The Naeba-Tashiro Gondola Ropeway, popularly known as the Dragondola, started operating from 2001. The length of the Dragondola, at 5,481 meters, makes it the longest gondola in the whole of Japan and one of the longest in the world.
Dragondola links Naeba Ski resort to Tashiro Ski resort and takes around 15 minutes to travel from one station to the next. Naeba itself is around 40 minutes away from Echigo-Yuzawa Station and is home to a popular ski resort that attracts many visitors both from Japan and abroad during the winter.
However, autumn is when the popularity of the ropeway really shines. During this time, the ropeway is famous for being full of mesmerizing surprises all along the way. During the autumn, the mountains of these areas display a wide array of beautiful colors thanks to the the vivid autumn foliage. As a result, the gondola is particularly popular during the autumn with nature lovers for viewing Japan's famous autumn leaves.
With all of this in mind, it was a great thrill to finally experience the Naeba-Tashiro Gondola Ropeway in person. Our journey started with 15 minutes of waiting in the queue for the shuttle bus. We then took the shuttle bus from Naeba to the Dragondola station. As we slowly started heading towards the mountain, we noticed the fantastic view of the venue where the 3-day Naeba Summer music festival, popularly known as Fuji Rock Festival, is held every year during August.
As we continued on, we were awestruck by the breath-taking aerial view of the forest almost 300 meters high and the vivid autumn colors. On our way, we also came across the tranquil panoramic view of Lake Futai and Lake Daigenta. As we ascended towards the mountain and then descended back again, we understood why it was named Dragondola. It really feels like riding along the back of a dragon flying up and down across many valleys...