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Mt. Moiwa: Must-See Night Views & More From Sapporo's Famous Mountain

Mt. Moiwa: Must-See Night Views & More From Sapporo's Famous Mountain

Date published: 23 January 2020
Last updated: 23 December 2020

Mt. Moiwa is roughly in the center of Sapporo City and rises up some 535 meters. The view from the top affords an excellent view of Sapporo plus a spectacular view of Ishikari Bay and Ishikari Plain in the distance.

The glittering lights of Sapporo at night are recognized as one of Japan’s best three night views. Mount Moiwa's superb scenery together with gourmet dishes and nature strolls makes it one of Sapporo's main points of interest.

Here are some suggestions on how to enjoy the night view from Mt. Moiwa.

Table of Contents
  1. Getting to the top of Mount Moiwa: the Mt. Moiwa Ropeway
  2. Don’t just transfer at Moiwa Chufuku Station!
  3. A roller coaster sensation? Taking the Morris car to Mount Moiwa's summit
  4. Going on foot? Take the nature-study Mount Moiwa trail to the summit!
  5. Enjoy the majestic night view from the Mount Moiwa Observatory!
  6. Fully enjoy the summit!
  7. Magnificent French cuisine in a splendid restaurant!
  8. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of the view of the Sapporo skyline between dusk and nightfall!
  9. Hotels near Sapporo's Mount Moiwa
Scenic view of Sapporo at night from the Mt. Moiwa observation deck

Getting to the top of Mount Moiwa: the Mt. Moiwa Ropeway

The general way to get to the top of Mt. Moiwa is to first take the Sapporo Mt. Moiwa Ropeway from Sanroku Station and then change to the Morris mini-cable car at Chufuku Station which leaves at 15-minute intervals.

The ropeway ride is about 5 minutes. You can get a good view of the city below from the car
The Morris car is two connected mini-cable cars. It is only a 2-minute ride to the top of the mountain

To get to Mt. Moiwa Station from the JR Sapporo Station, board the Sapporo Municipal Subway Namboku Line and then transfer to a Sapporo streetcar at Odori Station. Get off at the stop at the entrance to the ropeway. From there, a 5-minute ride on the free shuttle bus will take you to the top. (Shuttle buses depart about every 15 minutes.)

If you visit by car, note that you cannot go to the summit by car, so use the parking lot at Moiwa Sanroku Station or use the parking lot at Moiwa Chufuku Station after taking the Moiwasan Kanko Expressway, a toll road.

Moiwa Sanroku Station on the slope of Mt. Moiwa. The ropeway is on the fourth floor of the building

Board the ropeway and head toward Moiwa Chufuku Station.

Use a roundtrip ticket for the ropeway and Morris car (1,700 yen for adults; 850 yen for pre-elementary school children)
We recommend standing at the back of the gondola from where you can get another spectacular

Once the gondola door closes the car sways lightly and then begins its ascent, giving the sensation of floating on air.
As the gondola ascends you get a memorable view of the city spreading out below.

The view is magnificent and doubles the pleasure of the gondola ride!

Don’t just transfer at Moiwa Chufuku Station!

Take a few minutes to stroll about enjoying the view after you arrive at Moiwa Chufuku Station and before you take the Morris car to the top.

The Moimoi Omise gift shop greets you when you alight from the car. Go to the right to board the Morris car; if you go to the left all the way back you can go outside.

There are no souvenir shops at the top of the mountain, so if you wish to buy some, this is the place to do it. In addition to offering confectioneries unique to Hokkaido, Mt. Moiwa Limited Edition Ramen is also offered as well as other original goods such as the Mt. Moiwa mascot character Morris.

Hokkaido Ramen is only sold on Mt. Moiwa (soy, salt, miso flavors; 2 servings per pack 650 yen; only the salt flavor costs 700 yen). Noodles are made exclusively with 100% Hokkaido grown

So as not to be encumbered with items when viewing the night scene, it is best to decide what you want to buy and then purchase it on your way back.

Next to the shop are the mascot characters Morris (right) and his wife Morris Mama (left).

Outside there is a small shrine on your left and farther back there is an expanse of primitive forest.

