The parade of little cream-coloured gondolas hung like Christmas lights, strung out along a long line. Beneath was dark green forest; above––somewhere hidden far above––was the summit of Mount Misen, and the promise of a view across the islands of the Seto Inland Sea. As with all cable-car rides, the sense of expectation was palpable; as too was the atmosphere of politely-suppressed fear.
The gradient of the ropeway rose steeply; some distance ahead, a station was in sight. End of journey. But, no! This was only the halfway point, at Kayatani Station. From here, it was necessary to transfer to a second cable-car in order to travel further up the mountain. Where the first gondola had been roomy and relaxing, this second compartment was packed and confined, passengers standing, the promised view only visible to the fortunate few who had had the foresight––or sharper elbows––to stand on the left-hand side.
However, disembarking at Shishiiwa Station, the view was as beautiful as promised. Out of a misty scene, the small dark humps of islands rose from the sea, as though tranquil leviathans.
A sign indicated the direction of the route to the summit itself. No cable-cars for the last stretch. Just a thirty-minute hike. I was only too happy to walk.