A view from above the clouds - Sora Terrace


 Today, my friend and I have decided to visit an extraordinary touristic attraction – a terrace high above the cloud height with a vista of northern part of Nagano prefecture. The place has adopted its name from Japanese word for a sky – “sora” and if you plan your trip on a warm but cloudy day you can find yourself above the beautiful sea-like sky. On a bright and clear day, you can even have a viewpoint reaching 60 km far to blue surface of the Japanese Sea.
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Sora Terrace is located in Ryuoo Ski Park near a town called Yamanouchi. It is easily accessible by car and there is also a shuttle bus going from Yudanaka station (in Yamanouchi) several times a day. It takes about 20 minutes to arrive to at the ski resort. A free parking lot is right in front of the ticket office. The ticket office is situated 980 m.a.s.l. and the Sora terrace reaches the altitude of 1770 meters. 
You can enjoy ride on one of world’s largest ropeways. The gondola leaves from 9 am until 7 pm every 20 minutes and can carry on to 160 people at once. The Sora Terrace can be closed irregularly and therefore it is advices to check their website before taking the road.
If you choose to visit Sora Terrace on a cold day, like we did, you can warm yourself while waiting for gondola with small heaters in the waiting area. We went to this place on quite cold and cloudy October day and our journey up towards the heaven looked like passing from autumn to the Siberian winter. On a way in the gondola we could not have enough of the splendid view, however, as we arrived at the Sora Terrace we were surrounded by snow-white clouds and trees completely covered with frost. Luckily, we could warm up in the Sora terrace café where they serve warm coffee, cocoa, or tea. You can even have a bit of some tasty meal.
If you take a trip to the Sora Terrace, I wish that you will have much better weather to enjoy the view from this heavenly place.
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Simon Happy