By Mandy Bartok
Enjoy some stunning views of Beppu from atop Mount Tsurumidake! The cable car will carry you to the height of 1000 meters, and you can enjoy clean crisp mountain air whilst gazing down at Beppu. At the top of the mountain there are seven shrines for you to visit, and you can enjoy different views from all around the mountain.
Beppu Ropeway Station is most easily accessed by car, taking just 15 minutes from JR Beppu Station. You can also get there by bus, also from JR Beppu Station: take the number 34, 36, or 37 Kamenoi bus, and the bus trip takes approximately 20 minutes. Once you get to the Ropeway building, purchase your cable car ticket for ¥1600 (round trip). If you are a hiking enthusiast, you could choose to hike up or down the mountain, and just purchase a one way ticket for ¥1000. The hike up takes around 3 hours.
Mount Tsurumidake is best viewed in spring, autumn, or winter when it's snowing. In spring, the mountain is covered in pink blossoms everywhere, and in autumn the red and orange leaves burst forth. Locals say that the winter scenery is the best, with the bare trees completely covered in ice and snow creating great white patterns all along the mountain.
The peak of the mountain has a small walking trail for you to enjoy. There are seven shrines dotted along the mountain peak, and it is quite fun trying to visit all of them. Most are obvious to the eye, with a statue of the god the shrine was made for. Some of them had no statues making it interesting to see it nestled among the rocks and hidden in nature!
The very top of the mountain is a whopping 1375 metres, and if you're visiting in autumn or winter, make sure to wear warm clothes! In November, while it was twelve degrees celsius at the bottom of the mountain, once I got to the top it was zero degrees! Altogether, including the cable car ride, I spent around an hour and a half at Beppu Ropeway, making it a great morning or afternoon activity for a day in Beppu.
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I love Japan for its people, culture, food, scenery, and overall ambiance and never-ending list of things to explore and enjoy. I lived in Kyoto for one year as an exchange student, and was able to travel around various parts of Japan during that exchange time. Now I'm back in Auckland, NZ, but am aiming to be back in Japan soon in the future for travel or work!