Occasionally, I have a hot chocolate just so that I have an excuse to share a spot with you all. This is one of those moments. The hot chocolate was like those hot chocolates many of you will remember from your childhood; a sweet powdery drink made with hot water and served in a paper cup. The hot cup warmed my hands while I enjoyed the stunning views from the top of Shinhotaka Ropeway.
The Shinhotaka Ropeway has one of the largest elevation gains in the country. It climbs over 1000 meters to reach the Hotake Mountain Ranges which includes Japan’s third highest peak, Oku-Hotakedake. What is unique about this ropeway is that it has a double decker gondola cars, the first of their kind in Japan, that take you up to the top. The first climb is 200 meters on a single story ropeway. Then you get on the double decker ropeway to climb the remaining 800 meters to the upper station at 2150 meters. There is a restaurant (we had Shin-Hotaka ramen), a little shop and a café selling, among other things, take away hot chocolate.
It snowed the night before so there was a fresh layer of snow for us all to play in and it was very difficult to convince everyone to take the gondola back down. The only way we convinced the kids was by telling them that we could dip our feet into the hot springs at the bottom of the mountain (free) and buy some eggs boiled in the hot spring water to eat for snack.
Verdict: The ropeway is an hour drive from Takayama and the area is full of onsens because of the hot springs. The mountain was stunning and the hot chocolate did a great job at warming my hands. The website has a live cam if you want to see what it looks like right now. Shinhotaka Ropeway, Okuhida Onsen-go, Takayama, Gifu.