Posted on Aug 30, 2011
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18 1

Posted on Aug 30, 2011

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18 1
Reading time: < 1 min
20km

Distance

1 days

Time

125m

Ascent

78m

Highest point

2/10

Difficulty

100%

Paved

The Sapporo-Eniwa Cycle Road doesn't go all the way to Eniwa yet. But it does go to Kitahiroshima, allowing a full 20km of traffic-free riding. This is one of our favourite cycling paths in the Sapporo area. It follows the route of the decommissioned (1973) Chitose Line of the Japan Public Railway, so has those classic gentle gradients one would expect from an old train line. The section from the beginning at the Sapporo Communication Park, to the border with Kitahiroshima can be quite busy, especially in the mornings, with middle and high school students using the path to walk to school. Beyond the Kitahiroshima border, however, it is usually gloriously quiet. The surface smooths out from here also.

Last updated Oct 26, 2018

Route Map

Need to know details

Location

The cycling road going from Sapporo to Kitahiroshima starts at the Sapporo Convention center (here), southeast of the city center in Shiroishi Ward. It then cuts through the urban sprawl all the way to Kitahiroshima JR Station (here), about 20km southeast of Sapporo City.

General notes

The name suggests a gloriously lengthy cycleway going all the way from Sapporo to Eniwa. That’s over half way to Chitose City. Alas these ambitious plans were never realized, and we’ve ‘only’ got 20km of beautiful separated cycle path from just southeast of Sapporo City center to Kitahiroshima JR Station. There don’t seem to be any great movements towards completing the cycleway to Eniwa.

There appear to be a number of alternate names for the road, depending on where the road passes through. It is variously referred to as Elfin Road (Kitahiroshima section), Hinatadamari Road (Atsubetu-ku section), and the Shiroishi Cycling Road (Shiroishi Section).

  • Getting there and away: Bikes can be taken onto trains provided they are packed correctly in some sort of bicycle bag/covering. See this post for hints.
  • Using the Sapporo-Eniwa Cycle Road in winter: The Sapporo City section (13.2km) – the Shiroishi Cycling Road – is cleared of snow in winter up to the Kita-Hiroshima border (here), so can be cycled all year round. The Kitahiroshima section (6.5km) is not cleared in winter, and is only passable with nordic skis or snowshoes (not many people walk this section, so it would be tough going on a fatbike too).

Route markers

There are frequent distance markers and information posts (mostly in Japanese).

Route Timing

Due to there being only three traffic lights on the entire route, there won’t be much slowing you down along the way. At a leisurely pace, most people will complete the entire Sapporo to Kita-Hiroshima cycleway in about 2 hours.

Physical maps

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

Weather forecast

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

There are a few onsen along the way.

  • Mori-no-Yu (森の湯) (location)
    Mori-no-Yu is 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.
  • Honoka Onsen Atsubetsu (ほのか温泉厚別) (location)
    The Honoka brand of onsen chain has a few locations in Sapporo. This one, quite close to Mori-no-Yu above, is the usual fare – huge dining area, Korean-style ganbanyoku, and good-enough onsen. The outdoor pools are right next to a busy road however (with a high fence, of course), so we prefer the quieter and more relaxing Mori-no-Yu nearby.
  • Kita-no-Tamayura (北のたまゆら) (location)
    This is more of a super-sento (super public baths) than onsen. It has a huge sauna though, and quite a large outdoor bathing area. Also has a large dining area with very cheap meals.
Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

The Shiroishi Cycling path is impressively wide at all points, and throughout the Sapporo City portion, there are only a few road crossings that are not furnished with tunnels or bridges. For the most part, the cycle road goes over or under roads.

For those cyclists who want to ‘get away from it all’, the Shiroishi Cycling Road will not truly impress until the Kitahiroshima City border, where the urban sprawl ends, and lush forest (in summer and autumn) begins. Here, the cycling road really shines.

There is a toilet just after the Kitahiroshima border; a clean bio-toilet with solar panels. There are also toilets at the top of the climb. That is to say, coming from the Sapporo side, the cycling road is a gentle climb all the way to the top of a ‘pass’ on the Kitahiroshima side (here). That said, the Kitahiroshima section of the cycling road has to be seen to be believed. The road is wiiiiide. And smoooooth.

The cycle road ends at the Kitahiroshima JR Station, where you can either turn round and cycle back to Sapporo, or bundle bikes into bike bags and take the train back to Sapporo station.

There are plans afoot to extend the cycle road all the way to Eniwa. This would be fantastic, as it would make an almost perfect cycling road loop, connecting the Shikotsu-Chitose cycling road, Sapporo-Shikotsu cycling road, Toyohira River cycling road, and Shiroishi Cycling road. This would be an almost 150km circular route, easily done in two days with a nice camping stop at the scenic Lake Shikotsu.

Comments | Queries | Reports

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

1 thought on “The Sapporo-Eniwa Cycling Road”

  1. Hi Rob,
    thank you so much for suggesting this cycling road from Sapporo to Kitahiroshima. I did ride it partially yesterday and enjoyed it very much. As I had a hard time finding information on the internet about this cycle road and a map, I took some pictures of the maps that were posted along the route. If you want to upload them to your webpage, please feel free. You can find them here: https://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.jp/2017/09/day-6-sapporo-to-kitahiroshima-and-back.html (or just let me know and I can send you the files)

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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.