Hokkaido Shiretoko – moderate

Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan. With its vast land space and relatively cool and dry weather during summer, Hokkaido is an ideal playground for cyclists. On this 8-days-7-nights trip, we explore Hokkaido’s eastern parts, considered some of the island’s most beautiful areas for their remoteness and untouched wilderness. Most of our rides are in Akan national park and Shiretoko national park, which has also been registered with UNESCO’s list of world natural heritage sites. You will be riding on undulating hills through rustic pastures and fields, pristine caldera lakes, and magnificent coastlines. Hokkaido is also home to great food and onsens (natural hot spring baths). Accommodations are varied from casual western-style hotels and charming family-run pensions to deluxe Japanese- and Western-style hotels. Most of our inns have excellent onsens. Some of the accommodations do not have private baths in guest rooms.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 : Cape Notoro (37km)

Meet at Memanbetsu Airport in mid-day. After a short transfer from the Memanbetsu Airport to our hotel in Abashiri, we begin a warm-up ride on a cycling path that leads onto quiet roads to Cape Notoro. From the cape, you can see the massive Sea of Okhotsk spreading out around you and the majestic Shiretoko Mountain Range. Tonight, we stay at a casual western-style hotel. We plan to have dinner at an Izakaya in Abashiri. (Dinner included)

Day 2 :Bihoro and Lake Kussharo (83km)

In the morning, we leave Abashiri and bike on flat roads through fields and pastures. After lunch, we take on an ascent to Bihoro Pass. From the Pass, you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the surroundings, including Lake Kussharo. We then descend towards Lake Kussharo and ride through quiet forested roads by the lake. Our inn for the next two days is a cozy family-run pension which serves excellent meals. The inn does not have private en suite baths in guest rooms but has an excellent shared onsen (natural hot spring) bath. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 3 : Lake Kussharo and Lake Mashu (67km)

Today we ride around two beautiful caldera lakes in the area – Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo. Our route takes us through dense forest and then to a 7-kilometer ascent to observation points, from which you can view the Lake Mashu on clear days. We then descend to the town of Teshikaga for lunch. In the afternoon, we enjoy relaxing rides along Lake Kussharo. We stop by Sunayu, where hot spring water gushes out through the sand on the shore. We also visit the Kawayu Eco Museum and Mt. Io, which has over 1,500 large and small volcanic craters. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 4 : Nakashibetsu (76km)

We bike to Nakashibetsu, one of the dairy farming centers in Japan. We ride past many cows grazing in the pastures. Our lunch stop is at a ranch with a nice restaurant and a gallery with exhibits of local artists' woodblock printing works. In the afternoon, we visit Kaiyodai observatory, which stands on a hill offering a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding farmlands and the city of Nakashibetsu. Today we stay at a casual western-style hotel. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 5 : Rausu (67km)

In the morning, we continue pedaling through peaceful pastures. We soon reach the coastline and then ride along the east coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula to Rausu, enjoying the Nemuro Strait and Kunashiri Island views. Rausu, our destination today, is a major fishing port in Shiretoko. After we check-in at our hotel, you can relax in the onsen or stroll on a nice footpath near the hotel. We stay in a Japanese-style hotel and feast on freshly caught fish from the Rausu port. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 6 : Shiretoko (47km)

Today we ride across the Shiretoko Peninsula to its west coast via Shiretoko Pass. Shiretoko Peninsula has seen little development and boasts untouched wilderness and rich wildlife. We start the day with a 14km climb to the pass. It is a long but enjoyable hill climb with spectacular views of nearby Mt. Rausu. After a smooth descent and lunch, we bike to the Shiretoko Goko (Shiretoko’s five lakes), where we stroll around on wooden walkways. Our destination today is Utoro, which is situated on the west coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula. We stay at a cozy western-style hotel. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 7 : Okhotsk Coastline (85km)

Today is the last day of cycling during the trip. Our route follows the coastline of the Sea of Okhotsk, offering magnificent views of the ocean and Shiretoko Mountain Range. We pedal through fields and pastures and past Lake Tofutsu, which is filled with irises during summer. We stop by Koshimizu Gensei-kaen (wildflower preserve), where about 40 kinds of flowers bloom in spring and summer. Before reaching Abashiri, we head inland onto “Kando-no-Michi” (heart-moving road) that features a diversity of rural scenery. Tonight we retreat in a deluxe Japanese-style hotel and celebrate our successful rides with farewell dinner and onsen. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 8 : Departure

Following breakfast, we say goodbye. Our guide will escort you to Memanbetsu Airport, where you can catch an early afternoon flight to Shin-Chitose Airport or another destination. (Breakfast included)