Winter Trip to Sounkyo Ropeway ~ Hokkaido

Sounkyo is located in the Daisetsuzan National Park, situated in a gorge between high flanking forested cliffs. In the Spring and Autumn seasons, the views that can be seen are panoramic and colorful especially with the 2 famous waterfall here: Ginga no Taki (Milky Way Falls) and Ryusei no Taki (Shooting Star Falls)! Not to mention the onsen baths where some onsens offer fantastic views while relaxing in the hot spring water.

[Scenic view on the road to Sounkyo ... though it is largely white lol! ]

[Scenic view on the road to Sounkyo … though it is largely white lol! ]

[Hotel Taisetsu in Sounkyo Gorge]

[Hotel Taisetsu in Sounkyo Gorge]

In fact other than poor timing where I arrived in late Dec, the Ice Waterfall Festival Grounds were actually just in front of Hotel Taisetsu where my family and me were staying. Just that the event ground preparation on the ice sculptures were still work in progress. Ahh … what a pity indeed to have been so close, yet so far. Though the experience of going to the Onsen naked in winter was really something new! I don’t remember Taisetsu offering outdoor onsen (though there is a outdoor view), but there is nothing to fear of the cold literally …. other than the initial few walks when the body is still not so warm, before sinking into the comforts of the hot onsen water! The only parts to worry is only the exposed areas like the ears and hair lol!

Of course I had another disappointment as well. Well … I should probably called it a lesson learned hahaha! We went to look at the waterfalls…. half expecting the waterfalls not to be frozen yet so early in the winter …. totally wrong lol! It was 90% frozen …. with only small streams of water flowing down, hardly what I would call a waterfall.

[Look at the majestic Ginga Waterfall in Spring - Taken with Credits to kimi-tourguide.blogspot.com]

[Look at the majestic Ginga Waterfall in Spring for comparison – Taken with Credits to kimi-tourguide.blogspot.com]

[Now look at what I have got ... the same Ginga Waterfall ... almost totally dry and frozen]

[Now look at what I have got … the same Ginga Waterfall … almost totally dry and frozen]

As it was very close to Ryusei no Taki (Shooting Star Falls), we took the temperature and walked over … needless to say…Ginga Waterfall at least still has some water flowing 😀

But I can be very certain that Autumn, this place would be a awesome place to be, definitely!

So having no waterfall with impressive water flow, we ventured to the highlands, via Kurodake Ropeway. Now there is where I should say Winter impresses most from the bird’s-eye-view 😛

[On the way up by the Kurodake Lift]

[On the way up by the Kurodake Lift]

[The amazing views from the top of Sounkyo Ropeway]

[The amazing views from the top of Sounkyo Ropeway in B&W photo – Mt Kurodake]

 

[More Mountain Scenery from the top in colors]

[More Mountain Scenery from the top in colors – Mt Kurodake] 

[Picture taken outside Sounkyo Ropeway ... before we ascended to Mt Kurodake]

[Picture taken outside Sounkyo Ropeway … before we ascended to Mt Kurodake]

It was a nice place on top. Peaceful & quiet. The occasional wind washing snow flakes off the trees … It’s beyond words. Tranquility, Beauty, Peaceful, all in one! Simply amazing experience to have …

Of course, we were only half-way on top. There is still another Ski-lift to the top top … that is Mt. Asahidake. I guess in winter the Ski-lift is only for Skiers cause it is a one-way up, and one has to ski down …. spare me haha! I am not exactly proficient with Skis yet on those steep slopes lol!

[That is Mt. Asahi behind my girl, at half-way point, Mt. Kurodake]

[That is Mt. Asahidake behind my girl, where we are at half-way point, Mt. Kurodake]

[The map in Japanese showing how high is high :) ]

[The map in Japanese showing how high is high 🙂 ]

And if one successfully make your way to the peak of Mt. Asahidake and descend to the other side, rewards await the courageous and brave to more Onsen where one would reach Asahidake Onsen 🙂

I will add a video clip of this awesome place in the next blog posting 🙂

Feel free to share your experience or comments