Unpacking bikes in hotel room
Ready to ride (in the rain)
Piaw finds a dead-end road with fence in first 20 minutes. We had been warned about his routing. The next day, while riding on a dirt road through Noporro forest park, we got to climb over a log.
Sapporo at night
Breakfast at the hostel
Botanical gardens, Sapporo
Bike parking at government buildings, Sapporo. Lots and lots of bike riders in Japan, almost exclusively on this style of city bike. They have lots of sidewalks for bikes to ride on (which are too rough if you are going fast, so we stayed on the road mostly)
F-15 Peanuts. I don't understand either.
Colorful bikes, Sapporo
Sapporo Beer Museum
Sapporo Beer Museum. This was the "Genghis Khan" dish, a very popular dish in Hokkaido (we had it at least 4 times). It is basically Mongolian BBQ done at your table.
Sapporo youth hostel
Nopporo Forest Park
Checking the map
Outside a temple
10 vending machines in a row
Yubari youth hostel. This place was called a youth hostel, but I think in California it would have been called a bed and breakfast. It was really nice.
Yubari youth hostel. In addition to the cool lodge ambiance, they served great food.
Yubari youth hostel
Fox begging for food. I thought we were in the middle of nowhere but this guy obviously was used to people feeding him.
2km tunnel. Lots of tunnels in Japan. Some of them even have sidewalks going through them. The longest (not this one) was 3.4 km and had large blowers on the ceiling to pull fresh air in. Not terribly good riding...too noisy and too much diesel exhaust.
Hokkaido is filled with ice cream shops. We found them on top of mountain passes, in every town, and at every national park. At one park, I counted 7 ice cream stands between the parking lot and visitor center. They are easy to spot because they all have a huge ice cream cone statue out front.
Sunset from Highland Furano onsen
Making ice cream
Making waffle cones at the Furano Cheese Factory
Dinner at Kamihoro onsen
Kamihoro onsen. You wash yourself at the faucets before getting in the hot pools.
Tokachidake in the rain. The higher we climbed, the worse the weather got until the rain was stinging like hail. This makes 2 summers in a row where Yana and I stood in the warm steam of a volcano in driving rain...strange.
Asahidake. We took a gondola up to here, then hiked the rest of the way to the top.
Hiking boots. The Japanese hikers we saw all laughed at my footwear. They were all decked out with nice boots, packs, poles, bear bells, etc.
Outdoor pool at Asahidake hostel
Mark & Yana, Hagoramo waterfall, Tenninkyo gorge
Biei. That's a grill in the middle of the table, cooking our food.
Brand new bike path, towards Sounkyo
Closed road, Sounkyo
Drying wet socks
We stumbled into this street fair in Bihoro. Lots of people were excited to see us and try to either speak English with us or sell us food.
Bihoro street fair
Eating naan at Bihoro street fair
Kotan open-air onsen, Kussharo
Moutain biking around Wakoto Peninsula
Rain covers for shoes made from plastic bags
Tiny shopping cart. Just a regular shopping basket with wheels.
First view of ocean (road to Utoro)
Yana and Sika deer, Shiretoko
Kamuiwakka Falls, Shiretoko. It wasn't as warm was we were lead to believe, but had 20 minutes until the bus came to pick us up, and I was already wet from the rain, so swimming seemed like a reasonable option.
Sika deer, Shiretokotoge
Rainbow, Shiretokotoge. This was a beautiful descent. What you can't see from the photo is that it was also scary, because of the insane wind. The gusts would alternately try to blow us off the road into the ditch or across the center line into oncoming traffic. Coming around one corner, the unexpected headwind stopped me so fast I couldn't downshift in time and I had to get off the bike. By the bottom of the hill we were done riding for the day, even though it had only been 20 miles.
Piaw descending Shiretokotoge
Fish-shaped ice cream sandwich
Mashuko. This view was our reward on our longest day of riding, 89 miles.
Fields from Mashuko
Breakfast at Pension Birao, Teshikaga
Sushi in Ashoro
Drumkan, Shintoku. 2 brother run this guest house. On the guest form, there's a field for guests to put their favorite song. We almost didn't get lodging this night, everything was full because of a golf tournament. The lady at the information center finally got us a room here, and it was amazing!
Drumkan, Shintoku. Before dinner, the brother drove us to a fancy onsen and sat in the hot springs with us. Then, they sat down to eat with us. it was like being invited to someone's house, and was easily the best night of the trip.
Drumkan, Shintoku. After dinner, they played surf rock for us, then sang folk songs with Piaw. The one brother's been playing guitar for 40 years. The other has only been playing drums for 4 but was good (he also played guitar).
Cottage, Yubari hostel
Cottage, Yubari hostel. On the return trip, we figured out how to get another night at the Yubari hostel. We got to stay in the cottage, which was really cute. There was a woodstove downstairs, and sleeping upstairs.
Owls, Yubari hostel
Chitose. Sushi boat places are great because you only get the types of sushi you like, nothing else.
Lapland Lodge, Shikotsu
From Sapporo Ropeway
Mt. Moiwa Sunset
Mt. Moiwa, above Sapporo
Ramen Alley, Sapporo
Pokemon 747. In the airport waiting area, there was a model of a 747 painted with Pokemon. Outside was the real plane. Oh, and inside the plane the headrest covers and cups we Pokemon themed too.