Teuri and Yagishiri Islands by Bicycle

Posted on Apr 19, 2019
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Posted on Apr 19, 2019

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32 0
Reading time: 4 min
175km

Distance

5 days

Time

1400m

Ascent

360m

Highest point

3/10

Difficulty

100%

Paved

In this Hokkaido cycle touring route guide, we take our folding bikes on the train during Golden Week (early May) to Asahikawa (旭川) and cycle over to Teuri Island (天売島) and Yagishiri Islands (焼尻島). These are two small islands off the northwestern coast of Hokkaido in northern Japan. They're both about 12km around the perimeter. Teuri Island is home to some of Japan's largest colonies of common guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet, Spectacled Guillemot, Japanese cormorant, and slaty-backed gull - over 1,000,000 birds are on the island between May and July. Even if you don't really care about wild birds, the southwestern tip of Teuri Island, with its 600,000 clumsy land-nesting birds is really something else.

Route Map

Route Overview

Teuri Island (天売島, https://www.teuri.jp/) is famous within Japan as a sea bird paradise. Rhinoceros auklet are abundant on the island (over 600,000 of them), as are the curious-looking spectacled guillemot. Yagishiri Island is less well-known, but has some gorgeous stands of ancient Japanese yew just above the main settlement. On a good day, the views across to Teuri Island from the sheep-grazing pastures at the western end of Yagishiri island (焼尻島) are really amazing. While it is possible to see plenty of birdlife on the circular road that runs around the circumference of Teuri Island, a boat tour gives access to many more species of sea birds. This would be an amazing place on a calm day with a clear forecast with a good quality packraft.

For this particular route guide, we’re assuming a start from Asahikawa City. Arguably this is the most convenient start if you’re arriving by train. As such, in the day-by-day route notes below, it’s on Day Three that we start our journey around the islands. Instead of taking a train to Asahikawa, there’s also highway buses that run from Sapporo City direct to Haboro. Highway buses as well as trains will take bikes so long as they’re partially dismantled (front wheel, handlebars, and pedals removed) and packed in a bike bag.

Ferries to and from Teuri Island

There are two types of ferries from Haboro to the islands –  a fast ferry and a slow ferry. The timetable is a mess of different times for different times of the year (see it here). Google Translate does an OK job at translating the timetable into English (see the translated version here), but fails at the destination names.

Wearing a balloon = Arrival at Yagishiri
From Nannjiri = Leaving Yagishiri
Arrival at the age = Arrival at Teuri
From the auction = Leaving Teuri
Arrive at Azusa = Arrival at Haboro

Tickets have to bought per section. I.e., Haboro↔Yagishiri, Yagishiri↔Teuri. There are no return discount tickets. There’s no direct ferry to Teuri Island. They all go via Yagishiri. As of 2018/11/06, these were the prices (second class).

Slow ferry (Ororon 2)

  • Haboro↔Yagishiri (60min): 1,570yen each way
  • Yagishiri↔Teuri (25min): 720yen each way
  • Bicycles: 850yen per section if you want to roll the bike onto the ferry. That is, 850yen for Haboro to Yagishiri, and then another 850yen for Yagishiri to Teuri (1,700yen total for Haboro to Teuri). Bikes are free if you can pack it down into a bike bag and carry it on as luggage.
  • Add an extra ~200yen per section if travelling on the fast boat during the high season (July/August).

Fast boat (Sunliner 2)

  • Haboro↔Yagishiri (35min): 2,780yen each way
  • Yagishiri↔Teuri (15min): 1,320yen each way
  • Bicycles: Bikes cannot be rolled onto the fast boat, but they can be carried on as luggage for free if they’re partially dismantled (front wheel and handlebars removed) and packed into a bike bag.
  • Add an extra ~200yen per section if travelling on the fast boat during the high season (July/August).

