Option 1 – The Chitose Plains and Shiroishi Cycling Road
This cycling 55km route from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo City goes via the Kita-Hiroshima/Chitose plains, and links up with the Shiroishi Cycling Road. The Shiroishi Cycling Road is a 20km separated, paved railtrail that runs from Kita-Hiroshima Station most of the way into central Sapporo City. Expect plenty of onsen (hotspring) options along the way, as well as local produce and rural farming vistas.
Option 2 – Via Lake Shikotsu
This is the 80km kick-jetlag-in-the-butt route. It is the longest route from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo City, but it is hard to overstate how impressive Lake Shikotsu is. It is a crystal-clear caldera lake surrounded by beautiful forest. At the lake itself there are a few options for campgrounds, as well as a Rider’s House – 1,500yen to stay the night in this two-storey log cabin (shared dorm-style rooms). The onsen at Lake Shikotsu close early at around 3pm though, so you’ll need to be quick if you want a soak. Be warned though, the hills between Lake Shikotsu and Sapporo are not to be taken lightly. Unless you are starting very early from the airport, best to make this an overnight trip, camping at Lake Shikotsu.
Option 3 – National Highway 36
This is the least desirable way of getting from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo City. Distance-wise, this is the shortest route from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo City. It is 10km shorter than the infinitely more cycle-friendly route via Kita-Hiroshima and the Shiroishi Cycling Road. That said, you’ll be sharing the road with 4 lanes of heavy traffic at most hours of the day, and you’ll encounter a lot of busy traffic light intersections. Therefore, even if you’re strapped for time, I can’t really recommend this route. It is just miles of character-less strip malls and car dealers. There aren’t even any onsen along the way. The only thing going for this route is that it is brain-dead. Stay on Route 36 – that is, just follow the truck exhaust fumes – and you can’t get lost. It will lead you straight into central Sapporo City.