Camper-cycling in Furano-Biei

Posted on Jul 30, 2017
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32 4

Posted on Jul 30, 2017

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32 4
Reading time: 6 min
120km

Distance

3 days

Time

1350m

Ascent

1056m

Highest point

4/10

Difficulty

100%

Paved

The Furano and Asahikawa Plains are a popular destination for tourists to Hokkaido. They are rimmed by the vast Daisetsu Mountain Range to the southeast, and the Furano Range to the northwest. Hordes of visitors from Asia journey here to experience lavender fields, onsen, and a vastness of developed farmland scenery quite rare anywhere else in Japan. With a developed network of official cycle routes, the area is also one of the best for cycle touring in Hokkaido. In this guide, we join my parents from New Zealand on a tour around the area – them in a campervan, us on bikes.

Last updated Jun 3, 2019

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

This overnight cycle touring route in central Hokkaido starts at Lake Kanayama near Minami-Furano (i.e., south Furano) and heads north to Biei Town via Tokachi Onsen.

General notes

For this route guide, we’re joined by my parents from New Zealand. They’re not into cycle touring, but love getting out and about in a camper. So we hired a small 660cc camper for them. These compact camper vans seem to be pretty popular here in Japan. As rentals they are really cheap – this one was only 5,400yen for 24 hours. Despite the engine only being 660cc, it had plenty of power. It had just enough space to fit Mum and Dad for sleeping.

  • The 660cc mini-camper van: We hired the mighty 660cc-engine camper-van from 100yen Rentals on Atsubetsu Avenue in Sapporo. The cost was a paltry 5,400yen per 24 hours. You’ll need to be able to speak Japanese, or have someone who can with you, in order to hire from here. Also note that they don’t always have a mini-camper available in their fleet – you’ll need to contact them (in Japanese) to confirm.
  • Staying at Hakuginso Lodge: If you’d rather stay indoors on the second night in the Tokachi Range, consider staying at the Hakuginso Lodge for about 2,500yen per person. The onsen there is incredible, and the lodge has communal kitchen facilities. Full details can be found here.

Route markers

This two-day cycle tour around the Furano area doesn’t stick much to the official cycle routes in the area. However, it does merge with some of the mapped routes, so you’ll ocassionally see blue arrows painted on the roads for cyclists. See all the Furano-Biei Cycleways here >>

Route Timing

The first day is not particularly far distance-wise, but you’ll be climbing almost 1,000m, with all of it in the last 14km or so. So, make sure you get away from the quaint little town of Furano promptly after lunch – it is a great place to linger, but just remember a big climb is awaiting. The second day is a little more up and down as you cut across from Biei to Higashikawa Town.

Physical maps

Explore the official Japan topomaps online for the area around Furano-Biei here. Follow these instructions to print out the area you would like as a hardcopy.

Route safety

No particular notes, but do take care that you have all the neccessary supplies and water from Furano for the climb up to the Tokachi Onsen area on the first day. There’s nothing up there in the way of convenience stores, and it is a long stiff climb.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Furano-Biei
Other resources
Do you know of any? Let us know in the comments.
Onsen nearby

Lake Kanayama has a public baths (かなやま湖保養センター, here), and of course the Tokachi Onsen area is teeming with natural hotspring options. If you’re brave enough, don’t miss the open-air, mixed-gender Fukiage Onsen (here) near the Hakuginso campground. The Hakuginso Lodge right next to the campground is also home to an excellent onsen (600yen per person, here).

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Route Trip Notes

Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route up to Furano-Biei? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

4 thoughts on “Camper-cycling in Furano-Biei”

  1. Hi Robert
    First of all, great site and thank you for detailing your trips with useful information for others to follow.
    With regards to the mini-camper van website, the link is stale and I could not get to the website. So, I did a quick search on google map and found this (https://goo.gl/maps/cH2tY1gBNQt). Can you confirm if this is the correct one and if they are still in business (seems like their website either moved or has been shut down). Or, alternatively, if you can recommend any other rental company in Sapporo or the Chitose area. We are looking for a mini-camper (like the one high lighted in this article) preferably.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Hey thanks for an awesome trip and great guiding advice. We love the pics too – great for our photo album 🙂
    Scott and karolin
    Ps when are u folding your bikes and bringing them to sweden??

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