For those only after a view or hikers wanting to maximize their time on the ridge, the Kitayatsugatake Ropeway is a nice shortcut to the top of the ridge. The ropeway runs every 30–40mins, with a return adult fare priced at ¥2,100. It will save you about 2 hours of walking each way. In the height of the summer season, operating hours are 8 am–5 pm, gradually reducing to 9 am–4 pm in the winter.

Photo by Chris Kirkland

There’s a bus service from Chino train station that runs a few times a day and takes about an hour. Check the bus company website for up-to-date information.

Photo by Chris Kirkland

Otherwise, access via car is a fairly steep winding road about 50 minutes from the Chino valley below. If you’re driving along the Venus Line, it’s a fairly short detour. Free parking.

Venus Line | Photo by Kaori Kato

From the top of the ropeway, weather permitting you can sit on the 2,337 m altitude cafe terrace and enjoy a panoramic view of the Japanese Alps. You can also take a leisurely 30-minute round-trip walk through the rock gardens. Or, if you’re in the mood for a little more exercise and have adequate footwear, you can take a slightly longer excursion up to the Yokodake or Chausuyama summits.

Be aware that the temperature will likely be cooler than where you started out, so dress appropriately. The spring months are probably best for guaranteed views. If visiting in the summer, clouds can quickly descend and disappear, so it may be a bit of a lottery as to whether or not nature grants you resplendent views.

Other Nagano Attractions