Summing it all up

Slow ferry: To go from Haboro to Teuri Island return with an intact  bicycle (not packed into bikebag) on the slow ferry (about 1hr 45mins total each way), it’ll cost a total of  7,980yen return (8,360yen in July/August). Tickets must be bought individually at each respective ferry terminal. If the bike is packed into a bikebag, the total return cost would be 4,580yen (4,960yen in July/August).

Fast boat: To travel from Haboro to Teuri Island return with a bicycle packed into a bike bag on the fast boat (about 1hr 5mins total each way), it’ll cost 8,200yen return (8,580yen in July/August). Tickets must be bought individually at each respective ferry terminal.

Photo Gallery

Daily Route notes

Distance: 55km | Ascent: 285m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

On our Golden Week cycle tour this year (2018) we decided on Teuri Island (天売島) and Yagishiri Island (焼尻島) off the northwestern coast of Hokkaido. Haidee is a keen birdwatcher, and Teuri Island in particular is well known as one of the few places in the world to observe Rhinoceros auklets. In order to get to the islands, we took our bikes from Sapporo City on the train to Asahikawa City and cycled from there. On our first day we cycled from Asahikawa to Kenbuchi, just 50km north of the city.

Onsen: Kenbuchi Lakesite Onsen (剣淵温泉レークサイド桜岡) | 500yen | 0.5km from accommodation

Cycle-touring-Teuri-and-Yagishiri-Islands-Hokkaido-Japan_41949400382_o.jpg

Distance: 95km | Ascent: 710m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

On Day Two of our Teuri Island and Yagishiri Island cycle tour, we were not yet on Teuri nor Yagishiri Islands. We had finally made it to the Japan Sea coast in northwestern Hokkaido, after cycling across a still very snowy Route 239. Despite the snow, however, this Route 239 across the hills towards Haboro was desolate and gorgeous. The somewhat basin-like plateau just south of Horokanai felt curiously remote. We were thoroughly rained on during this part of the trip though, so were happy to arrive for an onsen at Tomamae at the end of the day.

Onsen: Tomamae Onsen Fuwatto (とままえ温泉ふわっと) | 500yen | 0.4km from accommodation

Teuri Island and Yagishiri Island cycle touring

Distance: 20km | Ascent: 170m | Paved: 95% | ↓ GPX file

We finally left the Hokkaido mainland today, bound for Teuri Island. We made a stop off on Yagishiri Island though, and made a one-lap around the island before getting back on the ferry. Yagishiri Island’s biggest highlight in my opinion is the absolutely gorgeous forest just west of the township, up on the hill. This forest is home to the Japanese yew – a large low-canopy tree. This forested area is an official ‘national protected natural monument’, and is part of the the Shokanbetsu-Teuri-Yagishiri Quasi-National Park (暑寒別天売焼尻国定公園).

Accommodation: Teuri Island Campground (天売島キャンプ場) | 500 yen per person

Onsen: None

Teuri Island and Yagishiri Island cycle touring

Distance: 10km | Ascent: 170m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

Our plans changed again today, resulting in one more night on Teuri Island. The boat tour we planned to take part in was cancelled, so we cycled around the island and did some sightseeing instead. The hike through the forest at the eastern end of the island was a highlight. We got rebooked on the boat tour for tomorrow morning, before our scheduled ferry back to the mainland.

Accommodation: Teuri Island Campground (天売島キャンプ場) | 500 yen per person

Onsen: None

Teuri Island and Yagishiri Island cycle touring

Distance: 10km | Ascent: 50m | Paved: 100% | ↓ GPX file

All good things must come to an end, but we ended our Teuri Island cycle trip with a boat tour. This got us up close and personal with the curious spectacled guillemot birds, penguin-like ‘sea crows’ (as they call common guillemot in Japan), and other peculiar specimens. With all the extra time we ended up spending on Teuri island, we had to take a bus back to Sapporo. This was easy enough though – there was a direct highway bus all the way from Haboro Town to central Sapporo City.

Onsen: None

Teuri Island and Yagishiri Island cycle touring

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