links to APDL and KCC link to KCC homepage link to APDL homepage

Roads of Oku: Home

Inspiration ...

Matsuo Basho's Narrow Road to the Deep North, Translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa / Google Map: Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi ("Narrow Road to the Deep North")

Journeys ...

Spring 2004: On the Road in Kansai / Google Map
Summer 2005: Roads of Oku / Google Map
Fall 2006: Where Gods Alight / Google Map
Summer 2007: Hōkūle‘a in Yokohama / Map
Winter 2008: Snow Country / Google Map
Spring 2008: Full Bloom & Festivals / Google Map
Summer 2009: Fireflies & Sweet Fish / Google Map
Fall 2009: North Country Colors / Google Map
Summer 2010: Legends of the Land / Google Map
Spring 2011: On the Far Side of Disaster / Google Map
Summer 2012: Travels in the Fifth Moon / Google Map
Summer 2013: Far Roads: Finishing Touches / Google Map
Summer 2015: Saké-Tasting in the Kingdom of Local Brew

Memorable ...

Roads / Seacoasts & Coastal Roads / Bridges / Ferries / Walks & Hikes / Mountains / Ropeways / Rivers / Waterfalls / Lakes / Trees / Rocks / Caves / Hot Springs / Sakura / Fall Colors / Archaeology and History / Castles / Shrines / Temples / Gardens / Festivals / Food / Drinks
Photography: Dennis Kawaharada and Karen Ono

Note ...

On Driving in Japan

Roads of Oku: Journeys in the Heartland

A collection of essays on Japanese culture, history and literature. Available at (Far Roads Press, 2015).

Ropeways and Lifts


Mt. Omuro, Izu, Shizuoka. 2014

A lift carries visitors up the eastern side of Mt. Omuro, an extinct volcano, in Ito, on the Izu Peninsula.

Lift to the crater rim
A walking path on the rim circles the crater.

Mt. Fuji above the northern rim

Mt. Takao, Tōkyō. 2014

A lift carries the visitor up Mt. Takao, to a walking path to a shrine dedicated to two tenju, or mountain spirits.

From Mt. Takao, the Tōkyō skyline appears on the horizon:

Tenju shrine:

Mt. Tsurumi Ropeway, Beppu, Kyūshū. 2011

View of Beppu Bay:

Mt. Katsuragi, Nara. 2011

View of the Nara Plains on the way up:

Katsuragi Mountains, between Nara and Osaka:

Shinhodaka Ropeway, Gifu. 2008

Ten miles north of Hirayu Onsen in the Hida Mountains is the Shinhodaka Ropeway, which ascends in two stages to the top of Mt. Hodaka, over 7000 feet above sea level, for a spectacular view of the Japan Alps.

At the top, the peak of Nishi-Hodaka in the background (3rd tallest mountain in Japan after Fujisan and Tateyama):


Mt. Hakkoda, Aomori. 2013

Mt. Asahi, Hokkaidō. 2013

The ropeway to Mt. Asahi opens in mid-June, although the trails are still covered with snow. We rode up on June 15.

Gozaisho Ropeway, Yunoyama Onsen, Mie. 2012

This ropeway ascends from Yunoyama Onsen to the top of Mt. Gozaisho, where there are lookouts and hiking trails, including a trail that goes back down to the onsen.

View of the Suzuka Mountains, between Nagoya and Kansai. On a clear day, you can see Lake Biwa to the west.

Shōsen Gorge Ropeway, Yamanashi. 2012

Fujisan was faintly visible above the clouds and mist.

View of the Akaishi Mountains to the west:

Kachi-Kachi Ropeway, Mt. Tenjō, Yamanashi. 2010

The Ropeway is named for the mountain in the folktale of Tanuki (Racoon Dog) and Usagi (Rabbit):

View of Lake Kawaguchi from the top:

Soun Gorge, Hokkaidō. 2005

Trail at the top leading to Mt. Kurodake:


Shinkobe, Kobe, Hyogo. 2014

The ropeway leaves from near Shinkobe station up to a herb garden and Mt. Maya. Visitors can walk back down past Nunobiki falls.

Nunobiki Falls

Mt. Ishizuchi, Ehime, Shikoku. 2006

Mt. Ishizuchi is the highest mountain (6502 ft / 1982 m) on Shikoku. The ropeway takes you part of the way up its side, to a station from which you can walk to take a ski lift up to Joju Shrine. From there, a steep trail goes to the summit of Ishizuchi-san.

View of Saijō from the Ropeway:

Mt. Misen, Miyajima, Hiroshima. 2006

Mt. Misen is on the island of Itsukushima, off the coast of Hiroshima City. Visitors can hike or ride the ropeway up. From the station, the trails goes to the summiit.

View of Hiroshima City:

View of the Inland Sea, on the other side of Itsukushima.


Echigo-Yuzawa Kōgen Ski Resort, Niigata. 2008

Yuzawa became well-known as the rustic setting of Yasunari Kawabata’a novel Snow Country. Today the town, a little over an hour from Tōkyō on the bullet train, has ski resorts, hotels, and condominiums.