Taking bicycles on the train in Japan is fairly easy, so long as you come prepared. By prepared, I mean some way of covering and/or wrapping your bicycle. For Haidee and I, we have perfectly-sized bicycle bags that fit our folded bicycles. For Dirk and his 29er mountain bike, I lent him my homemade stretchy mesh ‘bag’, which happily engulfs a bike of that size. Trains do not charge any extra for bicycles, and there are no dedicated ‘bicycle-friendly’ carriages. Just pick your entrance and go for it.
Note: There was no station master at the Kuromatsunai Station…that’s why we were able to sneakily roll our bikes onto the platform. Usually bikes need to be packed before being taken onto the platform.
We were catching the train from the super sleepy Kuromatsunai station. We had arrived 30 minutes early, so enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun on the platform.
Even once we were on the train (a quaint two-carriage one-driver train), we had it to ourselves.
We had chosen a route that would take us through the mountains via Niseko and Otaru towards Sapporo. This is always a nice route to take by train; the trains are uncrowded, and the scenery is spectacular.
We arrived back in Chitose around 1pm, enough time to eat lunch out, and get all our equipment washed and packed away before getting back to work the next day.
All in all, an awesome few days on the bikes, and well worth the extra effort of getting there and away by train.
Today’s Route (by train)
NOTE: The route map below may show the Hakodate-Line selected…we took the more northern-looping route in grey, via Niseko, Otaru, and Sapporo.