It has been far too long since we did this particular ride – I’m posting this almost 5 years after the fact. Since then, we’ve been to the Jozankei Nature Village multiple times. At least once a year. It is such a lovely place. The most recently (October 2018), we finally got around to hiring a wood-fired pizza oven (1,000yen for 2 hours – wood included). We brought pizza ingredients from home, including pre-prepared dough. The nature village staff got the oven going, and we took care of the rest. Great fun. The ovens can be booked ahead of time. Details (in Japanese) here: https://www.sj-naturevillage.jp/program/
Last updated Nov 15, 2018
Need to know details
This cycle touring route is within the Sapporo City limits. It heads southwest from the center of the city and through the Jozankei Onsen hotspring area. The final destination is the Jozankei Nature Village (here), run by Sapporo City.
Jozankei Nature Village: No booking is required at the Jozankei Nature Village, although the cottages and tent-houses can become fully booked during the weekends in summer (current booking situation (in Japanese): https://www.sj-naturevillage.jp/pdf/yoyaku.pdf). Booking ahead it always the preferred option. Call the nature village direct to book (TEL: 011-598-3100). I’ve only ever booked in Japanese, but they seem to be helpful, so if you speak slowly and clearly, you may be fine. Otherwise, be prepared to have a Japanese speaker to help with booking. On weekdays and in winter, the nature village is pretty quiet. Tent sites (for up to 5 people) are 500yen each. The tent houses (sleep up to 7 people) are 3,900yen per night (includes very effective kerosene heater). The log cottages (sleep up to 5 people) are 4,700yen per night. They also hire out everything you could ever need for camping: tents, sleeping bags, BBQs, campfire stands, portable log burner stoves, chairs etc. See the list (with photos) towards the bottom of this page: https://www.sj-naturevillage.jp/manner/
Visiting the Hoheikyo Gorge Dam: Public access to the dam is either on foot (no charge) or electric bus (620yen round trip) through the road access tunnels. On foot, the walk will take about 30mins from the carpark (here). See more details here: http://www.houheikyou.jp/english/index.html. This is one of the most popular locations around Sapporo for autumn colors. Bicycle is definitely the preferred mode of transportation during September and October – the traffic can be horrendous.
This not a marked cycle route. From central Sapporo it follows the Toyohira River Cycleway, then a number of un-named river-side paths. From the upper Makomanai area to Koganeyu Onsen just before Jozankei, the route takes a beautiful back road that is much quieter than the main 4-lane Route 230.
The cycle up to Jozankei Onsen from Sapporo City is a deceptively tough ride. It is a gradual uphill the entire way, so it is best to allow between 2-3 hours, depending on fitness. The Jozankei Onsen area is a very nice place for a break (there’s a foot-bath here and here) so leave with plenty of time to enjoy the sights along the way.
The closest onsen is Hoheikyo Onsen (1,000yen per person). It is one of the best in Hokkaido with a massive outdoor bathing area. It is 2.5km away from the nature village (here). They also have a good food court with Indian curry and soba.
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