Eniwa - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze

August 28, 2018


The plan for today was to cycle up to Lake Shikotsuko but somehow things unraveled quite quickly.

We did one last load of laundry this morning, making use of the free facility at the hotel.  This meant we only got away just before ten o'clock this morning.  Then we had to negotiate our way through Sapporo to the cycle track that leads to Kitahiroshima, a town about twenty kilometers east of the city.  By this stage a strong easterly wind had picked up and we soon realized that if we were to push on to the lake, the wind would have tired our legs before we tackled the climb up the volcano and we would get there quite late. Apart from the tiredness factor, it would have also meant that we would miss out on a Onsen for the evening because the Onsens at the lake mostly close and three o'clock in the afternoon, although one does apparently stay open until five.

Once we had made this realization, we slowed down and tried to enjoy the ride.  The first ten kilometers or so of the cycle path was surprisingly unenjoyable.  The surface was rough and bumpy and was punctuated by many short climbs and dips as the path went over or under roads that lay in its way.  Suddenly it emerged from the city into a lovely wooded area and the surface improved dramatically.  Despite the headwind, this was now really enjoyable.

One of the bumps of the first part of the cycle path
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But then it got a lot better
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The cycle path ran out at Kitahiroshima Railway Station.  It took us a little while to find the best way out eastwards which was, much to our surprise, the Cycle Route 2 that we had ridden further north the previous week.  This lasted until just before Eniwa where we re-affirmed our decision not to carry on to the lake and started looking for a campsite in the area.

We found one just south of the town, the Kashiwagichiku Recreation Shisetsu Camping Ground, free by the look of things.  This area is a belt of development between Chitose and Sapporo but the campsite is on the edge of a forest and is quite attractive.  The closest Onsen was six kilometers away but, since we had to go back intop Eniwa to buy supper, this wasn't a big deal.  We setup camp, dashed off to the Onsen, picked up some supper and came back to the campsite for an early night.

Interestingly, this Onsen was a bit cheaper than usual (400 Yen vs the standard 500 Yen) but it didn't provide soap or shampoo.  A quick lesson learnt and we will now make sure we take our own along with us in future.

Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 1,011 km (628 miles)

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