We celebrated by going on a 200km cycle tour out and back from our front door, towards the south-east of Sapporo (the biggest city in Hokkaido, the northern-most island of Japan).
Unlike last year, however, where we spent most of our time cycling in the rain, this year’s trip began and ended in beautiful sunshine and cherry blossoms galore.
Many of our cycle trips in and out of Sapporo involve the awesome Shiroishi Cycling Road. This scenic cycle path cuts north to south from the Sapporo Convention Center all the way to Kitahiroshima Train Station (changing names from Shiroishi Cycling Road to Himawari (sunflower) Road to Elfin Cycling Road as you get closer to Kitahiroshima). If I happened to be cycling from Chitose Airport to Sapporo, I would take the slight detour and take this cycle way into Sapporo rather than the busy main road (probably adds an extra 15km or so to the route).
Our destination for the day was Yuni Town. Not many people I know from Sapporo have heard of this out-of-the way town. But that’s just the way you want it during Golden Week, when every person and their cat is escaping the city. This keeps the crowds at bay.
All along our route were signs of spring.
Most of our riding was on quiet farm roads today, and we arrived at the very nice Yuni Campground by about 5pm. The campground was overpriced (1,000yen each for entry, 500yen for a tent space = 2,500yen in total for two people), but only 2km to the amazing Yuni Onsen (Yuni hotspring spa). This was just as well, as we had forgotten to fill my stove fuel bottle with gasoline on the way. The onsen had a restaurant, which saved us going hungry.
After a nice hot soak in the hotspring, and a huge meal at the restaurant (2,500yen between us) we returned to the campground satisfied.
Distance for the day: 45km
Note the route map does not follow the Shiroishi Cycling road. The cycling road starts around this GPS point: 43.048698, 141.382821