Two innovative aerial lifts carry passengers to the top of this imposing mountain, which becomes a ski slope in winter.
Mount Moiwa is a forested rock formation whose summit rises 1,742 feet (531 meters) above Sapporo. Not only does the peak provide spectacular views of the bright lights of the city center and Ishikari Bay, but it also contains a theater, a planetarium and an upscale restaurant. Hop in the cable car at the lower station and rise toward the mountaintop.
As you head up, enjoy the changing views of the diverse landscape of Hokkaidō Island. The ropeway runs for about 3,900 feet (1,200 meters) and switches to a funicular at a stop three-quarters of the way up. Reach the top and embark on one of the mountain’s five nature trails, meandering between the Moiwa linden trees and Ezo spruce.
Get a table at the upscale restaurant, The Jewels, which has a French menu and floor-to-ceiling windows granting stunning vistas. Head outside to the observation deck and enjoy romantic views of the city below. As the sun descends, the sky turns crimson and the city lights begin to shine.
Visit the planetarium and theater to learn about the stars above you. Browse the souvenirs for sale in the mountain’s gift shop. In winter, the rock formation is covered in thick white snow. Travel around to the southeastern side of the mountain for the slopes of the Mount Moiwa Ski Resort.
Note that the ropeway runs from late morning until late evening. There are separate fees for round trips for each of the two cable cars.
Mount Moiwa is in the southwestern outskirts of Sapporo. The station for the ropeway is a 15-minute drive from the center of the city. Ride the tram to the Ropeway Iriguchi station, a short walk from the aerial lift station. You can also take a bus to a stop just north.
While you’re in this part of the city, consider visiting surrounding highlights such as the Higashi Honganji Temple Hall North Sea Gobyo, the Sapporo Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Rose Garden Christ Church.