UPDATE – Use this letter to request a bike box (PDF file): http://www.14degrees.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bike_box_request_japanese.pdf
When cycle tourists enter or leave Hokkaido, they will often fly in or out of New Chitose Airport (Sapporo Airport). This means that many a cycle tourist finds themselves needing a bike box in Chitose City in order to pack their bike up before checking it in as luggage. This also means that I occasionally I get questions from cyclists and cycle tourists about where they might find bike boxes in Chitose.
In order to not repeat myself too much, below is a list of bike shops that periodically have old bike boxes lying around that they will be happy to give to cyclists. Generally, expect bike boxes that measure around 130cm in length, 80cm in height, and 30-40cm in width. Larger boxes are difficult to find in Chitose, so you may need to dismantle your bike a little more than usual.
Update (2016/06/03): Nanba Cycles (https://goo.gl/maps/RHGthZSD97J2) is the only shop on this list that makes a point of holding onto a few boxes for the off-chance that departing cyclists might need them. I recommend visiting them first. All the rest of the shops generally dispose of the boxes pretty soon after getting them in.
Cycle Shops in Chitose
- Nanba Cycles – This bike store always has a few bike boxes stored out back to give to cyclists who need them. Lovely owners! Location: https://goo.gl/maps/RHGthZSD97J2
- Cycle Base Asahi (large bike store) – http://bit.ly/1SnMqyZ
- Homac Fuji (large hardware/homeware store with bikes) – http://bit.ly/1VoNYyK
- Kyosei Bike Shop – http://bit.ly/1WgCyfr
- Sato Cycle – http://bit.ly/1T2yeLF
- Hori Cycles – http://bit.ly/1r3le1N
- Yamamoto Cycle Shop – http://bit.ly/1SxKkPk
- Minato Cycles – http://bit.ly/1U89F4Y
P.S., I wish that the featured image above was a bike store in Chitose. Alas, it is not. It is the drool-worthy Blue Lug Cycle Store in Tokyo.
NOTE: Just as an aside, if you’re looking for repairs or parts for a typical cycle touring bicycle, none of these bike shops in Chitose really cater to anything higher than low- to mid-range bicycles. Head to one of the following bike stores in Sapporo for higher-end/common touring bicycle parts and service.
Cycle Shops in Sapporo catering to cycle tourists
- Shugakuso Outdoor Store (the Shiroishi Store, not the one next to Hokkaido University) – Arguably the best-stocked of any bike store in Sapporo – the big-name brands plus Surly, Brompton, etc. Google Maps location here.
- Sam’s Bike (their blog here) – This is the smallest of the three bike shops I recommend in Sapporo, but the staff are super friendly, intelligent, and open-minded. More than a few long-haul cycle travelers (including Sarah Outen with her belt-drive Rohloff Santos bike) have had their bikes serviced here. While they can order in pretty much anything, they may have more limited parts on hand than the folks at Shugakuso. They are, however, arguably the best shop for wheel-building in Sapporo. They are my first stop for any serious work I need done on my bike. Google Maps location here./li>
- Minami-kaze Bike Shop – If you’re on a folding bike, and need parts or service, the effervescent Mr. Arimori from this tiny hole-in-the-wall shop will no doubt be able to help you out. Google Maps location here.
- Cycle Shop ONO – Kinda old-school and catering to either racing bikes or mountain bikes (or the ubiquitous shopping-basket bikes), but do have an OK selection of parts. Google Maps location here.
- Nakamura Cycles – These guys have a fairly good range of big brand high-end bikes (road and mountain) and parts. They also offer the best rental bikes in Sapporo, for around 3,250yen a day (link). In summer the rental bikes are booked out most days, so getting a person who speaks Japanese to help you book in advance is recommended. Google Maps link here.