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August 30th, 2011 | categorizilation: all categories,Cycle Paths,Hokkaido (Japan),Post-2008,Sapporo

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Length: 19.7km (100% smooth asphalt)
Start: Sapporo Communication Park (SORA) - Sapporo City, Shiroishi-ku, Higashi Sapporo 6-jo 1-chome
End: Kita-Hiroshima JR Train Station - Kitahiroshima City, Chuou 6-chome
Other names: Elfin Road (Kitahiroshima section),  Hinatadamari Road (Atsubetu-ku section), Sapporo-Eniwa Cycling Road (extension is planned).
Winter usage: The Sapporo City section (13.2km) is cleared of snow in winter, so can be cycled all year round. The Kitahiroshima section (6.5km) is not cleared in winter, and is only passable with nordic skis or snowshoes.
Japanese info: Link 1, Link 2.

This is one of my favourite cycling paths in the Sapporo area. It follows the route of the decommissioned (1973) Chitose Line of the Japan Public Railway, so has those classic gentle gradients one would expect from an old train line. The section from the beginning at the Sapporo Communication Park, to the border with Kitahiroshima can be quite busy, especially in the mornings, with middle and high school students using the path to walk to school.

Shiroishi Cycling Road, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

 The path is, however, impressively wide at all points, and throughout the Sapporo City portion, there are only a few road crossings that are not furnished with tunnels or bridges. For the most part, the cycle road goes over or under roads.

Shiroishi Cycling Road, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan   A bridge on the Shiroishi Cycling Road, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

For those cyclists who want to ‘get away from it all’, the Shiroishi Cycling Road will not truly impress until the Kitahiroshima City border, where the urban sprawl ends, and lush forest (in summer and autumn) begins. Here, the cycling road really shines.

Shiroishi Cycling Road, Kitahiroshima, Hokkaido, Japan

There is a toilet just after the Kitahiroshima border; a clean bio-toilet with solar panels. There are also toilets at the top of the climb. That is to say, coming from the Sapporo side, the cycling road is a gentle climb all the way to the top of a ‘pass’ on the Kitahiroshima side (here). That said, the Kitahiroshima section of the cycling road has to be seen to be believed. The road is wiiiiide. And smoooooth.

On the Shiroishi/Elfin Cycling Road between Kitahiroshima and Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

The cycle road ends at the Kitahiroshima JR Station, where you can either turn round and cycle back to Sapporo, or bundle bikes into bike bags and take the train back to Sapporo station.

Bicycles on the train in Sapporo, Japan Bicycles on the train in Sapporo, Japan

Bicycles on the train in Sapporo, Japan

There are plans afoot to extend the cycle road all the way to Eniwa. This would be fantastic, as it would make an almost perfect cycling road loop, connecting the Shikotsu-Chitose cycling road, Sapporo-Shikotsu cycling road, Toyohira River cycling road, and Shiroishi Cycling road. This would be an almost 150km circular route, easily done in two days with a nice camping stop at the scenic Lake Shikotsu.

Shiroishi Cycling Road Route Map

View Map on Google Maps

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