For 2009 and beyond we have changed our longest running itinerary to take into account the ever changing impact of road and tunnel building. The route has moved away from the Sapporo area to encompass the wild east of Hokkaido with its unique world heritage area, the Shiretoko Peninsula. We also now visit the superb caldera lakes and mountains of central Hokkaido, as well as keeping the mighty Daisetsusan National Park and the Furano area in the itinerary.
Day 1: Arrive Memanbetsu airport and meet group and leader approximately 12:00 midday.
Day 2: 70 km. Our first day's full ride takes us through coastal hinterland farming country and through small coastal villages as we head towards the Shiretoko Peninsula.
Day 3: 70 km. We start the day with a long climb! The support vehicle can be used but we encourage you to ride this hill to fully enjoy the beauty of this world heritage area. We cycle through coastal fishing communities with plenty of time to stop and explore the small harbors and beaches en route.
Day 4: 85 km. Continuing on down the coast we pass though yet more small villages where we can stop and relax by the sea or just enjoy the local cuisines.
Day 5: 50 km. The superb hot mix roads continue as we head inland through rich alluvial farm lands. Today is caldera lake day as we travel past several of these extinct volcanoes with their crystal clear mountain water during the course of the ride. Superb cycling.
Day 6: 100 km. We continue over the fertile northern reaches of the Tokachi Plain with its huge farms and backdrop of steep mountains. After lunch we enter the native forests around yet another superb mountain lake. Tonight's accommodation has both indoor and outdoor baths, the latter set amidst the forests and clear mountain streams.
Day 7: 102 km. We depart the mountains early and after a good climb of 8 km, we head through magnificent alpine forests and mountain lakes before a long descent back onto the edge of the Hidaka Mountain Range. Our accommodation tonight is by yet another mountain lake. Again the delights of thermal waters await you to soothe you after your day in the saddle.
Day 8: 55 km Today we head into the rural serenity of the central Hokkaido area under the imposing slopes of nearby mountains. En route there are some must see artisans, including the gallery of Japan's most famous landscape photographer, as well as several other artist's and photographer's galleries.
Day 9: 70 km Leaving early the next morning we continue over farming valleys to the base of the final climb of the tour, a 12 km gradual climb to the base of the highest mountain in Hokkaido. Here we stay amidst the towering Hokkaido Red Pine and the ghost like Silver Birch forests. Yet again the soothing waters of natural hot springs await us in this area.
Day 10: 45 km After a morning hike to the base of the mountain to see the wildflowers we have a relaxing two and a half hour cycle for our last mornings ride. This last ride is all downhill or flat and is a relaxing way to finish our “Tour de Hokkaido”. After checking into your Inn you can visit potters, glass blowers and the Ainu textile museum. That evening we will have a celebratory dinner and you can then go out and explore the night life of this northern Japanese town.
Day 11: Depart by charter bus for Chitose airport where we say goodbye to our Hokkaido adventure.
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