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Mount Moiwa’s Panoramic Summit

At 531 meters, this view would normally come at a hefty price of cold-weather hiking. But thanks to the Mount Moiwa ropeway, the sweeping views can be yours in only a few minutes.

By 3 min read

Sapporo seen from the sky is a twinkling patchwork of snow-covered rooftops and lights. From the top of Mount Moiwa (藻岩山), which stands to the south of the city, you can see all of the city and its surrounding ski slopes.

At 531 meters, this view would normally come at a hefty price of cold-weather hiking. But thanks to the Mount Moiwa ropeway, the sweeping views can be yours in only a few minutes – just be sure to look away guiltily when you make eye contact with hikers, sweaty and exhausted, who have entered the observatory seeking refuge from the cold.

The ropeway exists in two parts, separated by a souvenir shop. The first leg of the journey takes visitors about ¾ of the way up the mountain by ropeway. After that, visitors transfer to a mini cable car for the rest of the trip.

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Once at the top, guests can enjoy a platform overlooking Sapporo, a café and a formal restaurant. The café offers small bites, while the restaurant boasts a full menu and some of the best views of the city, especially at night. If you want to eat in the restaurant, be sure to make a reservation, because spots fill up quickly.

Mount Moiwa is a key tourist attraction not just for Sapporo, but for Hokkaido itself. Just hours after I arrived in Hokkaido, I made headed to the ropeway. Much like a trip to the top of Tokyo Tower on my first day in Japan helped me understand just how enormous Tokyo is, after making the ascent and taking in the panoramic views of the city and its surrounding foothills, I had a much better sense of Hokkaido’s beauty.

For those who want to hike, it’s possible to climb the entire mountain or just a portion of it. Mount Moiwa has short trails that lead to the cable car station, as well as long trails that lead to the observatory, allowing visitors to feel more accomplishment for making it to the top.

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Nippon Quest will hold their NIPPON QUEST AWARD ceremony for local specialties selected in the final vote, offer passionate presentations from local business owners and government officials, introduce various examples of region revitalization from a global perspective, and host an exchange between overseas buyers and overseas development support institutions. For more information visit the the Nippon Quest Award Facebook page.

Admission

A round-trip ticket on both the ropeway and the cable car costs ¥1700. For just the ropeway, a round-trip ticket is ¥1100; for just the cable car, a round-trip ticket costs ¥600. The ropeway and observatory is open from 10:30 to 22:00 April through November and from 11:00 to 22:00 December through March.

How to get there

It takes about 35 minutes to get to the ropeway from the city center. From Sapporo Station, take the Namboku Line toward Makomanai for four stops. Get off at Horohirabashia Station and transfer to bus number 65. Get off at the sixth stop. From there, the ropeway station is a 10-minute walk. There is also a shuttle bus that takes visitors from the bus stop to the shuttle.

In winter, even if you won’t be hiking, wear sturdy shoes. I witnessed more than my share of falls on the platform and walking between the bus stop and the ropeway.

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