Hokkaido (Japan)

“I’ve figured out how we might cycle over those hills,” Dirk said over lunch one day. “A mix of gravel road and singletrack trail through the forest,” he said. This was music to my ears. Since moving to the Sapporo region five years ago, I’ve eyed up the range of low […]

A Sapporo bikepacking trip: The Fuchs Loop (Hokkaido, Japan)

My parents were over in Japan in early August, so Haidee and I planned a quick 7-day trip to eastern Hokkaido. The idea was fairly simple: the parents hire a campervan, Haidee and I travel on our folding bikes, and we all meet up at a set location each day. […]

Cycle-drive summer getaway in eastern Hokkaido, Japan

Mt. Shioya-Maryuama (629m) is an easy hike close to Sapporo City. Access is by bus or car, and makes for a nice hike through lowland bush with large expansive views over the Shakotan Peninsula at the top. For most hiking enthusiasts in Sapporo City (in Hokkaido, Japan), a popular summer […]

An easy hike up Mt. Shioya Maruyama near Sapporo, Japan

Aoba Park Picnic Grounds (Campground) is at the southern end of central Chitose City, only 5km from Sapporo International Airport. If you’re arriving to or leaving Hokkaido by air with a bike, it would be a nice spot to stay the night after or before a flight. Or, just for […]

Aoba Park Campground (Chitose City, Hokkaido, Japan)

In Japan, traveling on the train with a bicycle is both a blessing and a curse. These are the pros and cons, as I see them. Pros You don’t pay extra for taking a bike on the train in Japan. Even on the mighty shinkansen bullet trains. Nada. You can take […]

Traveling with a bike on the train in Japan

We were beaten by the hills and snow yesterday, but today we soldiered onward via the alternate route: the magnificent Japan Sea coast road. With a roaring tailwind to boot. One purpose of yesterday’s attempt at crossing the Kariba range was to avoid the Japan Sea coast north of Setana […]

Southwest Hokkaido Cycle Tour Day 4 – Setana to Kuromatsunai

Gravel roads, pushing bikes through snow, and tough decisions…with our cycle touring team now three – counting the addition of Dirk – we set off this morning for what became the most adventurous day of this Golden Week ramble in southern Hokkaido. The day started out easy enough though: a […]

Southwest Hokkaido Cycle Tour Day 3 – Taisei to the ...

This year’s Golden Week in Hokkaido was warm. The warmest it has been for 90 years, apparently. This played out in our cycling today; we might as well have been on our annual summer vacation cycle trip. The day started with a chilly morning, however. Multiple layers and a good […]

Southwest Hokkaido Cycle Tour Day 2 – Assabu to Taisei

Just like in 2013 and 2014, Haidee and I spent this year’s Golden Week holidays (a string of back-to-back public holidays in Japan) to explore a little bit more of Hokkaido, Japan’s large northern-most island. Unlike previous years however, in order to take in vistas further afield we jumped on […]

Southwest Hokkaido Cycle Tour Day 1 – Onuma Park to ...

Mt. Yoichi (余市岳, 1,488m) is the highest peak within the Sapporo City limits. Despite this, it is extremely accessible – it overlooks Kiroro Ski Resort, so take the ski lift to the resorts upper reaches, and you’re more or less there. But to truly experience Mt. Yoichi’s enchanting snowy wilderness, the only way to go is on foot (or ski) all the way from the resort buildings. The 6-hour return journey is long and steep in parts, but the rewards a more than worth it.

Hokkaido Back Country Skiing: Mt. Yoichi (Akai-kawa Route)

Mt. Fuppushi (風不死岳, 1,102m), around 60km due south of Sapporo City, is the oft-overlooked big brother to his shorter sibling Mt. Tarumae (樽前山 1,041m). But while everyone gapes at Mt. Tarumae's smoldering cork,  Mt. Fuppushi awaits the more intrepid climber, keen to tackle something steeper and more off the beaten track; it is recommended in most guide books only for experienced climbers in the winter.

Hokkaido Back Country Skiing: Mt. Fuppushi (Kitaone Route)

UPDATE (2015/03/12) – See my gravel road touring review of the Tern Verge S27h here: http://14degrees.org/tern-verge-s27h-folding-touring-bicycle-gravel-road-review/ ——————- I bought a Tern Verge S27h 20-inch wheeled folding touring bicycle the other day. This is an evolving first-impressions review blog post. Folding bikes with small wheels. They elicit all the usual questions: Don’t […]

2015 Tern Verge S27h Folding Bicycle: Initial Impressions Review

Following on from our mountain loop bike ride yesterday, Haidee and I headed to the sea today to explore the peninsula-like land-form encircling Muroran Harbor: one of Hokkaido’s largest and busiest harbors. I call this ride the Muroran Sky Ride, because the route follows a summit road along the ridge […]

Adventure cycling in Muroran City: The Muroran Sky Ride

“I never considered Muroran high on my list of places to live,” Haidee mused a few weeks back. She had just landed a job at Muroran Institute of Technology (MIT) as associate professor, and we were in the process of sorting out a place for her to live there. And […]

Hike ‘n biking in Muroran City: The MIT – Dan ...

Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of Sapporo City, it is easy to forget that just half a day’s bike ride away is one of Japan’s most pristine volcanic lakes. This past long weekend we combined a bike ride to the lake with a hike up the 1,030m active volcano, […]

Mt Tarumae Bike ‘n Hike

Route for today: https://goo.gl/maps/M6lbg There are some great cycle shops in Sapporo City, where Haidee and I live. Some are better than others, and usually it’s not the stuff they stock that makes them great. It’s the people working there. Nakamura Cycles is one such shop. Mr. Nakamura himself – the […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 13): Hidaka to Hobetsu

Today’s route (the most stressful of the trip): https://goo.gl/maps/6rVAb The campground at Arashiyama was an interesting one. Most campgrounds we had stayed in so far on this trip had lush grass to pitch the tent on. Arashiyama’s tent sites were dirt. Which means that the idyllic photo below somewhat belies the […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 11): From Arashiyama to Hidaka

We had two route options today in order to get to Honbetsu Town. A 110km down-to-the-coast-then-up-again route that would take us into the bustling city of Kushiro (https://goo.gl/maps/ejZrm). A more direct 80km route that would take us across two low ridges via forestry roads (marked on Google but not available […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 9): From Akan to Honbetsu

0km logged today. All spent in this general vicinity: https://goo.gl/maps/LTTV6 Essentially, the Akan Nature Recreation Campground (阿寒自然休養村野営場) is in a perfect location for spending a leisurely day. There is the International Akan Crane Center over the road, as well as a few road-side stalls selling local produce. And the icing on the […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 8): Rest day and eating ...

Route for the day: https://goo.gl/maps/0PBAl Another morning coffee shot. And a shot of coffee. I can’t really recommend the two-cup Bialetti mokapot for use on the MSR Whisperlite stove…too perilous a perch. The campground for last night, however, was great. Quiet, dark (many campgrounds in Hokkaido have the grounds’ lights on […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 7): From Lake Shirarutoro to ...