Posted on May 31, 2015
56 6

Posted on May 31, 2015
56 6
Reading time: 2 min
8km

Distance

1 days

Time

40m

Ascent

50m

Highest point

1/10

Difficulty

50%

Paved

Aoba Park Picnic Grounds (Campground) is at the southern end of central Chitose City, only 5km from Sapporo International Airport. If you're arriving to or leaving Hokkaido by air with a bike, it would be a nice spot to stay the night after or before a flight. Or, just for a nice get away in the Sapporo region.

Last updated Oct 26, 2018

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

This is a route leading from JR Chitose Station to the beautiful Aoba Park picnic area/campground at the southwestern side of central Chitose City. Campground location is here.

General notes

Chitose City is hardly high on a tourist’s list of places to see. Granted, if you’re coming by airplane to Hokkaido, Japan’s northern-most island, it is difficult to avoid it. It is home to ‘Sapporo’ airport. But in reality, Sapporo’s airport is actually in Chitose City, a solid 30 minutes (40km) by express train from central Sapporo. In any case, Chitose City itself is rarely anything other than a transit location for most tourists, both Japanese and non-Japanese. Sure, there’s Lake Shikotsu, which is officially (just) within the city limits. This pristine caldera lake is home to plenty of hikingskiing, and camping options. But it is so far from the city center itself, that it is difficult to really consider it part of the city.

The point is, Chitose City itself is a bit of an enigma. It is easy just to think of the place as somewhere where commuters and airport staff begrudgingly house themselves during non-working hours. But once one starts to poke and probe at its mysterious shell, it starts revealing some startlingly beautiful locations well within the urban sprawl. One such place is the colossal Aoba Park.

Aoba Park in Chitose City is a sprawling 1km2 (102.3ha) park, and is home to jaw-droppingly well-equipped track and field ovals, tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball fields, and a huge swathe of wild forest.

Tucked away in the south-western corner of Aoba Park is the Aoba Park Picnic Area (aoba kouen pikunikku hiroba, 青葉公園ピクニック広場). The name is a little misleading, because it is as much a campground as it is a picnic area. BBQ facilities can be rented between the hours of 9am and 5pm for not much more than 100yen, but beyond those hours, campers can set up tents on raised tent plots for 300yen (Chitose City citizens) or 600yen (visitors from outside Chitose).

The staff of the campground are friendly (especially the effervescent Mr. Kutsuwa), and the little BBQ in the photo above is supplied free with the campground fee (charcoal not included).

Route Timing

Physical maps

Explore the official Japan topomaps online for the area around Aoba Park Campground here. Follow these instructions to print out the area you would like as a hardcopy.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Aoba Park Campground
Other resources
Do you know of any? Let us know in the comments.

Onsen nearby

There is a very nice onsen (Japanese hot spring) just 15 minutes walk from the campground (open till 10:30pm); perfect for a soak after setting up the tents. The onsen is right next to the Chitose Inter Golf Club.

Photo Gallery

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

Aoba Park campground happens to be less than 15 minutes from where we live in Chitose (EDIT (2018/10/13): we now live in Sapporo), so we decided to load up our bikes with camping and BBQ equipment and stay a Saturday night there with some friends.

We were at the campground on the 23rd of May. “This is still very early in the year for camping,” said the enthusiastic Mr. Kutsuwa. He said there had been a couple of travelers stay earlier, but the busiest season won’t start till June.

Being late May, Mr. Kutsuwa was slowly making his way around the campsites, clearing twigs and leaves from tentsites that had accumulated over winter. One of those campsites was the kabutomushi (rhinoceros beetle) site; all the sites had insect names. This site had tentsites covered in the most amazing layer of soft moss. We quickly opted for this spot and set up camp. By 6pm we had tents set up, our charcoal BBQ hot, and the drinks and food ready.

No one had a wine bottle cork removal implement with them, so I did as I have before, using my Leatherman. The steps are as follows: Find a wood screw (there is always one somewhere in a campground), remove it from whatever wood it is currently screwed into, screw it into the cork, grab the screw head with the pliers on the Leatherman, and pull. Cork is now removed. (Return the screw to previous location.)

Before long it was night time and time for an onsen. Walking through a pitch black dark park is always so exciting…

The next morning broke with clear skies and no wind. Everyone in good spirits. Breakfast consisted of BBQ goodness…Including Japanese imo-mochi (mashed potato with potato starch shallow fried, with a dash of soy sauce)…And of course coffee brewed in a mokapot atop a beer can alcohol stove, the stove made the day before.

The perfect spot for an overnight weekend adventure.

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Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route up to Aoba Park Campground? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

6 thoughts on “Aoba Park Campground (Chitose City)”

  1. Thank you for this blog post! We are planning our bike trek around Hokkaido this summer. We will fly in to Chitose on May 29. Looks like this campground would be a perfect place to start. By any chance, do you know where the closest outdoor shop would be to purchase camp fuel. That will be the first purchase we will need to make. If you have any other advice, we would love to hear it.
    Thanks in advance!
    Cheers from Barbra and Jack
    Chignik Lake, Alaska

  2. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for taking the time to write your journal, its a great read.

    I was wondering where you found bear spray in Japan? I am landing at Chitose airport soon and am not able to find anyinfo on where to buy it.

    Any pointers you can give will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Nik.

    1. Ah, those things that look like strings are just the brake and gear cables…no strings needed. The Ortlieb front bag that I have doesn’t touch the fender.

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