New Zealand Cycling and Hiking Adventures

Secrets of Hokkaido By Bike

Secrets of Hokkaido By Bike

Trip Highlights

  • Explore rural Hokkaido
  • Experience a variety of stunning scenery - farm lands, mountains, caldera lakes, volcanoes and coast
  • Soak in spectacular onsens (natural hot springs)
  • Stay in traditional family run inns (ryoken)
  • Savour diverse and unique Japanese cuisine
  • Shiretoko National Park

Trip Summary

Hokkaido is one of Japan's most idyllic cycling destinations; stunning coastlines, rolling mountain scenery, World Heritage National Parks and a rich cultural heritage that would fascinate the most discerning traveler. Team this with an exquisite cuisine, hot springs and onsens to soothe and soak in after a stunning days ride and you soon see why Japan is fast becoming one of the great cycling destinations of Asia. Our cycle adventure begins in Abashiri in Eastern Hokkaido, from where we follow cycle-friendly rural roads through a variety of landscapes; farm lands, mountains, caldera lakes, volcanoes and the wild coast. We travel and eat like the Japanese, preferring to stay at traditional inns and guesthouses where an appreciation of the culture and delightful food is most apparent. There is time to explore ancient fishing villages, temples and one of the highlights is cycling in Shiretoko National Park, a World Heritage Site, home to shika deer and brown bear.

Trip Grading

To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trip. The Secrets of Hokkaido by Bike is graded moderate. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 60 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. The tour is fully supported and if at any stage you feel like having a rest from cycling you will be able to ride in the support vehicle.


We will meet at 6pm (18:00hrs) at our hotel in Abashiri near the station. After a tour briefing & introduction we stroll the city of Abashiri and have a welcome dinner in town. Abashiri is the largest city in the east coast of Hokkaido and is famous for the winter attraction Ryuhyo, the huge ice that has drifted down from the Amur River. The Okhotsk Ryuhyo Museum, Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples, and Abashiri Prison Museum are other popular attractions in Abashiri. Accommodation: Hotel/Ensuite bathroom

Meals:  D

This morning we will be fitted for our bikes and receive a safety briefing. Once we are all equipped we head towards Notoro Misaki. Leaving the town we soon hit the Okhotsk Sea and ride along the coastline passing beautiful shrines and a fishing village. A short gradual hill towards the cape is good preparation for tomorrow's ride and from the Notoro Misaki lookout you are rewarded with a wonderful ocean panorama. We then have a pleasant downhill cycle towards Lake Notoro. We cycle the lakeside road around Lake Notoro, which then links onto the cycling path to Abashiri. Tonight we go out to our favourite restaurant and try out okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) prepared and cooked right in front of your eyes. Accommodation:Hotel/Ensuite bathroom Cycling distance: 50km Total ascent: 100m

Meals:  B,D

From Abashiri we head south to a beautiful caldera lake. The ride takes us via Bihoro Pass, which looks over the lake and surrounding mountains. At the top of the pass we have lunch at a rest house, it is then a pleasant ride downhill to the shore of Lake Kussharo-Ko. Lake Kussharo-Ko is the second largest lake in Hokkaido, and one of three lakes in the Akan National Park. The area is well known for its abundant hot springs, a result of the volcanic activity in the area. We have a brief stop at sunayu, a popular foot spa site on the shores of Lake Kussharo-Ko. Tonight’s accommodation is located on the lakeside of Kussharo-Ko. Accommodation: Ryokan/Shared bathroom Cycling distance: 85km Total ascent: 688m

Meals:  B,D

Today we continue cycling along Lake Kussharo-Ko to the active volcano Iozan, known as “Sulphur Mountain”. It erupted about 600 years ago, but is still steaming and reeks of sulphur! After a gradual but long uphill ride, we reach the lookout of Lake Mashu-Ko. Most of the time the lake is covered with mist, but if we are lucky we will be able to view the emerald-coloured lake surface. The rest of today's cycling is easy, downhill and flat into the farming area of Nakashibetsu. Accommodation: Ryokan/Shared bathroom Cycling distance: 88km Total ascent: 850m

Meals:  B,D

This morning we ride through farmlands, enjoying the changing scenery as we approach Shiretoko Peninsula, known as the last unexplored region of Japan. We cycle along the east coast of the peninsula, heading to the small fishing village of Rausu. Famous for its sea kelp production, it’s here that you can also enjoy a sumptuous meal of fresh seafood and king crabs. This afternoon, you have an option to ride (or drive) a further 24km along the coast to a secluded onsen Aidomari, offering a perfect seaside setting. Accommodation: Hotel/Ensuite bathroom Cycling distance: 65-113km Total ascent: 3-400m

Meals:  B,D

From Rausu, we cycle the Shiretoko Crossroad to the other side of the peninsula. It is approximately 16km to the top, a scenic ride with a spectacular view of Mt Rausu, the highest peak in the Shiretoko Mountains Range. We then head downhill and lunch at the Shiretoko Nature Centre with an optional short walk to a waterfall. It is also possible to do a side trip the Shiretoko 5 Lakes, it is a 9km round trip and highly recommended. We finish todays ride at the Iwaobetsu Onsen, beautiful natural rock pools surrounded by trees. Accommodation: Hotel/Shared bathroom Cycling distance: 32-41km Total ascent: 1000m

Meals:  B,D

We continue riding along the coast and enter into farmlands again. The long straight roads travel through potato farms, which will be in full bloom in early July. We have a brief stop at Koshimizu Gensei-Kaen (Koshimizu Wild Flower Reserve), where about 40 kinds of flowers bloom in spring and summer. We finish our ride back in Abashiri, this time our overnight accommodation is near the lake. Tonight we celebrate the end of our trip with a final dinner and outdoor onsen, and a spectacular view of Lake Abashiri. Accommodation: Hotel/Ensuite bathroom Cycling distance: 97km Total ascent: 357m

Meals:  B,D

Our concludes after breakfast with transport to the airport or station in the morning, if required.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners
  • 7 nights hotel/traditional inn accommodation on a twin share basis, some nights have shared bathroom facilities
  • Professional bilingual group leader & bike mechanic
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Hybrid rental bikes
  • Water bottle, water and snacks whilst cycling
  • Sightseeing and entry fees listed in itinerary

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Compulsory bike helmet
  • Optional activities, site-seeing and entry fees listed in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Additional transport required due to any emergency situation
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

The bicycles supplied on this tour are 21 speed, aluminium frame, hybrid bikes with v-brakes. The bikes come fitted with a water bottle holder – maximum capacity 750ml. If you would prefer a road bike, these can be hired for an additional YPY10,000 payable locally, please let us know in advance.

A bike-fit will be carried out at the start of the tour to make minor adjustments to the seat height and position of your handlebars. You are welcome to bring your own saddle and pedals which your guide can fit for you. A gel seat cover is also highly recommended and well worth the additional cost (available in cycling shops).

Basic tools will be carried aboard your support vehicle and your trip leader will assist in the event of any mechanical difficulties.

We regret that there are only a few smaller women's bicycles and these can be reserved for shorter group members, so long as we are advised of your height well in advance of your tour departure.

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:8 Days
Starting Point:Abashiri
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:JBB
Prices From:NZD$3795
Forced Single Supplement:NZD$400 
Single Supplement:NZD$400 

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Since 1992, Adventure South NZ has operated an exciting range of guided cycling, hiking and multi-activity holidays right across New Zealand – and the world - to suit all levels of fitness. We are part of the World Expeditions Travel Group.

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