Distance: 45km | Ascent: 340m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file
The best way to get out of Sapporo to the southeast is by and far the Shiroishi Cycling road. Day 1 takes this route via Kita-Hiroshima City, and meanders across the Naganuma Plains before ending at the well-kept Yuni Campground. The Yuni Onsen is a 2km ride away from the campsite, but is absolutely worth the effort of going. It is a tanin-soaked onsen, and they have really great-value meals there too. If you can’t be bothered cooking, then it is very well worth eating there!
Accommodation: Furuyama Chosuichi Nature Park Auto Camping Ground (古山貯水池自然公園 オートキャンプ場) | 1000 yen per person
Onsen: Yuni Spa Hotel (ユンニの湯) | 650yen | 2.5km from accommodation
Distance: 54km | Ascent: 166m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file
This is quintessential Sapporo-area rural scenery. Relatively small-scale agriculture, and hopelessly quiet roads. On a clear day you’ll be able to see the Yubari mountain range in the distance. Towards the end of the day the route crosses the mighty Ishikari River. Shinotsu Park is a great place for a rest – although bring your own shade on a sunny day – this new park has yet to grow its trees tall.
Accommodation: Tsukigata Kairaku Park Campground (皆楽公園キャンプ場) | 200 yen per person
Onsen: Tsukigata Yurikago Onsen (月形温泉ゆりかご) | 500yen | 0.5km from accommodation
Distance: 68km | Ascent: 680m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file
Miyajima Pond at daybreak in late April is the center-piece of this route. Get there at the right time of day at the right time of the year, and you’ll be treated to the amazing natural phenomenon of thousands of migratory geese stopping over on their way north to Siberia. The rest of the route from Tukigata to Akabira skirts the plains to the west, and climbs up and over the Utashinai Pass via a great cycling road along the valley floor. The campground at Elm Kogen has a beautiful view out over the valley below.
Accommodation: Elm Kogen Family Village Campground (エルム高原家族旅行村) | 500 yen per person
Onsen: Elm Kogen Onsen Yuttari (赤平市保養センターエルム高原温泉ゆったり) | 500yen | 0.5km from accommodation
Distance: 66km | Ascent: 700m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file
I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with Route 452 along the back side of the mountain range to the east of the Iwamizawa Plains. I love it because it is remote. Expect no shops, convenience stores, or even vending machines for a good solid 40km. And it has the beautiful San-dan Falls too. But it can be a brutal ride – two out of three times I have ridden it it has been in torrential rain. It is potholed….but still it is a great way to avoid the busy roads on the plains to the west. It is a route you’ll grow to love.
Accommodation: Family Land Mikasa Campground (ファミリーランドみかさ遊園キャンプ場) | Free
Onsen: Yu-no-Moto Onsen (湯の元温泉旅館) | 500yen | 2.5km from accommodation
Distance: 75km | Ascent: 430m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file
The last day of a Sapporo-out-and-back cycle tour can be either a beautiful roll through lovely flat farmland, or a pedal-smashing endurance test depending on the weather and wind direction. On this particular trip for us, we had the latter. But don’t let that put you off – the Nopporo Forest Park is always an oasis of calm and green, just before you re-join with the Shiroishi Cycling Road back into central Sapporo City. Photo below by Adam Szabo.
Accommodation: – (-)