We splash out on a pricey ticket for a ride that’s painfully short. 

Just a 20-minute train ride south of downtown Tokyo lies the port city of Yokohama, where you’ll find dozens of dancing Pikachus in summer, and a full-scale moving Gundam replica standing guard over the city every day of the year.

Now, a new urban ropeway called Yokohama Air Cabin is drawing visitors to the area, and when it opened on 22 April, our reporter Ninoude Punico was there to check it out.

▼ Entry to the Air Cabin is located directly opposite Sakuragicho Station (marked with an arrow below).

▼ The new urban ropeway connects Sakuragicho Station with Canal Park, which would otherwise be a 12-minute walk.

Curious to find out if the short, five-minute ropeway ride would be worth the 1,000 yen (US$9.26) price for an adult ticket, Punico headed to the entrance, only to find a sign telling her there was a 50-minute wait to get in.

It was just before midday, and Punico now found herself in line behind around 150 other people. She was surprised at how many others were willing to hand over their hard-earned yen for such a short trip, but then she realised it was actually pretty rare to find a ropeway in the middle of a bustling city, as they’re usually located on mountains in rural towns.

The facilities were shiny and new, giving off a futuristic aura, and once she finally arrived at the main building, she felt as if she was inside a mini airport, about to set off on a trip through the sky.

When she finally got to the front of the ticket line, Punico found there were both staffed and unstaffed ticket counters, and a range of payment options allowing you to pay by cash, transport card, or credit card.

Looking at the pamphlet that was given to her upon entry to the building, Punico saw tickets were priced at 500 yen one way and 900 yen return for children, and 1,000 yen one-way and 1,900 yen return for adults. There was also the option to add on a ticket to Cosmo Clock 21, the nearby giant Ferris wheel, at an extra cost of 500 yen for adults and and an extra 700 and 600 yen for children, one-way and return respectively.

The boarding area had been designed to look and feel like an airport departure terminal, with gates, signs and display boards creating an exciting sense of impending air travel.

Each gondola has a capacity of eight people, making them incredibly spacious when travelling alone or in a small group. The glass cabin also creates a sense of openness, providing passengers with a super clear 360-degree view of the surrounding area

After almost an hour waiting in line for her cable car ride, Punico was finally in, leaving the station and passing above the main road before heading off towards the giant Ferris wheel at Canal Park. Moving through the air in such a built-up environment surrounded by skyscrapers made Punico feel as if she was travelling through the futuristic landscape of a fictional story.

As the gondola made its way across the canal, Punico was overwhelmed by the blueness of her surroundings as the water met the sky, lifting her spirits and filling her with a sense of gleeful adventure.

The only downfall to the ride was the fact that it was over in no time, as the Canal Park terminal soon loomed up towards her.

There were so many things to see that Punico was glad she’d booked herself a return ticket so she could experience the ride again. When she got off at Canal Park Station, she found that the waiting time to board the ropeway was only around 10 minutes, so if you’re confronted by a long wait at Sakuragicho, she recommends walking over to Canal Park, where you can hop on the ride in a much shorter time.

▼ The ropeway is the fun way to travel in Yokohama.

Canal Park has a lot of attractions, making it a popular destination for visitors, and at night, the gondolas light up, making the area look even more beautiful.

It’s certainly not the cheapest way to travel over a distance that takes 12 minutes to walk, but it really is a lot of fun, especially if you’re wanting to impress a date or mark a special occasion. With fun new additions like this to the area, it’s easy to see why Yokohama has been voted as the most desirable city to live in the Kanto region.


Yokohama Air Cabin / ヨコハマ エアキャビン
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Naka-ku, Sakuragicho, 1-1

Photos ©SoraNews24
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