That is not an offering box in the back, but one for putting in 100 yen and receiving an omikuji (sacred lot)
Moiwa primitive forest is designated as a natural treasure. Feeling the richness of nature up close is one of the mountain’s charms

Stop at the shrine on your way to the top of the mountain and pray that you can behold a spectacular night view.
Actually, there are two ways to reach the summit from here.

A roller coaster sensation? Taking the Morris car to Mount Moiwa's summit

One way to the top is by taking the Morris car.

Going up the steep slope
Board the rear car to get a better view of the scenery below!

The Morris car begins with a rumbling sound and slowly rises upwards. When you look out the front and sides there is the exciting sensation of being in a roller coaster as the car slowly rises. Looking back you get a great view of the city spread out below.

A fantastic view coupled with the thrills similar to riding an amusement park attraction!
The ride is only about 2 minutes long so you reach the top in no time at all!

Going on foot? Take the nature-study Mount Moiwa trail to the summit!

Walking is another way to reach the summit. It takes about 15 minutes and along the way you can enjoy the fresh air and natural scenery. (The nature-study mountain path is closed during the winter and the schedule varies according to the weather. It is not possible to use it at night.)

The nature-study mountain path is on the left and the steps on the right go along the Morris car. Both will take you to the summit.

The signboard drawing your attention to the possible appearance of brown bears might give you a start, but there is no need to worry as many people take these paths. There are no lights, so it is best to take them during the daytime.

It’s best to wear comfortable walking shoes as the steps are a little steep and in some places the path underfoot not so good.
Gentle winding pathway going up the hillside.
Along the way there are guideboards explaining the plants and animals you can see on Mt. Moiwa and also benches.

Enjoy the majestic night view from the Mount Moiwa Observatory!

Upon arriving at the summit whether you walk or take the Morris car, the first thing you should do is enjoy the view from the observatory!

Moiwa Summit Station is a two-story structure. The terminal for the Morris car is on the first floor and on the second floor there are a restaurant and planetarium; the roof is an observation deck.

The view is spectacular from the roof!

Breathtaking view of Sapporo City below. The Sea of Japan is visible to the far left. On a clear day you can see the snowcapped mountains almost 200 kilometers away.
You can get a closer view of the city using the telescopes (about 100 seconds costs 100 yen)
The Sapporo Television Tower rises up among the buildings!
Move the telescope and Sapporo Dome comes into view.

Checking out the view of the city is not the only way to enjoy your time at the observatory.

The Bell of Happiness rings out loud and clear. Enjoy the view while ringing the bell.

Countless padlocks are attached to the railing around the Bell of Happiness.

Memories are written on the Padlocks of Love

Legend has it that if two people write their names on a Padlock of Love and attach it to the railing around the Bell of Happiness, then they will never separate.

You can purchase a Padlock of Love (1,000 yen) either at the Moimoi no Omise in Chufuku Station or at the Star Hall located on the second floor of the Moiwa Summit Station. At either place they will lend you a marker for writing on the lock.

Fully enjoy the summit!

If you have been enjoying the view from the observatory in the afternoon, linger a bit longer until evening when the sun begins to set. During that time you can browse the second floor.

A glass enclosure inside where you can enjoy the view outside. Perfect for cold winter days.

The Super Planetarium in the Star Hall (700 yen for adults, 400 yen for junior high school and younger children) is a must! Each show lasts about 20 minutes. (Show times are shown on the official website.)

The planetarium in the Star Hall projects images on a 6-meter diameter screen on the ceiling. Once the sun goes down the curtains are opened to afford a magnificent view of the star-studded

If you are feeling a bit hungry you can get something to eat at The Jewels restaurant.

The Jewels also has a takeout corner where you can purchase sweets and light snacks.
The best-selling item is the Hokkaido Jaga-bo (500 yen). Mashed potatoes, corn, and bacon are shaped into flat brick shape, the surface covered with cheese and then grilled.
The fresh-out-of-the oven roll with its thick cheese will leave an indelible impression. Just perfect for when you get the munchies!

Magnificent French cuisine in a splendid restaurant!

If you want something more filling than a light meal, go to The Jewels inside the shop. This spot is so popular you will need to make reservations in advance. The reason for its popularity is the magnificent view it affords at night in a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying French cuisine.

