Japan developed the city of Sapporo on a meticulous grid formation, and there’s no better place to view this handiwork than from atop Mount Moiwa. Take the Mount Moiwa Ropeway more than halfway up, then climb aboard the Morris Car – a mini cable car – for a late-afternoon climb to an altitude of 531 metres to see the impressive organisation of city lights below as evening falls.
Get a nature hit and stunning night views all rolled into one at Mount Moiwa, the small, forest-covered mountain in south-west Sapporo. Take the city’s one and only streetcar to Ropeway Iriguchi station. From there, you can walk (it’s only five minutes away) or hop on the free shuttle bus to the lower Mount Moiwa Ropeway station. On the north-eastern side of the mountain, dense vegetation covers the incline, with more than 160 types of trees and plants, including linden, oak, wild cherry and katsura. If you’re looking for a bit of exercise with your sightseeing, you can climb the first half on the Mount Moiwa Sightseeing Road. But if you want the reward without the effort, see it all from above on the Mount Moiwa Ropeway.
This five-minute ride brings you past mid-mountain to a transfer station, where unique mini cable cars, the Morris Cars, continue the journey to the summit. On a clear day, you’ll see stunning vistas not only of the city but also of the Ishikari Bay and the Yarubi Mountain Range in the distance. The newly renovated station and observation deck also feature a planetarium and theatre. And if the change in altitude leaves you feeling peckish, there’s a restaurant here, too.
The best time of day to go is in the late afternoon – and plan to stay a while. This way, you get to see the greenery in the daylight, and later, you can watch the softly glowing city lights and the neon of the Susukino entertainment district provide an entirely different ambiance. Try to get a window seat for dinner at the restaurant. The Mount Moiwa Ropeway runs in summer from 10:30am to 10pm and in winter from 11am to 10pm. It’s closed from November 24 to December 3.