The Yatsugatake Mountains are situated in roughly the center of Nagano Prefecture, and the Kita (Northern) Yatsugatake Area is said to have relatively gentle slopes. This ropeway runs over the saddle—the ridge connecting two mountains—between Mt. Kitayokodake and Mt. Shimagare, each with an elevation of around 2,400 meters. The ropeway is large, capable of transporting 100 passengers at a time from the foot of the mountain to its peak in just 7 minutes, making the trek up Northern Yatsugatake easier than ever before. Not just good for mountain-climbing, you can also enjoy sightseeing and hiking, and in the winter skiing and snowboarding, to your heart’s content, which has made this site a popular tourist destination year-round.
Getting off at the summit, you’ll find yourself at the Tsuboniwa Nature Park, a Quasi-National Park and a Type-1 Special Protected Region. A pleasant stroll around this park will take you between 30 and 40 minutes. Enjoy all the four seasons here, from the mountain foliage of summer, to the autumn leaves and the frost covering the trees, to the blanket of white that covers the land in deepest winter. The viewing deck (installed inside the station) gives you a gorgeous view of the Japanese Alps.
You can eat here too, with the restaurant in the base station serving up delicious western-style dishes handmade in that special Nagano style. The station at the summit has a shop and a café, where you can purchase local delicacies made with lingonberries (which grow naturally in the surrounding countryside) as souvenirs.