The spacious windows inside The Jewels afford a spectacular view of Sapporo at night. The moment you enter you will be intoxicated by the atmosphere. There is no dress code as trekkers up the mountain are also welcome.

This location is indeed a “delicious” location. The cuisine served is prepared with care using the finest seasonal ingredients to be enjoyed under the luxurious night sky.

We recommend the Hokkaido beef cheek meat stew served in a pie crust for lunch (1,944 yen). Beef cheek can be stringy, but this one will melt in your mouth because it is stewed for half a day.

Lunches are served a la carte whereas dinners offer full courses. The night view is a main dish all in its own complementing the delicious cuisine!

Pictured is the Sapphire Course (10,260 yen; one plan includes the ropeway, Morris car roundtrip fare and requires reservations a day in advance for 10,000 yen plus tax)

The menu varies according to season so please check the website for details.

Crème Brulee (a la carte lunch 648 yen) is the dessert served at the dinner course. The rich brulee lingers on the tongue and is perfectly matched with the dollop of vanilla ice cream on top

* Actual dishes may slightly differ from those shown in the photographs (photos provided by Sapporo Promotion Authority)
* Photos of the dishes may vary according to season and available ingredients. The photos are just images.

    • Address 〒005-0832 北海道札幌市南区北ノ沢1956先 藻岩山山頂/Mountain of Mt. Moiwa, 1956saki, Kitanosawa, Minami-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 005-0832, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-513-0531
    • Hours of operation: April ~ November: 11:00 AM ~ 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM ~ 9:00 PM (last order 8:00 PM); December ~ March: 12:00 PM ~ 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM ~ 9:00 PM (last order 8:00 PM) ※ restaurant closed 3:30 PM ~ 5:00 PM (takeout corner is open)

      Holidays: Every year from the end of November for about 10 days (for maintenance inspection of the ropeway). November 5 ~ November 19, 2018 (scheduled) ※ Closed when ropeway is not operating (there are times when the ropeway is not operated due to maintenance inspections and bad weather). For details, please visit the web site.

You won’t be able to take your eyes off of the view of the Sapporo skyline between dusk and nightfall!

The night view is the perfect finale to a visit to Mt. Moiwa. The spectacular transition of the skyline colors from deep purple to black is stunning!

Just before sundown. Unfortunately the sky was a bit overcast this day…

The view of the Sapporo skyline extends from the northeast to the east. It is not possible to observe the night view and the sun setting in the west at the same time because of the mountains, but the view still is spectacular.

As the sun sets the city lights come on little by little
After sunset. The sky radiates blue and the lights of the city come alive!
This is a time when the number of visitors increases to where they line up two and three deep on the left side to catch a glimpse of the city.
As the blue fades to black, myriad lights in the city twinkle in the night
The street lights in Sapporo, like most cities in Hokkaido, give off an orange light rather than white which gives the night views a comparatively softer and warmer feeling.

Mt. Moiwa is a special seat in the night sky! If you have the time to visit, the best way to see the night landscape is to go in the afternoon so you can see the transition to night. Autumn and winter are especially good times as the crisp air is clean and clear and leaves have fallen from the trees. The evening and night scenes are even more beautiful at these times of the year.

The view from the observation point, the natural surroundings and gourmet dishes all make for a memorable experience. The ropeway and Morris car are also unique experiences. Enjoy a day of pleasure on Mt. Moiwa to complement your views of Sapporo at night.

* All prices mentioned in the article include tax.

Fees: Ropeway + Morris car roundtrip ticket: 1,700 yen for adults, 850 yen for junior high school students and younger
* One-way tickets for the ropeway and Morris car are also possible
Hours of operation: April 1 ~ November 20, 10:30 AM ~ 10:00 PM (last car goes up at 9:30 PM); December 1 ~ March 31, 11:00 AM ~ 10:00 PM (last car goes up at 9:30 PM); December 31, 11:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM (last car goes up at 4:30 PM); January 1, 5:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM (last car goes up at 4:30 PM)

Holidays: Every year for 10 days during the latter part of November (all facilities closed for maintenance), November 21 ~ 30, 2017 ※Operations are also ceased at other times due to maintenance and bad weather. Please consult the website for details.

Written by : Nobuhiro Kawashima

Hotels near Sapporo's Mount Moiwa

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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