Shin-Hotaka Onsen & Ropeway

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
Trip End May 17, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hotakaso Yamano Hotel Takayama
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Japan  , Gifu,
Monday, December 5, 2011

On the second day of our trip to Takayama, I woke up at five in the morning and took a bath in an outdoor hot spring. Then we left our hotel at nine for the Shin-Hothaka Ropeway, the most popular sight of the area. Unfortunately, it was raining at the time. When we were waiting for a bus at the gate of the hotel, a hotel staffer came and offered a free ride to the ropeway station. We were amazed at their great service, accepting his kind offer, although we had a tourist pass for the bus and the bus stop was very close to the hotel gate. We found out later that it was a right choice, because he drove us to front of the station, but the closest bus stop was on the hillside which was a bit away from the station. His offer was really thankful for my old mom and I couldn't thank the hotel enough. 

Hotakaso Yamano Hotel
Check out the pamphlet of the hotel group including Yamano Hotel. Yamano Hotel is highly recommended.
The Shin-Hotaka Ropeway, which was actually made up of two ropeways, was operated on the mountainside of Mt. Nishi-Hotaka. When we arrived, it was snowing around there. At the end of the second ropeway, there was an observation deck where we might have caught a great view of the North Alps. We predicted no good view from the deck on the day, because of the bad weather, but we had a reservation ticket for the aerial lift and there were no other tourist attractions to go instead. So we had no choice but to take the lift. When we arrived at the terminal, it was snowing and foggy. It was disappointing to us, although we had predicted it. After a while, however, it got a bit clearer and it was no problem to walk around Sengokuench Nature Park near the observatory building, where we were excited at rime on trees. Besides, we were barely able to see the summit of Mt. Nishi-Hotaka for a few seconds. Although we couldn't see snowy alps clearly from the observation deck, the tourist attraction was just satisfactory to us, thanks to the soft rime and a fleeting view of the mountain. On our way down to the foot of the mountain, we paid a short visit to Sangakukan Visitors' Centre and enjoyed a photo exhibition of the North Alps. 
Shin-Hotaka Ropeway Brochure
We couldn't catch the great views of mountains in pictures of the brochure

It was at almost one in the afternoon, when we left Shin-Hotaka. Although we were heading to Takayama, we had plenty of time to kill in Takayama. To be honest, there seemed no interesting tourist attractions to us in the touristy city. Then we reluctantly selected a sight to visit, referring to my guidebook and it was Kusakabe Folk-Craft Museum. The building was rebuilt in 1879 after a fire and has been designated as a national important cultural property since 1966. Frankly speaking, it was a bad selection. The entrance fee cost 500 yen per person including sweets and green tea. While we were in the museum, there were no visitors and we thought it was very reasonable. My guidebook reviewed it as a good tourist attraction, but our impression of the museum was far from it. The only advantage was its tearoom where we enjoyed sweets and green tea served for free and talked with gardeners working on the museum garden.

Before we left Takayama, we felt like tasting Takayama ramen, which was a speciality of the city. It wasn't long before I caught sight of a ramen restaurant in front of the train station and we chose to enter the restaurant Tenma. There was only a cook and waiter working at the time in the restaurant and he was very unfriendly, saying nothing when we got into the restaurant. It made us uncomfortable, but Takayama ramen of the restaurant was not bad. Especially its soup was tasty and I drank it up. If you don't care about unfriendly staff, the ramen restaurant is recommendable.
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