Michel, our Czech rider, was only able to stay for the one night, so headed back to Sapporo on his own. The remaining four of us carried on for a quick 20km to Tsukigata.
For some of the way, we had expansive blacktop on the top of the Ishikari River stopbanks.
The blacktop soon stopped, forcing an impromptu clamber over gates to get access to a nearby road.
Rice is an important staple here…although I can imagine the local variety must be quite hardy, to cope with a mild and rather short growing season…it is May here and there’s still snow on the ground.
The big idea behind coming to Tsukigata early, and making it a short day, was so that we could go and have a look at Miyajima-numa, a popular stop-over for migrating geese. By the time we got to the campground at Tsukigata (a very palatable 200yen (US$2) each a night) and got our tents set up, it had started raining again. The short 3km cycle to Miyajima-numa was scrapped, and we headed to the nearest onsen. Which would be our second hot-spring soak in about 6 hours. Tough work.
The Tsukigata Kairaku Campground has a great BBQ area. So we decided to eschew our camp cookers and go all out. Grilled meat and veges over a charcoal BBQ was the feast for the night. Warming and fun. Charcoal, meat and veges bought from the local farmer’s coop supermarket.
Sat 4th May | Shinotsu Park Camping Ground to Tsukigata Kairaku Park Campground
Approximate route: https://goo.gl/maps/QpbGk
Lake Shinotsu to Tsukigata (near Bibai City) 21km along Ishikari river stopbank road. If the weather is good, cycle around Miyajima-numa, a migration point for wild geese and other birds. Camp at the Tukigata Kairaku Park Campground (月形皆楽公園キャンプ場, 200yen per person per night). Campground is right next to Tsukigata Yurikago Onsen (月形温泉ゆりかご, 500yen).