Wakkanai to Sapporo

kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#1
Wakkanai to Sapporo

Hi folks. I’m planning to ride from Wakkanai to Sapporo for a week during Silver Week. As this is my first touring trip and first time taking my bike outside Kanto, I’m pretty unsure what to expect. Has anyone done this route before?

Here are the details:

The aim of the trip is mostly to do some sightseeing and explore Hokkaido area. According to some rough estimations, it’s about 400km from Wakkanai to Sapporo if I go inland alongside National Route 40.

The plan is to take my road bike and pack as light as possible, as in a backpack with a t-shirt, charger, phone, sandals etc. Currently toying with the idea of taking a tent + sleeping bag but ideally, I’d like to pack as light as possible especially since my bike is already on the heavy side.

Shipping my bike from Tochigi to Wakkanai:

I’ve seen people mention Seino (http://www.seino.co.jp/seino/service/domestic/cycling/) here on TCC and other places. For people who have used it, how was it? I read all you need is a rinko bag but I’m paranoid about arriving in Wakkanai to see the derailleur is bent out of shape.

Maps/Garmin

I don’t have a Garmin/dedicated GPS device. Is it possible to rent one? Currently planning to save for a 510 but they’re pretty damn expensive…
 

jdd

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#2
It's been ages, and I was driving it, but I remember lots of empty space there. Very few restaurants. Even the camp grounds were empty, and seemed not to be around stores where you could buy food for dinner/breakfast while camping. Until you get to Asahikawa, I'd try to google as much lodging as possible, just to be sure what's out there and what's not.
 
Aug 27, 2012
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#3
I would agree. I did the journey in reverse (finishing at Wakkanai) as part of a week long fly fishing trip a couple of years ago (again not on bike). Up near Wakkanai its fairly open countryside and as you head south becomes farmland that is often overgrown and no longer used (newly built house on the front corners of recently unfarmed small holdings and rusting farm machinery stuck in my mind). South of Asahikawa a lot more going on.
Don't let that put you off - beautiful place and plenty of changing scenery. When I was there it was April and the evenings were quite cold with warm days
 

kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#4
Thanks for the replies guys. I've been doing some searching and it looks like Nayoro has a few hostel options. Unfortunately it's a whopping 170km from Wakkanai so if I were to choose that as my first stop, I'd have to go pretty hard.

Did you guys go inland or along the coast? From the blogs I've been reading it seems like a 50/50 split...although I'm guessing inland would be nicer.
 

George5

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Oct 16, 2014
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#5
I did the reverse. Otaru to Wakkanai. Two days on a fully loaded touring bike (coastal road,ridiculously flat). I took a tent and sleeping bag but it was late October. Sleeping anywhere just off the main road was fine and free. If you aren't carrying a heap of gear 170kms a day is no chore. How will you carry your stuff? For a week? How about a ferry from Oarai to Tomokaimae, (riding from there north to Wakkanai and then a quick blast down to Sapporo and home)? The money you save on flights and shipping will pretty much pay for your Garmin, but I traveled all of Hokkaido with one guide book with maps. There aren't that many roads. Google maps will do the trick.
 

kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#6
Cheers for the info @George5.

I plan on just taking a backpack with the bare essentials (spare t-shirt, shorts, flip-flops, map, toothbrush etc.) and picking up what I need from convenience stores. I was also planning to stay at hostels on the cheap so I have access to a bed/shower, although now that you mention it taking my sleeping bag and tent would be better to save on the cash and I can hit up sento/onsens if need be. I think you've seen a picture of my bike, right? (Steel frame, Eddy Mercx) I'm not sure panniers or a rack is a feasible option.

Oarai to Tomokaimai looks like a good option! Although I'd have to take the bus from Sapporo to Wakkanai which apparently takes 6 hours and cost 6,000 yen. Unless you mean ride up to Wakkanai and get the bus/train back to Sapporo?

Also, how did you get your bike back home?
 

George5

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Oct 16, 2014
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#7
Oarai to Tomokaimai looks like a good option! Although I'd have to take the bus from Sapporo to Wakkanai which apparently takes 6 hours and cost 6,000 yen. Unless you mean ride up to Wakkanai and get the bus/train back to Sapporo?
No I meant ride up and ride back. Seriously from Wakkanai to Sapporo is two days of nearly all flat riding which leaves you five days to do about 500kms up. Do a map my ride and check out the elevations. At most was a few short dips down to bridges to cross rivers and the rest is FLAAAAT. I took a ferry from Tomokomae to Sendai and rode back from there to Saitama via Yamagata and Nigata. Bike on the ferry is roll on roll off. No need to disassemble.

check out this route 774kms. https://www.google.co.jp/maps/dir/T...9d4687bad5!2m2!1d141.3543763!2d43.0620958!3e0
 

kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#8
No I meant ride up and ride back. Seriously from Wakkanai to Sapporo is two days of nearly all flat riding which leaves you five days to do about 500kms up. Do a map my ride and check out the elevations. At most was a few short dips down to bridges to cross rivers and the rest is FLAAAAT. I took a ferry from Tomokomae to Sendai and rode back from there to Saitama via Yamagata and Nigata. Bike on the ferry is roll on roll off. No need to disassemble.

check out this route 774kms.
700km?!?! I'll be honest, while I'm pretty excited to try that out, part of me thinks I'm in way over my head, especially since I've only ever done 100km. Tomokomai to Wakkanai in 5 days with 2 days from Wakkanai to Sapporo then a flight from Sapporo to Tokyo and shipping my bike from Sapporo to Tochigi?
 
