New Chitose Airport to Sapporo City via the Sapporo-Eniwa Cycling Road

Posted on Oct 3, 2018
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Posted on Oct 3, 2018

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Reading time: 2 min
55km

Distance

2 days

Time

225m

Ascent

100m

Highest point

1/10

Difficulty

100%

Paved

This cycling route from New Chitose Airport to Sapporo City goes via the Kita-Hiroshima/Chitose plains, and links up with the Sapporo-Eniwa Cycling Road. The cycling road doesn't go all the way from/to Eniwa City yet. But there is a decent 20km section that runs from Kita-Hiroshima Station most of the way into central Sapporo City. It is a 20km separated, paved railtrail that changes names multiple times as you pass through different jurisdictions. In Sapporo City it is known as the Shiroishi Cycling Road. Expect plenty of onsen (hotspring) options along the way, as well as local produce and rural farming vistas.

Last updated Oct 26, 2018

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

This route starts (or finishes) at New Chitose Airport, and finishes (or starts) in central Sapporo City. It zig-zags across the farming plains of Chitose/Eniwa before cutting through the urban sprawl using the excellent Shiroishi Cycling Road.

General notes

The route is quite straight forward if you follow the GPS route  – here’s a list of apps that might help.

  • Packing/unpacking a bike at the airport: New Chitose Airport is a large airport with plenty of out-of-the-way places you can spread out and unpack/pack a bike for travel. Check out my list of bike shops in Chitose for places to get a bike box.
  • Getting out of the airport: If you want to avoid all large roads at all costs, you can get out of the airport grounds through a gate in the fence here. Take a look at Google Street View to see what I mean. Don’t stress if you can’t find it. The main road, which snakes its way out of the airport under a couple of overpasses, will get you to the same Route 36 into Chitose City proper.

Route markers

There aren’t many marked cycle routes in Hokkaido, and this one is no exception. Once you’re on the cycleway though, you’ll have no problems following it to the Sapporo Convention center. From the Convention center you’ll be on normal city roads (which can be quite narrow at times).

Route Timing

This route will take about three to four hours, and is not the most direct route into Sapporo. By the most direct route (along the busy Route 36 – not recommended), you’ll shave off one hour, but this route via the cycleway is infinitely more relaxing.

Physical maps

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

Route safety

Nothing of note.

Weather forecast

Windy.com weather forecast for Shiroishi Cycling Road
Other resources
Do you know of any? Let us know in the comments.
Onsen nearby

There are a few onsen (hot springs) along the way.

  • New Chitose Airport Onsen (新千歳空港温泉)
    The airport onsen is on the 4th floor of the domestic terminal (near the cinema). At about 1,500yen to enter, it is one of the priciest you’ll find in Hokkaido, but it is quite a nice experience. The outdoor bath looks out over the carpark – if you stand up and look over the fence, that is.
  • Chitose-no-yuen (千歳乃湯えん) (location)
    Chitose-no-yuen here (千歳乃湯えん) is just south of Chitose Aoba Park in Chitose City. It is not 100% right on the route from the airport to Sapporo, but worth the 2.5km detour if you’re hanging out for a wash and a soak – it has a very large selection of indoor and outdoor baths as well as a sauna. It is in a very handy location for anyone staying at the Chitose Aoba Park Campground (here). Expect to pay around 400yen per person for the onsen here.
  • Eniwa Onsen (恵庭温泉) (location)
    Eniwa Onsen is one of the Honoka chain of onsens (here). From memory it is less than 700yen per person. You can have meals here too, so it can be a nice stop before you wild camp at the Eniwa MIchi-no-eki park (here).
  • Mori-no-Yu (森の湯) (location)
    Much closer to Sapporo City is Mori-no-Yu, right on the Kitahiroshima-Sapporo city border (here). The outdoor baths have excellent views over quiet woods. They have good meals also. It is a very short detour off the cycleway.
Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

You’ll cycle through the center of Chitose, which is the busiest section of the southern half of the route. Directly north of Chitose JR Station, I recommend getting yourself onto the eastern side of the train tracks – as noted on the route map above. This side is much less busy and the traffic does not move as fast.

Once out of Chitose City, the idea is to zig-zag towards Kita-Hiroshima City, utilizing the grid of farming roads across the Kita-Hiroshima/Chitose plains. So long as you’ve downloaded a map of this area in advance (Chitose Airport has WIFI), you should be able to navigate nicely using your smartphone. Locals will also be willing to help point you in the right direction if you tell them you want to go to Kita-Hiroshima eki (station is eki in Japanese – 北広島駅).

Just outside Chitose City center is a gelato icecream shop that is worth a stop. Location here: https://goo.gl/maps/puWA8pKCi8Q2

If you want to split the ride up or camp along the way, there are a few spots that will do the job. The official campground in Chitose City’s Aoba Park is beautiful (here), but there are some other spots along the way that are not official campgrounds but parks where wild-camping is possible. One standout place would be the Michi-no-eki in Eniwa (here).

If you’re here in the right season, then you can expect some well stocked vegetable stalls along the way too. The photo below is from a local vege shop a little further out (here), but along the way you could try the vege shop in Chitose (here) or the one on the way to Kita-Hiroshima (here).

Just as you’re entering Sapporo on the cycleway, there are two natural onsen near Kaminopporo JR Station, just east of the cycleway. One of them is another Honoka-brand onsen here, but we prefer the Mori-no-yu onsen just up the road here, which has a gorgeous view from the open air baths over some woods. Both have restaurants with very reasonable meals, and both cost around 600yen per person to enter.

Once you’re on the Eniwa-Sapporo Cycling road, then you’re set. This cycling road actually starts at the southern end in Kita-Hiroshima. although there are plans to extend it all the way to Eniwa. The start of the cycling road is on the eastern side of the station, right about here: https://goo.gl/maps/EiG9n5EcXHH2

Just in case you’ve decided to embark on a deep-winter Hokkaido cycle tour, you’ll be happy to know that the Shiroishi Cycling road is also open in winter – but only on the Sapporo City side. At the Kita-Hiroshima City border it is impassable on a bike.

Once you’re in Sapporo City proper, it is a matter of just ‘following your nose’ into the city center. Unlike many ‘mainland’ Japanese cities, Sapporo City’s roads are fairly wide. Traffic moves faster here though, so take your time and enjoy the ride.

If you’re approaching the city in winter, studded tires are not essential, but they give me much more confidence on the rutted, often icy roads.

Comments | Queries | Reports

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

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New Chitose Airport to Sapporo City via the Sapporo-Eniwa Cycling Road 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.