Posted on Oct 8, 2018
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Posted on Oct 8, 2018

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Reading time: 3 min


4 days





Highest point





NOTE: The gravel road route from Onneyu over the Kachikita Pass is now impassible due to multiple large-scale washouts.

Highlights of this trans-Hokkaido Abashiri to Sapporo cycle touring route include Mikuni Pass, Hokkaido’s highest at over 1,100m. Sounkyo Gorge and the cycle road alongside the Ishikari River is also a nice long downhill if coming from the Abashiri direction. The gravel forestry road part from Onneyu to just below the Mikuni Pass is rough and steep, but worth the effort.

Last updated Jun 3, 2019

Route Map

Route Overview

This trans-Hokkaido cycle route from Abashiri to Sapporo is a fairly straight forward route. But this route guide is for those who like big, gargantuan days in the saddle. The first two days are around 100km as a warm up for the following two days of around 150km each.

An important caveat to the route guide is that unfortunately the gravel road crossing from Onneyu to the southern side of Mikuni Pass is now all but impassible (as of October 2018). Massive washouts have completely destroyed the road in numerous places. This means that instead of the gravel route, you’ll need to head up and over Hokkaido’s third-highest pass – the Sekihoku Pass – instead.

Daily Route notes

Distance: 80km | Ascent: 773m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

On the first day of this mad dash across Hokkaido from Abashiri to Sapporo, you’ll have your sights firmly set on the free campground at Onneyu. There’s an onsen hotel nearby, so you’ll be in for a good soak at the end of the day too. The main road (Route 39) is a fairly busy road with plenty of trucks, so it’s best to jump off the Route 39 and onto one of the parallel farming roads. They’re all paved, and much more pleasant to ride on. As far as scenery is concerned, this Kitami City valley is not much to look at, so it’ll be a bit of a head-down-and-go sort of day.

Onsen: Ōe Honke (大江本家) | 800yen | 1km from accommodation

An onion picker machine near Abashiri

Distance: 105km | Ascent: 1800m | Paved: 75% | ↓ GPX file

One of the highlights of this Abashiri to Sapporo cycle route across Hokkaido is tackling Hokkaido’s highest pass, Mikuni Pass (三国峠, 1,139m). But just to make things more interesting, this route approaches the pass from the southern side, accessed via gravel forestry roads. These roads are rough and steep in places, but are fantastic for getting off the beaten track.

UPDATE (2018/10/08): As of September 2018, the forestry road from Lake Oketo to Route 273 is all but impassible to bicycles due to massive washouts. While a hiker would be able to walk the route, there are multiple high bluffs across the washed out sections. Furthermore, the route is officially closed to all unauthorized personnel.

Also note that I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that the Sounkyo Campground may be closed due to typhoon damage (as of 2018/10/08). An alternative would be the Sounkyo Auto Campground (here) about 7km downhill (north) from the Sounkyo Village.

Accommodation: Sounkyo Campground (層雲峡野営場) | 300 yen per person

Onsen: Hotel Sounkaku Grand (層雲閣グランドホテル) | 1000yen | 0.5km from accommodation

View from Mikuni Pass (Hokkaido, Japan)_7798995064_l

Distance: 140km | Ascent: 1000m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

Today’s route follows one of Hokkaido’s longest sustained cycleways. The Sounkyo-Asahikawa Cycleway runs most of the way to Sounkyo along the Ishikari River. It is an excellent alternative to the busy Route 39 main road.

Onsen: Ashibetsu Onsen (芦別温泉) | 800yen | 1.4km from accommodation

Early morning near Sounkyo (Hokkaido, Japan)_7799025912_l

Distance: 150km | Ascent: 1900m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

This final day in the saddle goes via the remote and lonely Route 452. Make sure you’ve got all your supplies for the 90km stretch of Route 452 between Ashibetsu and Yubari, because there’s not much in the way of shops or even vending machines along that route. Highlights include the Shuparo Dam lake and Sandan Falls.

Accommodation: None ()

Onsen: None

Bridge over Lake Katsurazawa (Hokkaido, Japan)_7799022958_l

As with each ski touring, cycle touring, and hiking route guide published on, should you choose to follow the information on this page, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road/track closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow leave-no-trace procedures. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this information, associated GPS track (GPX, KML and maps), and all information was prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed., its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals following the information contained in this post.

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Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route or parts of it? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

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