What to expect
Five hundred miles and a world away from Tokyo’s urban sprawl, Hokkaido is Japan’s wild northern frontier. The resort of Niseko, in the shadow of Mount Yotei, will be your base for four or six nights. From your comfortable accommodation, you will explore the surrounding area on your choice of daily rides with varying difficulties and gradients. You’ll see a different side to Japan, cycling next to a caldera lake, around a dormant volcano or to the rugged coastline. The routes mainly follow quiet, minor roads through rolling farmland, bamboo forests and rural villages untouched by modern technologies.
On this flexible holiday, you can cycle the routes of your choice in the order you want. You’ll also have the option to take part in other activities like stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking, and relaxing in an onsen hot-spring. Of course, in Japan the food is very important and you’ll have ample opportunity to sample the local cuisine in quirky roadside cafes at lunchtime and in Niseko or Kutchan restaurants in the evening.
Hokkaido is a favourite with our sister company, Ski Safari’s customers in winter, but it also makes a fantastic summer destination. Discover for yourself why it was voted ‘Best in Asia’ by Lonely Planet in 2016.
If you would prefer a longer version of this tour, why not look at our 6 night Hokkaido from Niseko - Extended tour.
At a glance
- Flexible tour lengths and departure dates, with a choice of six routes.
- Volcanos, caldera lakes and steaming hot springs
- Two accommodation options in the Hirafu area of Niseko
- Varied cycling on quiet, smooth roads
Route 1 Lake Toya (Easy)
23 miles (37km)
We recommend cycling this route on your first day. Road transfer to Lake Toya, a caldera lake and part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Cycle a full loop around the banks of the lake. Pass Usu-zan an active volcano and if you wish, take a cable car to the top for some amazing photo opportunities. The lake is known for its clear water, swans and the island called ‘Nakadake’ meaning literally 'middle island'. Finish the day with a soak in one of the many onsens by the lakeside, before a transfer back to Niseko. Very strong cyclists can cycle the loop of the lake then cycle back to Niseko (total distance – 120km). You can also include a stand-up paddle boarding session today.
On this tour, you have a choice of 6 cycle routes. On days 2,3 and 4, choose three cycle routes, on your departure finish your tour in Niseko or cycle either route 5 or 6 then catch a train to Sapporo or Chitose
Route 2 Goshiki Loop (Moderate)
27 miles (44km)
Cycle a full loop around Mt. Annupuri, the mountain which makes up Niseko’s ski resort. You’ll follow a winding road up and over a pass through bamboo forests before reaching the steaming volcanic pools and hot spring at Goshiki Onsen. In the winter, this road is buried by up to 10 metres of snow.
Route 3 Mount Yotei Loop (Moderate)
32 miles (52km)
Mount Yotei is the 1,898m dormant volcano which dominates the Niseko skyline. Locally it’s known as ‘Ezo-Fuji’ for its resemblance to Mount Fuji. You’ll cycle around the flanks of the mountain, through rolling farmland between the villages of Kutchan, Kyugoku and Makkari. Each claims to have the best angle to view Mount Yotei, but you can judge for yourself. There are farm and food festivals through the summer in these villages, so you may well have the chance to stop off and sample some local produce.
Route 4 Iwanai (Challenging)
45 or 53 miles (73 or 85km)
This is a longer ride for stronger cyclists. It will cover some of the same ground as the Goshiki Loop (Route 1). You’ll leave Niseko via Hanazono and head into the hills, working your way north west to the Sea of Japan coast. Cruise downhill towards the port town of Iwanai with views of the Shakotan Peninsula, known for its turquoise blue sea and coastal scenery. For a shorter route (73km) loop back through the hills via the hot volcanic pools at Chisenupuri to Niseko. Or for a longer ride (85km) continue into Iwanai town to try one of the many sushi restaurants before heading back to Niseko.
Route 5 or 6 Otaru or Yoichi (Moderate)
43 or 37 miles (70 or 59km)
On your final day, check out of your hotel and finish the tour in Niseko. Or, for a supplement (see Extras below) you can chose one of the following routes for an extra day of cycling, to finish the tour in Otaru or Yoichi
Route 5: Otaru (Final day option): Leave Niseko via Kutchan with spectacular views back to Mount Yotei. Cross a low pass and ride through Akaigawa, surrounded by low hills and one of Japan’s 100 most beautiful villages. Ride north through vegetable and fruit growing areas to reach the sea where you’ll turn right to follow the rocky coast. The tour finishes in Otaru where you can visit the famous canal and glass factories. Leave your bikes and pick up your luggage from our representative, then take a train to Sapporo City or Chitose Airport.
Route 6: Yoichi (Final day option): Follow the same route through Kutchan and over the pass to Akaigawa as in Route 5. Reach the coast at Yoichi, gateway to the Shakotan Peninsula. The town is famous for its apples, wine and whisky. Finish off your cycle with a tour and tasting at the Nikka distillery which produces world-renowned single malt whisky. Leave your bikes and pick up your luggage from our representative, then take a train to Sapporo City or Chitose Airport.
Ki Niseko 4*
Ki Niseko is one of Niseko's premier hotels, located in Upper Hirafu Village. All rooms include complimentary WiFi, English satellite TV, luxury bathroom amenities and a jinbei (Japanese robe). A daily buffet breakfast at the main restaurant is included. The on-site spa with massage and treatments has both indoor and outdoor onsen, and there is a private bath available on reservation.
- Luxury 4* hotel with inclusive spa
- Great views from this modern, stylish hotel
- Close to village
- Breakfast in the main restaurant included, free Wi-Fi
Dates & Prices
Please choose your hotel, then click on a departure date for price options at a glance
- 4 nights accommodation in either a 4* or 3* hotel
- Board Basis: Bed and breakfast
- Maps and route information (GPS tracks available on request)
- Choice of up to four rides from 6 options, from easy to challenging
- Transfer and SUP session included if you choose route two
- Local contact number for assistance
- Flights and airport transfers
- Bike hire
- Cycle helmet
This tour is available with flexible durations between 3 and 7 nights. Please enquire for details
Bike Hire & Extras
Pannier, repair kit, spare inner tube, pump and lock all included at no extra cost when you hire a bike
Day 5 Cycling
Extra day of bike hire and luggage transfer to Otaru or Yoichi
Extra cycle day
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
Can I have a day off from cycling?
Yes! As you're based in one hotel, you can cycle as much or as little as you like. If you want a break from cycling, you can spend the day relaxing in an onsen, exploring Niseko or take a shuttle bus to visit nearby Kutchan.
What will the weather be like?
Hokkaido is known for its comfortable summers. The weather is generally warm but without the humidity of mainland Japan. July and August are the warmest months, when temperatures can reach the mid to high 20s. The evenings can be cool, so bring a warm layer. The temperature dips significantly through September.
Are credit cards widely accepted in Japan?
Most restaurants and shops in Japan still only accept cash, so remember to carry enough money with you. In Niseko, some businesses in Hirafu now accept cards, but you will need to use cash in most places. ATMs in 7-11 stores and Post Offices accept foreign bank cards. There is also an international ATM on the ground floor of the Shiki Niseko building in Hirafu.
Can you arrange my flights?
Flights are not included with our tours. However, we are more than happy to offer advice on long haul and regional flights, based on our extensive esperience of travel in Asia.