Posted on Oct 11, 2018
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Posted on Oct 11, 2018

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8 days





Highest point





This is a 330km door-to-door cycle tour starting and finishing in Sapporo. Once you’re out of the urban sprawl past Yoichi, the coastal bays and beaches of the Shakotan Peninsula are fantastic. Approaching the famous ski resort town of Niseko from the north, up up up over the hills is tough going but very rewarding. The highland Goshiki area is onsen heaven. The route also dips down to the expansive Lake Toya before heading over Nakayama Pass back to Sapporo.

Last updated Jun 3, 2019

Route Map

Route Overview

Of all the cycle touring routes we’ve posted on the Hokkaido Wilds, this may be one of the best for people who love swimming! When we did the route, it was the height of summer, and we were cooling off in water every day. Crystal clear coastal bays around the Shakotan Peninsula, waterfalls on the climb up to Niseko, Lake Toya, the hopelessly clear river downstream from Kyogoku next to Mt. Yotei, and the Toyohira River in Sapporo. Even if you’re not partial to a wild dip, this 330km route still delivers a solid impression of the coast northwest of Sapporo and a glimpse of the varied beauty of the Niseko area.

  • Getting out of Sapporo: The route from central Sapporo, through Otaru, and on to Yoichi is a fairly continual urban sprawl for about 50km. Get respite from the traffic and monotony by making the time to stop off at the fruit stalls as you approach Yoichi City, do some sightseeing in the gorgeous and touristy Otaru City canal area, or doing some kayaking at Shioya.
  • Route timing: As is the case for most Hokkaido cycle touring routes on the Hokkaido Wilds, daily distances are short, to make time for looking around (and swimming 🙂 ). Stronger riders will quite happily merge multiple days into one and still have a great time.

Daily Route notes

Distance: 44km | Ascent: 360m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

Today’s mission: get out of the city. Unfortunately there’s not much other option but to brave the National Highway 5 out of Sapporo towards Otaru today. But the small sandy-beach oasis that is Shioya Bay is waiting with baited breath for your arrival. There’s no official campground in Shioya Bay, but there’s unlikely to be any objection to cyclists setting up camp. There’s no public toilets here either, for that matter. We camped here because we were taking part in a kayak tour with Blue Holic Kayak Tours the next day.

If you’re not signed up for a kayak tour, you might prefer to keep on going to Bikuni, and get the urban biking out of the way on this first day.

Onsen: None

Camping on beach in front of Blue Holic Kayaks in_6036954364_l

Distance: 50km | Ascent: 410m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

Highlights of Day 3 include rolling past the highest point on the Shakotan Peninsula – Mt. Shakotan (hiking guide here – or backcountry skiing, if that’s your thing) – as well as Cape Kamui, and of course some more endless, gorgeous coastal scenery. There are a decent number of tunnels on this section, but they are mostly new, modern, well lit, and have wide paths to ride on. Plus, there’s not a whole lot of traffic this far around on the peninsula.

Accommodation: Kamoenai Campground (神恵内青少年旅行村) | 600 yen per tent

Shakotan Peninsula

Distance: 51km | Ascent: 1000m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

Today is where this Shakotan and Niseko Hills tour starts to get hilly. The climb up and over the Niseko Range from Iwanai to Yumoto Onsen is long and relentless, but utterly beautiful. The vegetation becomes sub-alpine nearer the top. And the end of the day guarantees a soak in an onsen. The campground is only 5oom from one of Hokkaido’s largest geothermal lakes, Niseko Onuma Lake (here).

Onsen: Yuki-chichibu Onsen (雪秩父温泉) | 700yen | 0.3km from accommodation

Niseko cycle touring

Distance: 25km | Ascent: 380m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

Most people know the Niseko region as a winter paradise for skiing. We sometimes brave the throngs and have done some ski tours there before. In the non-snow months, the area transforms into a lush agricultural vege basket. Here, we speed down the hill from Yumoto Onsen and skirt around the base of the conical Mt. Yotei’s southern side.

Accommodation: Mt. Yotei Nature Park Campground (羊蹄山自然公園キャンプ場) | 600 yen per tent | 600 yen per person

Onsen: Makkari Onsen (まっかり温泉) | 500yen | 3.7km from accommodation

Cycle touring near Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan_6037048206_l

Distance: 25km | Ascent: 261m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

It would be a shame not to head south and see Lake Toya, Japan’s 9th largest lake. At its widest point it is 11km across. There are multiple campgrounds and hotsprings around its 46km circumference.

Onsen: Toya Ikoi-no-Ie (洞爺いこいの家) | 370yen | 0.6km from accommodation

Looking over Lake Toya, Hokkaido, Japan_6037711362_l

Distance: 30km | Ascent: 500m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

Today we headed north again to the spring-water town of Kyogoku. We visited Fukidashi Park, an area where over 8 tons of 6.5°C spring water per day gushes from a spring at the foot of Mt. Yotei. The campground is just downstream from the spring.

Onsen: Kyogoku Onsen (京極温泉) | 600yen | 0.2km from accommodation

Swimming at the Kyogoku Camping Ground, Kyogoku, Hokkaido, Japan_6037750886_l

Distance: 72km | Ascent: 930m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

The last day is a relatively tough one. Nakayama Pass is a solid climb. But, once at the top, it is a downhill run all the way to the Toyohira River cycle path to get you back into Sapporo City.

Onsen: () | yen

Cycling along the Toyohira River cycle path in Sapporo, Japan_6037774812_l

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 or parts of it? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback or queries here. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “Shakotan and Niseko Hills”

  1. Hi guys and girls i’m working in sakazuki (tomari) in front of benten island until august, just wanted to say the camping has been renovated recently and is super duper clean just hide your food from the family of foxes. If any cyclist is passing by you can refill your bottles at the campgrounds behind the village or just drop by at the café and we’ll gladly refill them even after closure if we’re there.


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