Our two week long Japanese sightseeing trip was rapidly coming to an end now. With one day to go to the big day of Yuko and Terrance’s wedding, Ryan and I decided to spend our last day as tourists by taking the Komagatake Ropeway up the local mountain and see a bit of the famous Chuo Alps.
To get there we first needed to navigate from Ina to Komagane via train, slightly trickier than in the big cities because out here no English language signage is available.
Nevertheless, we managed easily enough (really, it’s essential to hire a data modem for the duration of your trip – an invaluable tool in this day and age!), and once in Komagane, we made our way up to the bus station where we were able to procure our tickets (an expensive outing mind you) up to the cableway station without too many hiccups.
First opened in 1967 (refurbished in 2014 – lucky us, best timing ever!), the Komagatake Ropeway was Japan’s first ever mountain ropeway, and climbs Mount Kisokoma, running up to the Senjojiki Cirque which is directly below Mount Hokendake.
Its summit station is noted as being the highest in terms of altitude cableway station in the country, coming in at an altitude of 2,611.5 m.
(In other words, the views of the Chuo Alps are simply beyond spectacular!)
Autumn was starting to hit its stride, meaning that the scenic forests on the way up were all starting to turn various shades of orange and red, making for a fiery spectacle on the way up, whilst at the top the landscape was a lot more barren, with loads of beautifully fragile Japanese mountain foliage on display.
Of course, that high up the air was pretty crisp and very cold – not that it bothered us South African blokes mind you – shorts and t-shirts all the way! (Much to the amusement of the other mountain travelers in case you were wondering!)
An absolute treat of an excursion and definitely a recommended pit-stop if you ever find yourself travelling through the Kiso Valley and Komagane in particular!
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Oh, and of course, Ryan’s stuffed pig got his photo taken as well:
Related Link: Komagatake Ropeway