Saturday, 24 July 2021

Access to the Recently Erupted Volcano


Usuzan Ropeway and Showa-shinzan

After visiting Mt. Hakodate, we headed north. Our next destination was a recently erupted volcano near Muroran City.

Showa-shinzan (new mountain of Showa-era) is a rhyolite volcanic lava dome with about 400 meters in height. It was abruptly created in an upland cropping area in 1944. Although it was in the middle of WWII, a local postmaster, Mimatsu Masao, surveyed the growing volcano in great detail. His research was very precious, and has been highly regarded among specialists.

For viewing the whole image of Showa-shinzan, Usuzan Ropeway is convenient. It's four cables - cross type aerial tramway. Connecting Showa-shinzan Sanroku (foot of Showa-shinzan) and Usuzan-sancho (summit of Mt. Usu) stations, its route length is 1,370 meters. Usuzan Sancho station is located 560 meters above sea level. The height difference between the two stations is 356 meters. Its maximum inclination is 24.17 degrees. The route was opened in 1965. The present gondolas, namely number 1 and 2, were built by CWA in Switzerland in 2020. Each gondola can accommodate up to 96 passengers including a conductor. The gondola is operated every 15 minutes with an operating speed of 5 meters per second. It takes about 6 minutes to go one way.

After arriving at the Usuzan-sancho station, we enjoyed a beautiful view of Showa-shinzan and adjacent Lake Toya. The brickish red-colored mountain face was very beautiful and impressive. It must be one of the best sceneries in the southern part of Hokkaido Island.

To be continued...

Close-up of Showa-shinzan

Official information about Usuzan Ropeway: http://usuzan.hokkaido.jp/en/

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Superb View Spot in Hakodate City

Sancho station and a gondola (center left) of Mt. Hakodate Ropeway

After returning from Mt. Esan, we planned to visit Mt. Hakodate near the downtown Hakodate area. A night view from Mt. Hakodate has been famous since the old days, and is one of the three best night views in the world together with Hongkong and Napoli. In other words, most tourists visit this spot in the evening, but it was still 3pm. What shall we do? We headed for Mt. Hakodate straightway as time was precious.

To get to the summit of Mt. Hakodate, an aerial tramway is convenient, but we found that the operation starts at 5pm in the evening. We had to drive ourselves to reach the summit, which is located 334 meters above sea level. It took ten minutes or so from the foot of the mountain. The daytime view from the summit was indeed beautiful. It might be more fantastic than that of the night view. We were glad we could come here in the daytime.

Incidentally, the aerial tramway, named Mt. Hakodate Ropeway, was opened in 1958. It's a three cables - cross type aerial tramway. Connecting Sanroku (Foot of the mountain) and Sancho (Summit) stations, its route length is 835.06 meters. The height difference between the two stations is 278.5 meters. Its maximum inclination is 28.97 degrees. Current gondolas are the fifth generation ones built by Osaka Sharyo in 2014. Each gondola can accommodate up to 125 passengers. The gondola is operated every 15 minutes. It takes about three minutes to go one way.

To be continued,,,

Daytime view from Mt. Hakodate

Official information about Hakodate Ropeway: https://334.co.jp/en/

Friday, 16 July 2021

Volcanic Scenery around Hakodate City

EMU JR Hokkaido 733-1000 series stands at Hakodate terminal

After arriving at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station by the super-express train, Hayabusa (Falcon), we changed to JR Hokkaido's Hakodate main line. Our vehicle was the EMU 733-1000 series, "Hakodate Liner".

The 733-1000 series was launched in 2015 as an access train between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto on the Hokkaido Shinkansen and Hakodate on the Hakodate main line. Four sets in total were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. One set of the 733-1000 series is composed of three cars. They are one motorcar and two trailers (1M2T, Tc1+M+Tc2). The electric system is 20,000 V - 50 Hz AC overhead. The track gauge is 1,067 millimeters. One set has four 230 kW induction motors. The electric control system is the IGBT-VVVF inverter (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor - traction inverter). Different from the other 733 series, the 733-1000 series has light green and lilac-colored stripes on their stainless-steel bodies. Light green is the JR Hokkaido's corporate color; meanwhile, lilac is the same color as the EMU JR Hokkaido's H5 series on the Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen. The interior of the 733-1000 series is woodie, and gives us an image of high-quality.

After reaching Hakodate terminal, we rented a car, and visited Mt. Esan, which is located about 50 kilometers east of the city center. Esan is an active volcano on the southeastern coast of Oshima Peninsula. We could enjoy a beautiful volcanic scenery with the blue ocean and the blue sky. We couldn't find out the boundary between the sea and the sky. That was like a dream world.

To be continued...

Volcanic scenery of Mt. Esan

Official information about the 5th anniversary of Hokkaido Shinkansen (in Japanese):