Yokohama Cable Car

29
May

2018

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Urban Gondola Set to Return to Yokohama

The proposed Yokohama gondola could look similar to the Lisbon Telecabine which is built alongside the Tagus river in the Park of the Nations district. Image by Nicholas Chu.

Proposals for a 2020 Tokyo Olympics urban gondola was first broached in April 2014 but little information on its alignment and location was available at that time.

This week however, Japan Times announced that a 600m cable transport line is now being planned in Yokohama which connects JR Sakuragicho Station to the Minato Mirai 21 district. If built, Tokyo will join London as the second city in recent memory to construct a gondola system in anticipation of a Summer Olympic games.

Proposed alignment. Image from Hamarepo.

It appears that the city’s Urban Development Bureau released a Request for Proposal in December last year which asked private firms to submit ideas to revitalize the waterfront. A total of ten proposals were submitted which included ideas for water taxis, open top buses and a longer aerial gondola system. However, upon review, city officials chose Senyo Kogyo Co (an amusement operator) to implement the gondola which is designed to travel at heights of up to 40m.

Gondola built in 1989 in Yokohama, Japan. Image from kanaloco.

Interestingly, while the idea of a cable lift might seem novel, the Japanese port city actually built a temporary cable lift back in 1989 as part of the Yokohama Exotic Showcase (YES’ 89).

While it is unclear if this proposal was inspired directly by the Emirates Cable Car in London, the Yokohama system does share some similarities with its English counterpart. This gondola hopes to attract visitors and improve connectivity while using the gondola as a catalyst to spark waterfront revitalization.

At the Mirai Mirao 21 station location, this area is considered the city’s central business district where a number of major attractions are currently operational (i.e. Cosmoworld amusement park, Landmark Tower skyscraper, Cup Noodles Museum and the Red Brick Warehouse shopping center).

If the system is designed well and learns from best practices of previous urban cable cars, the gondola could be a welcome addition and great complementary attraction in Yokohama as the city already attracts a staggering 36.3 million annual visitors.



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