turn and head down meeting the snow plough coming up. Then continue on our way, chastened, through the Hirayu Tunnel to Shin-Hotaka.

Abo Pass

Abo Pass, closed.

Shin-Hotaka ropeway

This has been a famous tourist attraction for some years. Two separate ropeways whisk people up to 2,156 metres above sea level. The upper ropeway is a double decker which, for the passenger, makes no perceptible difference.

We keep checking the local weather. The forecast general outlook is sunny with cloudy intervals, but the high mountains can be different. Things seem reasonably favourable as we enter the ropeway car park and part with 600 Yen.

As we step out of the car, it begins to rain quite heavily but it is just a passing shower and as it passes, we go to buy our tickets 3,300 yen return each. The feed view from the live summit camera in the ticket hall looks grim but we are optimistic that the weather is changeable, and the fast-moving clouds will clear.

Snow world

Once on the ropeway itself we are soon enveloped in thick cloud. As we step out onto the observation deck to enjoy the panorama it is 1 degree C, visibility is a few metres and it is snowing.

Shin-Hotaka ropeway

Shin-Hotaka ropeway

Inside the ropeway station building there is a restaurant, a gift shop and numerable tourist stuck for at least half an hour before the next car down. Outside the building, a few people wander about in the snow, but it is not possible to go far as there is some construction or maintenance work in progress. Some enterprising Latin Americans, I guess, are enjoying a bottle of wine in the snow. One for Instagram perhaps?

Shin-Hotaka ropeway

Top of the ropeway, Nishi-Hotakaguchi station area

Three Little Bears

With no chance of a view, not wishing to eat or buy Mont Bell goods we soon exhaust the possibilities of the upper station and join the queue to descend. On the descent our luck changes as one young lady of about 14 starts to shout Kuma! Kuma! And sure, enough there are 3 bears sitting in a tree. She has her phone handy and snaps a picture which reveals 4 bears as there is a mother at the base of the tree where the cubs are climbing.

This was the first time to see bears on all our travels throughout Japan though I did step in a fresh turd at Urabandai. Luckily it was from the safety of a ropeway. When walking, I realize, I always look out for bears on the ground never thinking to scan the trees.

Garyu-zakura 臥龍桜

the road around Okuhida

The road at Okuhida

After shopping in Takayama, we drive to Hida Ichinomiya to view the famous cherry tree “Garyu-zakura”. Although many other cherry trees are still in full blossom Garyu-zakura is well past its best.

Then to the onsen at Garyu no Sato. This is a pleasant, functional, run of the mill sort of place. That is not a criticism.

Warm and clean we make for michi no eki Hida Asahi Mura. This is large, flat and deserted with limited facilities.

*Garyu no Sato onsen ; 800 yen / adult

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