One of places that was a must-visit for me in Hokkaido was Mount Hakodate – well known for having one of Japan’s best 3 night views. And the best/most recommended way to get to Mount Hakodate was via ropeway.
On hindsight, October would have been a better month to visit both Hokkaido and Tohoku due to cooler weather in the 10s + there were also more things to do before Winter sets in. Whilst doing pre-trip research and before booking my air tickets, I noted that the the ropeway is usually closed from mid-October for the usual 1 month maintenance/inspection works. Which means that I will have to plan my itinerary in such a way that I’ll get in to Hakodate only after 12th November (which is when the ropeway starts operations again). So November worked out better for me in the end.
And so I got in to Hakodate on 13th November (a little after 4 as I hope to reach before the sun starts to set) after passing through Sapporo, Otaru and Lake Toya via train in a loop southwards towards Hakodate.
As much as I loved the food, and the slower, more relaxing vibe of Hakodate City – the main focus here is still on the mountain and ropeway. My aim was to be able to witness the transition from sunset to evening as it was supposed to be the best view of the entire Hakodate city from the mountain itself.
So the plan was to get to the ropeway station a little after 4 before the crowd (who has the same intentions as I do) sets in. When I reached the ropeway station at 4, it was already pretty crowded (with many Chinese tourists as expected) and so I don’t have any pictures of the cable car itself but it is essentially 1 big cabin which can fit around 40 to 50 people. Which is good as its more efficient than having the cable car pods that can fit in 5-6 people at max.
I shall let the pictures do the talking
I got onto the 1610 Hrs cable car up to the top, and pretty much stayed there for a good 1 hour just to capture these pictures. And it was freezing cold and really windy (since we were right at the ‘top’ of the mountain) and my hands were pretty much shaking when taking the pictures/videos.
It was pretty cloudy, and so there wasn’t much of the golden hour effect. So I felt the transition from sunset to evening wasn’t as nice as I personally expected it to be. I definitely had HIGH expectations as Mount Hakodate is supposed to be in the top 3 list as stated above.
Secondly, the CROWD made the experience a bit more negative. I was pretty much jostling amongst the crowd in close to zero degree (and windy) temperatures in order to get to a more optimal spot to snap these photos (I was probably 2-3 rows from the front and it was not even 1630 Hrs yet). I can only imagine if I had reached later (after 1630 Hrs) – I might have even been stuck at the back and not even able to get these photos. And when I left a little after 5, I saw that there were still many Chinese tour groups queuing up to get into the cable car for the ride up the mountain. So well ……
Overall, in spite of the weather + crowd – it was still a nice view lah as the unique shape of Hakodate City really stands out when wholly lighted up.
As a side note, I hope to tick off the other 2 top night views – Mount Inasa (in Nagasaki) and Mount Rokko (in Kobe) sometime in the future.