Another perk of the Shinotsu Park Camping Ground is a free morning soak in the New Shinotsu Golf Course onsen. Nothing quite like a hot spring soak in the morning… Post-soak and post-breakfast (porridge and apple for Haidee and I), we got on the road. Michel, our Czech rider, was […]

GW Cycle-Camping | Day 2: Shinotsu Park Camping Ground to ...

In the next series of posts, I’ll be recounting a cycle journey around the very north of Japan last summer (11th – 23rd August, 2013): Wakkanai → Rishiri Island → Rebun Island → Wakkanai → Cape Soya → Sapporo. All in Hokkaido, the northern-most island and prefecture in Japan. It had been a dream of […]

Japan Far North: Day 1 (Sapporo to Wakkanai by train)

Famous Wakkanai Port North Breakwater (Kita Bouhatei Dome) in Wakkanai, Japan
Our 2013 summer holiday cycle tour in Japan’s far north got off to a fairly relaxed start. We decided to spend the day after arriving in Wakkanai (Japan’s northern-most city) either sightseeing (Rob) or getting ahead on distance-learning work (Haidee). We both zoomed down the hill from the Wakkanai Forest […]

Japan Far North: Day 2 (In Wakkanai)

On our 2013 summer vacation cycle tour (August, 2013), we really took it easy for the first half, taking our time to enjoy Rishiri and Rebun Islands, off the north west coast of Hokkaido, Japan. On the second day in Rishiri Island, we jumped on and off the Rishiri Island […]

Japan Far North: Day 5 (Rishiri Island to Rebun Island)

We woke refreshed after a good sleep at the campground near Funadomari at the north of Rebun Island, off the northwest coast of Hokkaido, Japan. That said, sleep in a tent is not as refreshing as sleep in a real bed, and our groggy states as we hiked up the […]

Japan Far North: Day 6 (Rebun Island)

Mercifully, it was not raining when we woke in the morning. It was still windy though, coming from the south…the direction we wanted to travel. We generally started off in a sour-ish mood this morning; there was the headwind, the store close to the campground had a woefully scant selection […]

Japan Far North: Day 8 (Sarufutsu Town to Horonobe)

At last, a full day of sunshine. And some encouraging words of wisdom from the side of a supermarket. On a hot day like today, a watermelon shared between two was the perfect snack. As we were now traveling along the west coast of Hokkaido, on the main route connecting […]

Japan Far North: Day 9 (Horonobe Town to Shosanbetsu)

We knew we only had 40km to cycle today, so we took it easy in the morning. A short walk down the cliff to the seashore revealed a Shinto torii (shrine gateway). Just up the beach from the gate was an impossibly small shrine. Another scorcher of a day awaited […]

Japan Far North: Day 10 (Shosanbetsu to Tomamae)

A sleepy, rainy start to the day. Lunch well and truly made up for it though. I had mentioned yesterday the great lunches we were indulging in on this trip. This is what I was talking about. An awesome filling lunch for US$9 equivalent. Anyone who thinks traveling in Japan […]

Japan Far North: Day 11 (Tomamae to Mashike)

Our last two days on the road on this 2013 summer vacation cycling trip were a bit of a blur. The highway connecting Sapporo to Rumoi along the coast is a whirlwind of tunnels interspersed with little nuggets of coast. Roadside stalls lured us in with their delicious wares such […]

Japan Far North: Days 12 & 13 (Mashita to Hamanasu ...

In summer, Ishikari beach to the north of Sapporo, Japan, is a soft sun-tanners paradise. In -10 deg C mid-winter, it freezes solid. Which means one thing: cycling perfection. Upon Alex’s invitation, I went for a bike ride there today. Alex rides a fatbike. That means his tires are huge; […]

Mid-winter cycling on Ishikari Beach

Sometimes we forget how majestic the nature is here in Sapporo, so close to home. Within a 40 minute drive, a prepared individual can enjoy some impressive hills, made all the more beautiful by the annual winter snows. So I organized a short snowshoe trip for the local Hokkaido International […]

Snowshoeing near Hoheikyo Onsen (Jozankei, Hokkaido)

I spent most of today wondering why it had taken us three years to visit Takino Suzuran Park, on the outskirts of Sapporo. This gargantuan park, 395 hectares of it all, is a national government run park. In winter it is free to enter, and is a treasure trove of […]

Takino Suzuran Hillside Park in Winter (Sapporo, Japan)

Haidee’s sister Kylee was in Tokyo on business. Friday last week was a public holiday. Which is all to say the prerequisites for a quick long-weekend jaunt up to Sapporo were lined up for Kylee. Haidee and I decided to make it count for her. The mission was to try […]

Jozankei Nature Park in Winter (Day 1)

Last night, Haidee and I and Haidee’s sister stayed the night in a yurt at Jozankei Nature Park in the foothills of Sapporo City. Despite the interior of the yurt only being separated from the walls of snow surrounding it by a thin layer of canvas, it was a warm […]

Jozankei Nature Park in Winter (Day 2)

Note: I primarily skate for transport. Therefore, the review below is from a skate-for-transport perspective (see the comment from Moony Lupis below). ———- First impressions summary PROS: WheelShields – mudguards (fenders) for a longboard – are a game-changer. Commuting by skateboard on wet roads doesn’t mean road grime on your pants, shoes, and deck […]

First Impressions Review of WheelShields – Mudguards for a Longboard

Yesterday, we forgot to fill our camp stove fuel bottle with gasoline. This meant no warm porridge for breakfast this morning. Which meant a convenience store breakfast for us. For me this meant club sandwiches, a rice ball, yogurt, and coffee. But wait, I get ahead of myself. First we […]

Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 2: Yuni to ...

On the third day of our four-day cycle tour, we would face gravel forestry roads, deer carcasses,  missed turns, and the arrival of a third member to the tour. Apparently the overnight temperature dropped to -1 degrees Celsius last night. Goes to show that even early May in Hokkaido still […]

Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 3: Hobetsu ...

Japanese squat toilets, pandas, grassy farm roads, and cherry blossoms in full bloom. A great way to finish a long-weekend tour. Last night, we went to sleep with rain. This morning, we woke to glorious sunshine. And more or less immediately after wrenching ourselves out of our sleeping bags… it […]

Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 4: Abira Campground ...

It seems somewhat paradoxical that I would start a cycle-across-Hokkaido blog mini-series with the title “a train from Sapporo to Nemuro.” But that is the start of our two-week meander by bicycle across the island, from Nemuro to Sapporo; we had to get to Nemuro somehow. And that somehow was […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 1): A train from Sapporo ...