Trip Report

Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 1: Sapporo to Yuni (Hokkaido)

Posted on May 3, 2014
26 0

Posted on May 3, 2014

Like last year, we made the most of Golden Week this year here in Japan. Golden Week is the name given to a string of back-to-back national holidays in Japan. If the dates fall kindly (that is, don’t fall on a weekend), you can end up with up to 5 days of holiday. This year, the dates worked out such that we had four days off work: Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Last updated Oct 14, 2018

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.

Blossoms on the Shiroishi Cycling Road, Sapporo, Japan

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).

Shiroishi Cycling Road, Sapporo, Japan

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.

New spring growth near Naganuma, Hokkaido, Japan

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.

Cycling at night on the road in Yuni, Hokkaido, Japan

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

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Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 1: Sapporo to Yuni (Hokkaido) Difficulty Rating





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GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.