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.
Accommodation: Beach wildcamp (砂浜で野宿)
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
Onsen: Refresh Plaza Onsen 998 (リフレッシュプラザ温泉９９８) | 500yen | 3.5km from accommodation
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).
Accommodation: Yumoto Onsen Campground (湯本温泉野営場) | Free
Onsen: Yuki-chichibu Onsen (雪秩父温泉) | 700yen | 0.3km from accommodation
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
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.
Accommodation: Toyako Chosho Central Park (洞爺湖町小公園・中央公園) | 700 yen per tent
Onsen: Toya Ikoi-no-Ie (洞爺いこいの家) | 370yen | 0.6km from accommodation
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.
Accommodation: Kyogoku Three Yupaku Camping Ground (京極スリーユーパークキャンプ場) | 500 yen per tent
Onsen: Kyogoku Onsen (京極温泉) | 600yen | 0.2km from accommodation
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