So you’re thinking about making a day trip to the Shinhotaka ropeway during your winter visit to the Japanese Alps!
And… you’ve checked the weather forecast to see that there’s a chance that it’s going to be cloudy at the top.
Now, while weather forecast aren’t always accurate, especially with mountain weather as things can change quickly, if you’re looking for some sort of clue, it might be able to tell you your chances.
The live camera might be another clue to check right before you leave for the ropeway! (If the live cam is pitch black when you look at it, consider what time it is right now in Japan!)
A day trip to Shinhotaka from Takayama is a perfect part of a winter trip to Japan! See more of how to spend 10 days in Japan in the winter.
If there’s bad weather in the forecast at Shinhotaka ropeway, or if there’s no visibility on the live cam… Is it worth making the trip?!
The ropeway up to the main observatory is actually 2 rides.
Then once you get to the top of the second ropeway, there’s an observatory platform.
And it’s as you get closer to the top that bad weather can REALLY make a difference.
If there’s no visibility… well, there’s NO visibility! You can’t see snow-capped mountains in the distance.
So the REAL question is…
If the observatory is a disappointment, is the whole trip going to be a disappointment?!
It depends. 😉
I know, how annoying.
But it really depends on what makes it worth it to you.
What is there to do that CAN make it worth it?!
Things to do on a trip to Shinhotaka ropeway on a cloudy day
Winter scenes from the ropeway
You’ll see winter landscape as you take both of the ropeways up. Even if it’s cloudy, you’ll see snow-covered trees.
Foot onsen hot springs bath
You can spend some time soaking your feet in the foot onsen hot springs bath. That can be done no matter the weather. (Bring a towel to wipe your feet dry if you plan on doing this!)
You’ll come across this when you make the “transfer” between the 2 ropeway rides.
Eat with winter views
You can also spend some time at the restaurant at the top level, and enjoy a meal (and a beer) with the winter landscape in front of you.
Short winter hike
You can also go for a short winter hike!
There are many people who are fully decked out in winter hiking gear before embarking upon the winter hiking trails from the top level.
But if you want to experience a winter hike without the full commitment of all the winter hiking gear, then you can also walk on one of the trails for like 15 minutes and then turn around, going back the same way you came.
So if it’s cloudy weather, while you won’t get the snow-covered mountain landscape at the observatory, and while that might be disappointing, these other things could possibly still make it worth it for some people… including you!
It can be a low key fun winter day if these things sound good to you!
More photos from a cloudy day to Shinhotaka ropeway!
So that’s a bit of what a cloudy day in the Japanese Alps might look like!
What’s it like when it’s sunny?!
HAPPY CLOUDY DAY AT THE SHINHOTAKA ROPEWAY!
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
If you're looking for a route for winter in Japan, here are some ideas!
- 10 day Japan winter itinerary
- Tokyo to Nagano bus
- 2 days in Nagano with snow monkey pass // Stay at this Nagano hostel (private rooms available)
- A few days in popular ski resort area Hakuba (go here for at least a day even if you don't ski for the winter landscape in the mountains!) // Stay at this Hakuba hostel (private rooms available)
- Hakuba to Takayama (Hakuba to Matsumoto train / a few hours in Matsumoto / Matsumoto to Takayama bus)
- A few days in Takayama with day trips: Shirakawago / Shinhotaka ropeway on a sunny day // Stay at this Takayama hostel (private rooms available) and eat regional Takayama ramen
- Takayama back to Tokyo OR Takayama to Nagoya airport to fly to Hokkaido for more winter landscapes!
Hokkaido winter itinerary (train to get around - there are JR Hokkaido passes available, and you can use a regular JR pass too)
- Sapporo to Asahikawa (Asahikawa for penguin walk at zoo)
- Asahikawa to Abashiri (Abashiri for drift ice cruise)
- Abashiri to Obihiro (night in Obihiro and go to Lake Shikaribetsu ice village the next day)
- Obihiro to Sapporo
- Sapporo to Noboribetsu onsen hot spring town (day trip)
- Sapporo to Hakodate // Stay in this Hakodate hostel
- Hakodate to Tokyo on shinkansen bullet train through the underwater tunnel! (Regular JR pass will be worth it if you take this train ride along with one more long distance train ride within 7 days)
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
More for your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan