After an unusually hectic July, August and September, Haidee and I finally managed to head off on our annual two-week cycling vacation. Being the last two weeks of September, days were already getting short, and the evenings and mornings were getting a chill on them. After a summer of more […]

Southern Hokkaido Cycle Tour Day 1 – Oshamanbe to Setana

I’ve finally gotten around to compiling together all the cycle trips we’ve done over the last few years in Hokkaido. There are quite a few, and they all focus on a different part of this amazing island we live on. I hope this page can be a solid resource for […]

A Hokkaido Cycle Touring Resource

Easily accessible by Japan Rail train from Sapporo, this 350km Shiretoko loop tour of Hokkaido’s eastern reaches is world-class. World Heritage Site level, in fact. Enjoy the wide open coastal route from Abashiri to the Shiretoko Peninsula (World Heritage Site), before the grunt over the pass. Return via Lake Kussharo. […]

Shiretoko Cycle Touring (Hokkaido, Japan)

Cool oak groves. Quiet roads. Quirky farmlets and friendly horses. And Hokkaido’s second oldest natural hot springs to top it all off. This 40km round trip from Chitose Station southwest into Abira Town is a delightful day ride that takes in some great sights in the region. Rent a bike […]

Horses and Forgotten Valley Ride (Chitose City, Japan)

Aomori Prefecture. The name Aomori (青森) means ‘green forest’. Situated at the northern-most tip of Japan’s largest island of Honshu, it is well off the beaten track. But it lives up to its name. Vast swaths of untouched forest, teeming with wildlife. Lakes, ocean coast, and wild rivers. It is […]

Aomori Prefecture Cycle Touring (Japan) – A 7-day Loop

The last two days of our 2016 Golden Week cycle tour of Aomori Prefecture saw us complete the circuit around Aomori Prefecture, back to the port city of Hachinohe. They also saw us catch the Silver Ferry back to Hokkaido, to complete a trip well worth taking. After a very […]

Aomori Cycle Touring Days 8 and 9 – Lake Ogawara ...

Shimokita Peninsula at the northern-most tip of Honshu in Japan has one of the best gravel roads I’ve ridden in Japan. Today we crossed over the Sai Village to Yagen Onsen mountain pass road, and it was pure bliss. Raining, but beautiful. Over a day the most I’ve ever climbed […]

Aomori Cycle Touring Day 6 – Fukuura to Yatate Onsen ...

Today’s route included the transport ferry cum dolphin tour, aka the Mutsu Bay Ferry. We saw at least three pods of the beautiful creatures on the 1 hour ferry ride. The afternoon was a stark contrast – hills and an unexpected early ending to the day in a small fishing […]

Aomori Cycle Touring Day 5 – Odaiba Auto Camp to ...

Japan coastal cycling at it’s finest today. A short-ish 60km, easy day as we meandered along the Sotogahama coast. Highlight for Rob was an amazing raw fish lunch at prices to make city-dwellers weep. Camping in luxury at the picturesque Odaiba Auto Camp. With the promise of a shorter day […]

Aomori Cycle Touring Day 4 – Aomori Prefectural Park to ...

A baptism by fire today…headwinds, hills, and a long day in the saddle. We were rewarded, however, by the beautiful Oirase Gorge – 10km of beautiful forest and endless waterfalls. If you’re ever looking for a place to stay in Hachinohe City (the apocalyptic mess of a port-town) then I […]

Aomori Cycle Touring Day 2 – Hachinohe to Lake Towadako

Haidee and I have lived in Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan, for over five years now. For at least three of those years, we’ve made sure to get away during ‘Golden Week’ for a short cycle tour. Golden Week Tour 2013 – A door-to-door tour around the Ishikari […]

Aomori Cycle Touring Day 1 – Hokkaido to Aomori by ...

UPDATE – Use this letter to request a bike box (PDF file): 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 […]

A list of bicycle shops in Chitose City (Hokkaido, Japan)

Mt. Tokushubetsu – the mountain with the impossibly complex Japanese characters (徳舜瞥山) – is one of those classic Hokkaido backcountry hills. Similar to Mt. Shakotan further northeast, it makes for a fairly straight-forward half-day spring trip – one that beginners and experienced skiers will enjoy. Rick, Jeff and I headed […]

Hokkaido Ski Touring: Mt. Tokushunbetsu (1,309m) half-day spring ski tour

Winter is slowly but surely releasing its grip here in Hokkaido. In the low-lying areas, such as where we are in Chitose City, there is no snow left. The only remnants are softer-than-usual dirt roads, still settling down after the deep-freeze. So Haidee and I made the most of a […]

Eastern reaches of Chitose City by bicycle (Hokkaido, Japan)

Mt. Maetokachi (前十勝岳, 1,790m) is another classic staple for backcountry skiing in the Tokachi Ranges. Its broad, plank-like north-western face is a veritable playground of wide gullies and snow-fields. Here, I outline the classic Kabawara Ridge route, which is the most-traveled route on the mountain for backcountry skiing. Like Mt. Sandan, the route is accessed from the hopelessly amazing Hakuginso Lodge - a mountain lodge boasting to be the "mecca of powder" with everything you could possibly want: onsen hotsprings, a large communal kitchen, a large basement drying room, friendly staff, and only 2,750yen a night.

Mt. Maetokachi Kabawara Ridge backcountry ski touring (Hokkaido, Japan)

Mt. Sandan (三段山, 1,748m) is a classic staple for backcountry skiing in the Tokachi Ranges, and is renowned for its powder snow. The route starts and ends on an old ski area, so even the lower reaches on the downhill allow for fun tree-free runs. The route is accessed from the hopelessly amazing Hakuginso Lodge - a mountain lodge boasting to be the "mecca of powder" with everything you could possibly want: onsen hotsprings, a large communal kitchen, a large basement drying room, friendly staff, and only 2,750yen a night. On a clear day you'll be able to see across to the Furano Plains and Mashike Ranges.

Hokkaido Ski Touring: Mt. Sandan-yama and Hakuginso Lodge (Tokachi region)

The Yama-no-ie Hut, tucked below Mt. Okuteine on the outer reaches of Sapporo City, is everything you can expect from a mountain hut managed by largely ambivalent Japanese university students: dingy, messy, and a glowing red-hot potbelly stove kept that way by the intrepid first-year students who hauled the coal […]

Hokkaido Ski Touring: Mt. Okuteine, Yama-no-ie Hut and Mt. Tsuge ...

Since moving to Hokkaido here in northern Japan, I’ve been getting more and more into enjoying the winter backcountry hills here. So, I finally got around to attending a two-day avalanche awareness course, run by Whiteroom Tours in Niseko. Overall it was an extremely professional, thorough course with an instructor […]

Whiteroom Tours Avalanche Awareness Course (Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan)

Click here if you can’t see the video embedded above: Two years ago now, I was lucky enough to be able to take part in some University of Oxford fieldwork research here in Hokkaido, northern Japan. On this particular occasion, we were visiting Bikuni Shrine in Shakotan Village, for […]

University of Oxford fieldwork in Shakotan Village, Hokkaido, Japan