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George5

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Oct 16, 2014
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#9
You have a month to start riding in. Just try two days back to back at 100kms. you wont die and may even enjoy it. if you don't just shorten your daily distance and change your plan.
 
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kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#10
Cheers for that @George5. 700km just threw me off a bit, ha.

So I booked the ferry from Oarai to Tomakomai and then booked a flight from Sapporo to Tokyo. I'll use SEINO to ship my bike from Sapporo to home.

Now that's out of the way, I was thinking of actually changing up my route a bit. Start from Tomakomai and cycle to Sapporo for a night and then head up to Furano and Biei to check out the scenery. After that, head east where there seems to be alot more scenery. Has anyone got any experience/rode east or have any recommended routes for a scenery lover?
 

George5

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#11
I like your plan. I did the whole East coast. Obihiro around Cape Misaki and back up to Tomokomae is pretty scenic. The area around Hidaka has a lot of horse farms and is quite nice. Depends if you are camping or doing hotels etc, Check out riders houses which although aimed at motorcyclists are good cheap accommodation options as well.
http://www.bike-ryoko.com/rider-house.html
 
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Tanki

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#12
I like your plan. I did the whole East coast. Obihiro around Cape Misaki and back up to Tomokomae is pretty scenic. The area around Hidaka has a lot of horse farms and is quite nice. Depends if you are camping or doing hotels etc, Check out riders houses which although aimed at motorcyclists are good cheap accommodation options as well.
http://www.bike-ryoko.com/rider-house.html
I have done the same a couple of times. There is a hostel in Erimo Misaki, or in a coastal town about half way between there and Tomokomae depending on your ferry arrival times. Once all the port traffic out of Tomokomae has turned inland the riding is very pleasant.
The lakes in the Kushiro wetlands are worth a look, and Shiritoko peninsula if you have got the legs.
I would advise you to take a good set of lights. One of my Hokkaido road trip regrets was only having a city front light which stopped me from riding all through the night along a beautiful moonlit coastal road.
If you go inland there can be some very long tunnels.
@George5 in the link you posted isn't that the main drag inland from Tomokomae, which is horrendous for cycling?
 

George5

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#13
@George5 in the link you posted isn't that the main drag inland from Tomokomae, which is horrendous for cycling?
It is the main drag but in terms of getting from A to B a straight line is the fastest and I found it not bad compared to what was going on in the Kanto. I found route 12 very easy to ride. But yes my google map route has taken the expressway. I think it's illegal to cycle:eek:.
 

kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#14
Thanks for the comments guys. Because of my lack of planning and a semi-broken computer, most hostels/hotels around the Furano/Asahikawa/Biei area seem full during the bulk of Silver Week (21-23rd).

The plan now is to head up to Sapporo after getting into Tomakomai at 13:30 and spend the night there. The next day it's westbound to Otaru and Yoichi and then down south to Lake Toya and evenutally Hakodate. Everything depends on getting accomodation as I plan to ride ultra-light (which is looking promising thanks to the rider's house link you posted @George5)

My only qualms with heading east now are finding accomodation; the area looks very rural with not many majors cities within 100km of each other. I'm gonna do some planning tonight and tomorrow and finalise a route for Thursday as Silver Week is approaching. :eek:
 
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jdd

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#15
I'm not sure what you mean by "east", and again, it's been a while since I've been there, but convenience stores can be pretty few and far between.

If I were doing it, I'd try to keep train lines/stations/schedules in mind as I rode off in one direction or another.
 

kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#16
Sorry, guess I should have been more specific.

By east, I mean arriving in Tomakomai and cycling along the coastline with a rest stop and then onto Erimo as @Tanki suggested and then heading up to Obihiro before heading west towards Sapporo.

By west, I would cycle down to Noboribetsu for some onsen action before heading to Lake Toya and heading inland via Nisekoi to Yoichi, Otaru and finally Sapporo. It's a real shame there isn't a ferry (or at least I can't find one) from Muroran to Hakodate.
 

jdd

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#17
Erimo is down there on the edge of nowhere, and there's not much there. It is a pretty place, and maybe also one of the windiest in Japan (so may the wind be at your back).

If you leave there for Obihiro, on starting make sure you've eaten as well as you can and are carrying something--there's not much in between.
 
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kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#18
Cheers for that @jdd. I just checked out Erimo and it looks quite pretty indeed! Unfortunately though, Silver Week and me not taking a tent has ruled out quite of lot of the more rural options, including the title's original route from Wakkanai.

So here's the current (final?) plan:

--Arrive in Tomakomai at 1:30pm
--Cycle to Sapporo and stay overnight there
--Catch a bus to Hakodate the next day and begin the journey from there. (Not sure if I can take my bike on the bus, but it doesn't say you can't here.)
--From Hakodate, it's mostly along route 5 via Yakumo and Lake Toya (which looks absolutely stunning!)
 

George5

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#19
Why not take a train to Hakkodate the same day you arrive and save a day for cycling? No worries with the bike on the train either.
 

kyoazu

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Nov 5, 2014
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#20
I was planning to meet up with a friend in Sapporo that evening who won't be around when I return back in Sapporo on the 26th. :(