Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nostalgic Aerial Tramway and Wintersweet Field


Aerial tramway on Mt. Hodo, Chichibu District in Saitama Prefecture

After enjoying the beautiful riverside scenery at Iwadatami (see my blog on February 14), I visited Mt. Hodo, which is also located near Nagatoro Station.

To climb up this mountain, it is convenient to take an aerial tramway, "Hodo-san Ropeway" (see the top photo). "Ropeway" is probably a "Japanglish (Japanese re-creation of English)" word. Do you use the word "ropeway" in your country? You don't use it, do you?

Putting that aside, Hodo-san Ropeway is a classic aerial tramway, which was completed in 1961. It is run by a subsidiary of Chichibu Railway. The riveting steel gondola, which can hold 50 people, looks aged and out of date. But, its classic design is very nostalgic for me. It delivers passengers between the foot and the summit of Mt. Hodo in only 5 minutes, no time at all, because it is only 832 meters long.

Last weekend, it was very crowded with many couples and families. In spite of full-operation, every 7 minutes, the layover was more than 40 minutes.

The 497m peak is a different world. We can see the superb scenery of Chichibu Basin surrounded by Kanto Mountains, such as Mt. Ryogami and Mt. Bukoh. Another attraction is a wintersweet field. Currently, about half of the wintersweet blossoms are in bloom (see the bottom photo). I could smell the sweet flavors of yellow flowers on a brilliantly sunny day.

Even though it was a little journey on the weekend; the harvest was rich and various.


Wintersweet flowers on Mt. Hodo

More information about "Hodo-san Ropeway (Aerial Tramway)" (in Japanese):
http://www.chichibu-railway.co.jp/kanko/nagatoro/hodorope/rope.html