Yoshino Ropeway – World’s First CPT?

Post by Nick Chu

Gondola Project largely began because we noticed that there was a lack of accurate online educational resources on cable technology. Over these past years, we’ve helped a lot people from all backgrounds learn more about CPT systems by separating fact from fiction.

As we know, despite our best efforts, a gap still exists within cable literature (especially with the Algerian cable systems), due in large part to language barriers. While we initially thought that the Roosevelt Island Tram was one of the world’s first CPT system, we may be 47 years off.

Yoshino Ropeway is a 350m long aerial tram system that takes riders up to Yoshino Mountain in about 3 minutes time. Image by 3ff.jp.

The Yoshino Ropeway (website is in Japanese) in Yoshino, Japan was built in 1929, and is considered the oldest operating and surviving cable system in the country. It may very well be the earliest example of Cable Propelled Transit on the planet

According to Wikipedia, it not only provides transportation for tourists wishing to access Mount Yoshino, but it is a form of public transport for residents living in the vicinity.

As can be seen from Google Maps, the cable system is highly interconnected with the transit network – the Yoshino Railway Line is only a short walk from the Senbonguchi gondola station. This system is 82 years old and aside from cabin and cable updates, it still operates with the same infrastructure and span. Surely, this system is a testament to the reliability and durability of cable transport.

Interestingly enough, the system is likely a highly endeared and cherished local landmark – the two cabins are actually named: Kaede (Maple) and Sakura (Cherry).

Here is a video that gives you a full tour of the system. Enjoy!


If anyone has more information and insight on this unique cable system, we’d love to hear about it.

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  1. so we use the same tower design as 90 years ago?! ... ummmm
  2. proof of the age old adage that is: if it's not broken, don't fix it!
  3. The oldest CPT in the world is the Bolzano "Funivia del Colle/Kohlern Seilbahn" that started the official authorized passenger service the 29 July 1908 . Service still continues today after several rebuilts (also after WWII bombing) , its part of the public transport of the city.
  4. Rail bound CPT (funiculars and cable cars) are much older than cable suspended CPT. First Suspended CPT could be the Schwebebahn Dresden opened 1901. It is suspended by a rail instead of a cable but propulsion is by a cable.
  5. Barcelona´s cable car (Teleferic) has quite a long and interesting history. It was devised in 1926, but due to lack of finance the project was completed in 1931. Later it was closed due to the Civil War and started operating in 1963.
  6. I don't believe it was used for public transport purposes, although I could be wrong.