Horses and Forgotten Valley Ride near Chitose City

Posted on Jun 5, 2016
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Posted on Jun 5, 2016

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Cool oak groves. Quiet roads. Quirky farmlets and friendly horses. And Hokkaido’s second oldest natural hot springs to top it all off. This 40km cycle route around Chitose starts at Chitose Station and heads southwest into Abira Town is a delightful day ride that takes in some great sights in the region. Rent a bike from Chitose Station, and you’d be set for an easy flat day-ride.

Last updated Oct 26, 2018

Route Map

Need to know details


This route meanders around the lush agricultural area southeast of Chitose City and New Chitose Airport. It goes almost as far as the Muroran Trunk Line railway, before heading back to Chitose to complete a full loop.

General notes

This wasn’t a route we particularly thought too much about before setting off on. The ultimate destination was the Tsuru-no-Yu onsen, and we knew there was the Northern Horse Park southeast of Chitose City somewhere, so we just headed in that direction. What we discovered really opened our eyes to the laid back beauty of this rather forgotten area.

  • Bicycle rental options: Chitose Tourist Association at JR Chitose Station has bicycles to rent as daytime rentals (9am till 5pm, not overnight).

Route Timing

We took a leisurely 5 hours to complete this route. We were certainly in no hurry. Our itinerary included lunch and a hotspring soak at the Tsuru-no-Yu onsen (here), as well as far too much time standing around next to horse paddocks coaxing the graceful beasts to some say hello.

Physical maps

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

Weather forecast weather forecast for Bibi Area
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Onsen nearby

Tsuru-no-Yu Onsen (here), with its carp pond out the front, is a nice place to have a relaxing soak. There’s no outdoor pool, but the indoor bath is spacious. The attached restaurant is good value onsen fare.

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Route Trip Notes

On a bluebird late spring Sunday, Haidee and I decided to head to the closest natural hotsprings to our place: Tsuru-no-Yu onsen. We’d been there before, but hadn’t realized at the time that it was in fact Hokkaido’s second-oldest hot springs.

The most direct route from our place in Chitose is via Route 36, the main road linking Chitose with Tomakommai. However, unless absolutely necessary, that horrible stretch of noisy, busy 4-lane highway is best avoided. Therefore, we took a route towards the east of Route 36. This route starts by heading towards the Rera Outlet Mall on the back road out of Chitose.

Just after heading under the expressway overpass, there is a little road running parallel to the expressway. This links up with a road that cuts through the western edge of the Eastern Chitose Self Defence Force base. Stands of oaks provide just the right amount of shade. After a few kilometers through the base, the road pops out into what I can only describe as a forgotten world. Just a few kilometers to the west is the airport and Route 36 and traffic and haste. Here, it is just quiet and green. Friendly wee horses and picturesque farmlets.

Don’t miss the old train that used to run between Sapporo and Tomamu ski resort in the winter. Until 15 years ago or so, the train, owned by Japan Rail, would run only during winter. That was until the old Tomamu resort went bust. The train was kept at the Naebo train yards in Sapporo, before plans were announced to scrap it. “A train-mad guy from Sapporo couldn’t bare seeing it go to waste, so he bought it and had it transported here,” explained the 80-year old Mr. Takeda from Takeda Farm, where the train is kept. “Apparently the transport cost more than the train itself!”

Onwards towards Tsuru-no-Yu onsen, the road continues through a quiet valley.

We arrived at Tsuru-no-Yu just on 12 noon. After a quick soak and lunch at the attached restaurant, we had a walk around their fantastic pond and garden area. Geese, lilies, and sunshine. Just perfect. We just added some coffee.

From the onsen, it was simply a matter of getting back home, preferably without retracing our steps too much, and without spending too much time on Route 36. This effort took us past a flower hot-house (we bought some geraniums)…and over the beautiful Bibi River at least twice.

While we didn’t have quite enough time to drop in to the Northern Horse Park, our route home did take us around the back of the park. We were treated to some curious horses, keen to find out what we were up to. After leaving home at 10am in the morning, we finally got home at around 4:30pm. A perfect gentle ride around the countryside!

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 up to Bibi Area? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

4 thoughts on “Horses and Forgotten Valley Ride near Chitose City”

  1. Thank you for beautiful photos and interesting guide! I didn’t know about Tsuru-no-yu , old train and such beautiful views, even though I lived in Eniwa-shi.

  2. Hi there, this looks like a nice cruisy ride. I’m heading to Sapporo towards the end of June and will cycle tour around the area where I ski, Furano. Later I hope to do a tour from Sapporo, to Otaru and west to Kutchen, take in some lakes and National Parks. Do you have any suggestions?

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