Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Mini-Funicular to the Scenic Mountain Pass

Car number 2, "Jikkoku", of the Jikkoku-touge Cable Line, Izu-Hakone Railway

Jikkoku Pass is located in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture, some 100km southwest of Tokyo. Although its altitude is not high (770m above sea level), it has the best view of the mountains and the ocean. "Jikkoku" is the Japanese word for "ten domains". It means that people could view ten feudal domains from this pass in ancient times. They are the present Shizuoka, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures.

I visited this reputable mountain pass with my family last weekend. To get to this spot, Jikkoku-touge Cable Line is convenient. Connecting Jikkoku-touge Noboriguchi and Jikkoku-touge stations, the route length is only 317m. The height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 101m. The maximum inclination is 22 degrees and the track gauge is 1435mm. It takes only three minutes to move between the two stations.

The Jikkoku-touge Cable Line was completed in 1956 by Sunzu Railway (present Izu-Hakone Railway). The two Hitachi funiculars, namely "Hikane (car number 1)" and "Jikkoku (car number 2)" debuted in 1956, when the line was opened. The body is rather old, but the interior is nicely renovated. They are operated every 15 minutes on average.

After arriving at Jikkoku-touge Station, we could enjoy the superb view. Mountain upon mountain of backbone hills of Izu Peninsula expand southward. Mt. Fuji, the Sea of Sagami and Suruga Bay could also be seen beautifully under the clear winter's sky.

Jikkoku-touge Cable Line... it is a lovely mini-funicular to the scenic mountain pass.

Distant view from Jikkoku Pass near Jikkoku-touge Station on the Jikkoku Cable Line