Sunday, October 7, 2012

Access to the Wild Animal Paradise in Kurodake


Kurodake Aerial Tramway

Following my blog on August 29th, I am going to show the other aerial tramway in the Daisetsuzan area, Hokkaido Island. That is the Kurodake Aerial Tramway.

The Daisetsuzan area has two faces... one as a rugged active volcano, and one as a mountainous land covered by deep forests. Asahidake Aerial Tramway, which I introduced in my previous blog, is located in the volcanic area; meanwhile Kurodake Aerial Tramway is operated in the deep forest area.

Connecting Sanroku and Kurodake stations, the line length of Kurodake Aerial Tramway is 1,650m. The height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 670m. It was opened in 1967 under the name of the Sounkyo Ropeway. Currently, large sized gondolas, which can accommodate up to 101 passengers, are operated every 20 minutes. The travel time between two stations is 7 minutes.

After arriving at Kurodake Station, visitors can transfer to the chairlift, which leads to the 7th Station (1,520m above sea level) of Mt. Kurodake. When I visited there, it was very cool even in midsummer, as it showed 18 degrees Celsius.

The Kurodake area is a wild animal paradise. It harbors many rare species, such as the Kitakitsune (Hokkaido red fox), Ezo-shika (Hokkaido deer) and Higuma (Brown beer). But, the Ezo-shima-risu (Hokkaido striped squirrel) may show the highest encounter rate. I also saw many squirrels around the 7th Station of Mt. Kurodake, and captured their images in my photos. They are cute!

Kurodake is a wild animal paradise.

Ezo-shima-risu (Hokkaido striped squirrel) near 7th Station of Mt. Kurodake, Kurodake Chairlift

More information about Kurodake Aerial Tramway (in Japanese and English):