Nakagawa Napoto Loop Walk


Posted on Sep 18, 2020

Posted on Sep 18, 2020

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Highest point



Best season icon (Hokkaido Wilds)

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Napoto Park (ナポートパーク) in Nakagawa Town in northern Hokkaido is a local hub for tourist information and outdoor activities, easily accessed from the Nakagawa Canoe Port (if arriving by canoe on the Teshio River). While most people will likely visit for the campground, bicycle rentals, canoe rentals or short active tours, there's also a nice hour-long loop walk nearby. The entire walk is on a quiet forestry road, cutting through the local woods next to the Yokomanai River (ヨコマナイ川). The trail is muddy in places, so a good pair of walking shoes is recommended. We finished off our walk with a blat around the town on rented bicycles from the information center at Napoto Park.

We visited this route on Aug 31, 2020


Route Map

Need to know details


This short loop walk is in Teshio-Nakagawa Town, on the banks of the impressive Teshio River in northern Hokkaido. It’s about a 4hr drive north from Sapporo City, or a three-day paddle from Shibetsu City on the Teshio River. The walk itself starts from the Nakagawa Information Center at Napoto Park, here. Napoto Park is a campground, and it’s next to the nice Aqua Rizuing Onsen Hotel. The campground is about 5 minutes walk from the Nakagawa Canoe Port (locati’59.3%22N+142%C2%B004’18.6%22E/@44.799818,142.0709284,306m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d44.7998178!4d142.0718419on) on the Teshio River.

General notes

If we’re being honest, this walk is not likely to be a destination in it’s own right – it’s a short walk on a quiet forestry road through bread-and-butter Hokkaido forest. However, if you’re staying at the campground as part of a Teshio River 6-day paddling trip, then this is a nice loop to stretch the legs. If you’re in the right season, you may enjoy picking a few haskaap from the town’s haskaap orchard on your way through, right next to the road.

  • Bicycle rental: This loop (as well as other river-side paths etc) can be done by bicycle. Visitors can rent bikes from the information center at the Napoto Park (location) for 700yen (weekdays) or 1,800yen (weekends) per day for a mountain bike. They also have multi-day bicycle rentals available. See details (in Japanese) on the Nakagawa Tourism website here. Send them an email (English is OK) to book:
  • Guided tours around Nakagawa: The friendly folk at Nakagawa Tourism are nature guides, available for canoe, bicycle, and hiking trips. See their website here.
Route Timing

At a brisk pace, this full loop will take just under an hour.


Start from the Napoto Park (location), and walk upstream next to the Toyomanai River. Cross the first bridge you come to and head up into the forest on the forestry road. There are a few forks in the road, but just keep taking the left forks, and you’ll complete the loop. This route is not signposted, but the road is easy to follow. At about half way through the route, you’ll cross the Toyomanai River again, and head back downstream to Napoto Park. About 500m before the hotel, there’s a large haskaap orchard on the right.


Public transport:

This route is not accessible by public transport. Napoto Park is about a 5 minute walk from the Nakagawa Canoe Port (here).

By car: 

There is plenty of parking at the Ponpira Aqua Rizuing Hotel parking area, here.



Physical maps
GSI Topo Map: Teshionakagawa (天塩中川) – map no. NL-54-11-16-3

NOTE: The GSI 1/25000 topo map(s) above can be purchased for 350yen each from Kinokuniya bookstore next to Sapporo Station or online (in Japanese).

route safety

Nakagawa locals frequently warned us about an increasing number of bear sightings in the hills around Nakagawa. It’s unlikely you’ll encounter a bear on this route, but it may pay to keep some basic precautions in mind.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Napoto Campground Loop

Onsen nearby

Ponpira Aqua Rizuing Hotel has an onsen hotspring, open for day visitors (ポンピラ・アクア・リズイング, location, 400yen). There’s no outdoor baths, but the large indoor bathing area has a few different types of baths, as well as a large sauna. There’s also an attached swimming pool (swimwear required).

Extra Resources
No extra English resources that we know of. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments.

Guide Options

If you’d like to hike this route and/or explore other areas of central Hokkaido with a local certified guide, then contact Jun Ishiguro. He’s a JMGA (Japan Mountain Guides Association) mountain guide on the board of directors of the Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA). As a senior figure in the Hokkaido guiding scene, and with extensive experience, he can tailor trips to your needs. See a full list of English-speaking Hokkaido Mountain Guides Association (HMGA) guides on the HMGA website here

Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

We were ‘stuck’ in Nakagawa for two days in the middle of a planned six-day canoe trip down the Teshio River. This was by design. Haidee had an online academic conference she had to go to, so we holed ourselves up in the Ponpira Aqua Rizuing Hotel for three nights. Big room. WIFI. Onsen on the second floor. Compared with the previous few nights in a tent, we were were living like royalty.

On our first morning walk in Nakagawa, we passed by the Napoto Park information center, and one of the staff (whom I’d met online at a local adventure tourism symposium) concurred that the loop along the Toyomanai River was a nice one.

“I run that loop quite often,” he said. “Just keep left at the junctions, and you’ll make the loop no problem.”

The trail was a bit muddier in places than we’d expected. I was in Keen sandals (with socks…the horror), and Haidee was in very porous bare-foot shoes. We both got a bit muddy, but it wasn’t a huge disaster – there was a shoe-cleaning area in the entrance of the hotel.

It was a nice walk. Not one I’d necessarily make the trip to Nakagawa for, just for that walk. But if you’re there, and you need to stretch the legs, it itches that scratch.

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Nakagawa Napoto Loop Walk Difficulty Rating





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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.