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Ropeway in Japan's Northern Alps offers visitors spectacular stargazing

The night skies of the Northern Alps are seen after riding the "starry sky express" to the observation deck at the Shinhotaka Ropeway's Nishihotakaguchi Station in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, on Oct. 21, 2022. (Mainichi/Tadayuki Otake)

TAKAYAMA, Gifu -- A ropeway operator here is offering people the chance to ride the "starry skies express" in the Northern Alps to take in some spectacle out of this world sights.

    The Shinhotaka Ropeway in Takayama is the only two-level ropeway in Japan and ascends to the Nishihotakaguchi Station observation deck at an elevation of 2,156 meters. Once there, visitors can enjoy an unimpeded view of the skies above, while guides use laser pointers to highlight well-known stars and constellations.

    People can also walk through the facility's newly renovated "Itadakinomori" viewing area, which reopened on Oct. 19. Visitors in awe of the views could be heard saying, "Wow! Amazing."

    Seiko Kimata, a 59-year-old first-time visitor from Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, was deeply impressed. She said, "I'd been wanting to come here, and it was fully worth the trip."

    The "starry skies express" will next operate from Oct. 28 to 30 and on Nov. 8.

    (Japanese original by Tadayuki Otake, Takayama Local Bureau)

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