Posted on Jun 21, 2019
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Posted on Jun 21, 2019

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Reading time: < 1 min
36km

Distance

0.5 days

Time

300m

Ascent

120m

Highest point

1/10

Difficulty

100%

Paved

This is the classic bike ride around the perimeter of Lake Toya (洞爺湖) in southwestern Hokkaido. This beautiful lake is surely one of Japan's most pristine, with amazing views of the surrounding mountains the whole way round. For the most part, cyclists will be on quiet one-lane roads with very little traffic, or on a separated cycle path. At no point are cyclists forced to use the main road if they don't want to. This would be a great challenging adventure for kids, with plenty of parks along the way for breaks. There are multiple campgrounds and hotsprings around the lake too.

Last updated Mar 23, 2020

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

Lake Toya is in the southwestern region of Hokkaido (here), closeby to the famous Niseko ski resort area.

General notes

For recreational cyclists in Hokkaido, there’s not many other places as iconic as Lake Toya and its perimeter road. From hardcore road-bikers shooting for ever-faster times around the lake, to rent-a-cycle tourists wanting to just potter along the village lake-front section of the route, people enjoy the scenery, the well-spaced facilities, and the relative lack of traffic. The most care-free season to cycle this route is during the non-snow months (June till October). The perimeter road is cleared in winter though, so if you’re experienced and have the appropriate bike, a winter ride around the lake is certainly possible.

Route markers

This is not a marked cycle route, but just keep to the road closest to the lake, and you can’t get lost.

Route Timing

How long does it take to cycle around Lake Toya? This will depend on your fitness and a myriad other things. But if you’re just out to smell the roses and take your time, allowing 4 hours would be appropriate. This is how long we took, including a donut break (here), a picnic lunch break and foot spa (here), and multiple photo stops along the way.

Physical maps

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

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Lake Toya
Other resources
Onsen nearby

There are to many onsen to count around Lake Toya. For some of the most epic views across the lake, we’d recommend Manseikaku Toya Hotel’s Hoshi-no-Yu Onsen (星の湯) situated about 7 stories up (location).  At 1,000yen per person, it is pretty steep, but the views are amazing. They also offer a 2,200yen buffet lunch plus onsen deal. If you’re looking for something a little more down to earth, try any of the onsen marked on the route map.

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

Just some quick notes this time…

This trip was a late spring (or early summer?) overnight camp on the shores of Lake Toya. It was a plan hatched by Alex, I believe. So we hired a car and filled it up with camping gear and folding bikes, and headed southwest from Sapporo City to the lake. This was after work on Friday, so we got to the campground relatively late after leaving Sapporo at around 5pm. Alex and Simon were already there. Rick, Jeff, and Karissa all arrived even later than we did. The next day consisted of cycling, lounging around, and enjoying BBQ food. 

Our campground for the night: Nakatoya Campground (仲洞爺キャンプ場, 450yen per person).
Onsen: There’s an onsen right over the road from the campground – the Nakatoya Onsen (仲洞爺温泉, 420yen per person).

Comments | Queries | Reports

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

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Cycling around Lake Toya Difficulty Rating

Category

Grade

Points

Strenuousness

Vertical Gain

D

25

Time ascending

D

0

Technicality

Altitude

D

0

Hazards

D

Navigation

D

Totals

25/100

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.