Shosenkyo Ropeway

360° view from Mount Rakanji

By Cathy Cawood    - 3 min read

Shosenkyo is a wonderful place to visit, particularly when autumn illuminates the trees along the Arakawa River. One of the activity options available is taking the rope-way to the top of Yasaburo-dake, also known as Mount Rakanji.

The mountain is one of those distinctive bare granite peaks that the area is so famous for. When I see a rope-way, I always wonder if it will be worth the cost, both in time and money. Anyway, I took a chance on Shosenkyo Rope-way, and I conclude that it was definitely worth it.

Queue with a view

We went to Shosenkyo mid-week, arriving early in the morning, and walked along the river to the village where the rope-way station is located. We got there moments after a busload of elderly Japanese tourists, and expected we would have to queue for ages. I was delighted to find that it was a case of ‘queue with a view’. Behind the station there is a pond edged with a small stone torii and full of large yellow koi. I can happily watch koi for hours, but I didn’t have to. The rope-way staff whisked everybody off to the top of the mountain with practiced speed.

Hungry ornamental carp
Hungry ornamental carp

If you want to be lucky in love

Yakumo Shrine is a striking green-roofed red and white shrine standing on the summit near the rope-way. It is a popular place to pray for marriage. There is also a bell hanging in a metal arch near the shrine that young couples and their families ring for good luck. And if you are still looking for love, you can pay 100 yen to toss a ‘happy bell’ into a heart-shaped hole in a round bell named Suzuresu. If your aim is true, you can expect that a happy outcome is imminent!

Yakumo Shrine
Yakumo Shrine

Power spots

The summit is believed to have a number of power spots. When the rope-way opened in Showa 39, a tree god referred to by locals as Gongen was relocated to the summit, and now stands in a small hexagonal hall facing Mount Fuji, forming one of the major power spots located on the summit. Visitors pray to Gongen for marriage, children and prosperity.

A second power spot is formed by the clear view from the open space near the rope-way on the summit to the distant peak of Mount Fuji. There are mounted binoculars if you wish to inspect Fujisan more closely.

A third power spot, considered the most significant on the mountain, is Yosaburo-dake, a natural platform of solid granite happily free of ugly safety fences and the redundant yet ubiquitous signs that mar many other beauty spots. From this platform you can experience a 360 degree view.

What a place to meditate!
What a place to meditate!

Fantastic panorama

The 360 degree view from Yasaburo-dake was my favorite part of this experience. Standing on solid, sun-warmed stone at the top of the world, with Mount Fuji and the Minami Alps in the distance, the Ara River winding through the gorge far below like a silver dragon, and Kofu City spreading out in the basin beyond the hills. It was both beautiful and awe-inspiring.

Mountain views
Mountain views

If you want to eat or drink something there is a restaurant on the summit too.

Getting there

Take a bus or taxi from Kofu Station to Shosenkyo-taki-ue bus stop. The ropeway station is just a few minutes walk.

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Cathy Cawood

Cathy Cawood @cathy.cawood

 I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for 1 year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for 9 years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page has some 40,000 followers. I have been the Regional Partner for Yamanashi Prefecture since 2014.I am enjoying exploring the prefectures around Tokyo (I like to get off the beaten track), and I hope the photos and stories I share will encourage more people to discover this wonderful country.

Join the discussion

Sleiman Azizi 2 years ago
I know it's already been said but wow, those are some nice views.
Kim 2 years ago
Great views, and lovely photography as always, Cathy!
Cathy Cawood Author 2 years ago
Thanks, Kim!
Sherilyn Siy 2 years ago
I don't normally like carp but I think that's a great photo you took there!
Cathy Cawood Author 2 years ago
Thank you - but how can you not like carp?!! ;-)
Elena Lisina 2 years ago
Fantastic views, beautiful carps and the very first shot is like the image of Japan - wonderful, Cathy! You were lucky with the weather, too!
Cathy Cawood Author 2 years ago
Thank you Elena! We were very lucky - it was a perfect autumn day.