Photo/IllutrationA conceptual rendition of the Yokohama Air Cabin aerial tramway (Provided by the Yokohama city government)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

YOKOHAMA--City authorities here plan to build an aerial gondola system that will offer great views of the bustling Minato Mirai 21 waterfront district ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The 630-meter-long cable car tramway will connect JR Sakuragicho Station with Unga Park in the Shinko district of Naka Ward in two to three minutes, improving access to many local attractions such as the Yokohama World Porters shopping mall and the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse commercial complex.

The plans were presented to the city assembly’s permanent committee on Feb. 13.

Tentatively named Yokohama Air Cabin, the system's cabins will accommodate up to eight people each.

Three supporting towers standing 30 to 40 meters will rise in the section over water.

The Unga Park stop will be located adjacent to World Porters, which boasts a deck on the second floor.

The Sakuragicho Ekimae stop will be close to Sakuragicho stations on JR Negishi Line and Yokohama Municipal Subway, according to city officials.

It will be installed and managed by Osaka-based Senyo Kogyo Co., which operates the Yokohama Cosmoworld amusement park in the Minato Mirai district, saving the city government from committing public funding to the project.

Construction will begin in fiscal 2019 with plans to operate commercially prior to the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July of that year.

Minato Mirai is dotted with commercial and sightseeing facilities, prompting city authorities to devise plans to improve access.

City officials solicited suggestions from the public in fiscal 2017 with the aim of introducing “a wide variety of transportation services that would make visitors enjoy the ride itself.”

They also held consultations with companies and other parties that proposed the aerial tramway and eight other projects.

Some of the other proposals have already been implemented, including an on-demand bus service that collects passengers in need of a ride.

In light of that, officials said they intend to continue efforts to make the area more accessible for everybody.

“It will help improve accessibility and vitalize the whole urban waterfront area,” said Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi, referring to the tramway project. “It will be the first aerial gondola system to be operated in an urban area in Japan, and it will surely promote the charms of Yokohama at home and abroad.”