Ropeway and Nature
Sounkyo (Link), is a must-go destination for skiers in winter. So, why did we go in the summer?
Summer season means less tourists in Sounkyo, and yet the place is still open, mainly because the ropeway that bring skiers up the ski slope can also offer a panoramic view of the Daisetsuzan National Park, and also because it offers a cool respite from the summer heat in the lower regions.
The Sounkyo town is small, dotted with houses that double as B&B lodgings for skiers. These lodgings, although cheap, serve bare minimum because skiers, well, want to ski. For the more touristy lodgings, N and I booked a room in Mt View Hotel.
Other than the ropeway and touristy shops, N and I also had a picnic dinner in the park across the Ishikari River. We bought bento sets from the convenience store near the hotel and just settled at a high point in the park and spent a leisurely evening in nature.
There were 2 legs up the mountain. The lower leg started from the end of Sounkyo town, where visitors would take the cable car (a.k.a ropeway) up. Each car could take about 30 to 40 pax, and had a scheduled timing. Therefore, it would be wise to buy the tickets first, before wandering about the station building to take photos.
The 2nd leg consisted of the ski lifts. One just pays for the ticket (which is cheaper than the cable car) and hops onto the lift. The segment just before the summit was the scariest, being the steepest climb of the journey. With no belts on the seats, the trip downhill was not for the faint-hearted!
From the summit of the ski lift, more active visitors can take a hike up to the actual summit. However, that requires plenty of preparations and for one to register at a counter stationed at the start of the path.
Accommodation of the night:
Mt View Hotel
Sounkyo-onsen, Kamikawa-gun, Kamikawa-cho 078-1701, Hokkaido 078-1701, Japan
Click here for my TripAdvisor review.
What we did in Sounkyo Gorge:
Picnic for dinner
p/s: Mos Burger in Asahikawa for brunch, before setting off for Sounkyo.
Click on the links to find out more about the rest of the roadtrip!