Trip Report

Shiretoko Loop Tour Day 1: Sapporo to Abashiri

Posted on Aug 1, 2012

Posted on Aug 1, 2012

Route Guide

The Shiretoko region in eastern Hokkaido is home to more grizzly bears per square kilometer than anywhere in Japan. It therefore seemed like the sensible thing to go there and cycle around for a couple of weeks, camping along the way. It was summer vacation here, after all.

Last updated Oct 14, 2018

Route Guide

So Haidee and I bundled up our bicycles onto the train in Sapporo, and got on an early train bound for Abashiri. About 400km east of Sapporo, on the northern sea coast. It was about 30 degrees Celsius when we left Sapporo. It was about 15 degrees in Abashiri when we arrived 5 hours later at noon. Our expectations of a hot and sweaty two week tour suddenly seemed extremely silly. Haidee was kicking herself for not bringing that extra merino wool longsleeve top.

A happy duo at Abashiri Station, Abashiri, Hokkaido, Japan

It was also raining. The idea for this trip was to relax. So we checked into a swanky hotel right in front of the train station (for a very reasonable 3,500yen each), and spent the first night in comfort.

Hotel room at the Toyoko Inn in Abashiri, Hokkaido, Japan

Abashiri Michi-no-eki (Abashiri, Hokkaido, Japan)

Route Map (by train)

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Shiretoko Loop Tour Day 1: Sapporo to Abashiri Difficulty Rating





Vertical Gain



Time ascending













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.