Hokkaido, the northern land of Japan, is one of the sacred places that touring riders from all over Japan have always wanted to travel to at least once.
Endless straight roads, far-off horizons and horizons, stunning panoramic views of World Heritage sites, and an array of gourmet foods created by nature - the list of attractions is endless.
Of course, the author is no stranger to long touring and was able to make a lot of memories while he was still young.
In this issue of the Webike web magazine, I'm going to show you some of the wonderful things I've experienced in Hokkaido. And I'd like to put it all together for you!
........no, I'll go ahead and say it. Summarize that decadent dude in just one article?
There's too much to see and do!
Hokkaido alone is about one-fifth the size of Japan!
We hope this article will be helpful to those who have never visited Hokkaido by motorcycle and those who are interested in Hokkaido.
If you are a Hokkaido touring expert, please keep a lukewarm eye on us.
Running is too much fun anyway!
When you think of touring in Hokkaido, the first thing that comes to mind is probably "a straight line that goes on forever". It's really true, and one of the charms of Hokkaido's roads is that you can drive in a straight line.
Depending on the location, it is not unusual for the road to not even show a traffic light for a while, and the roads are wide, so the best part is that you can get a sense of freedom that you can't experience in Honshu.
It's a sanctuary of sorts, where traffic is sparse, nature is abundant, the air is delicious, and it reminds you of the true joy of biking.
First of all, I've itemized the attractions of the roads and landscapes in different parts of Hokkaido.
I hope it helps you choose your path!
The Hokkaido. This area is representative of the vast landscape that comes to mind.
There are many long straights that go over 10km, so you can just keep going straight.
Popular tourist destinations such as Sapporo, Otaru, Furano and Asahikawa are also located here.
This is also a great place for straightforward riders.
There are many famous roads that represent Hokkaido, and some of these roads offer a view of the wilderness.
This is the area that sums up Hokkaido with its large scale windings such as the Mikuni Pass.
With the Shiretoko Peninsula and Kushiro Marshland, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of Hokkaido.
There are many lakes scattered throughout the city, and there are plenty of places to enjoy a bird's eye view and panoramic scenery.
Along the coast towards the center of Hokkaido, there is a straight line that goes on and on again.
The night view of Hakodate and Muroran factories are different from other places.
Yotei and the foothills of the Niseko mountain range, and the winding roads with many twists and turns, make for a great ride.
There are many hot spring resorts, so take a break before heading north to Hokkaido.
I know I'm being too rough, but doesn't this still give you a feeling that it's not Japan?
Yes! Hokkaido is so big in scale, it's like some other country!
Things to keep in mind when driving in Hokkaido
In Hokkaido, there is not much traffic and straight lines, so we can't help ourselves.Tends to speed up.It will be a
If you're running in a daze and before you know it, your sense of speed has been paralyzed, be warned that the following numerous dangers await you!
I don't see any traffic lights.
I don't even know if it's Orbis.
The police don't know we're here.
They don't see oncoming traffic.
I don't see a fox.
These are really dangerous!
Those of you who are thinking "Again - I'm fine, that I'm fine"!
The 2019 fatal accident rate in Hokkaido is3rd worst in the nation! This has been going on every year.
In addition, this year's fatalities have nearly tripled from the average number of fatalities over the past five years, due in part to the increased popularity of motorcycles that provide a sense of freedom as a result of the coronavirus.
Liberation and danger go hand in hand.
It's not a lawless area of speed, so be sure to ride safely.
Let's stay at the Ryder House!
Hotels, inns, campgrounds, and other places to stay vary, but we recommend staying at the Ryder House at least once.
A rider's house is a simple lodging that was born in the 80's when the motorcycle boom was in full swing and was mainly used by touring riders and cyclists.
Yeah, but aren't they all motorcycle nerds, Xanaxians?
'I need to spend the evening alone...'
I know that feeling! Even the author didn't want to sleep in a snoring cesspool surrounded by Osan at first! Absolutely not! That's what I thought! Each rider house has its own set of rules and regulations, and of course there are places that are privately run and not so clean.
But there are benefits that more than make up for those disadvantages!
It's so cheap!
Touring in Hokkaido is expensive for what it is - I'm sure most of you are on a 1-2 week itinerary, but the cost of accommodation is not ridiculous.
Lodging costs are relatively cheap in Hokkaido, but even so, a cheap business hotel will cost you 3 or 4,000 yen.
Then that's where Ryder House comes in!
The fee is... 500 yen, 300 yen! Free! There are many such facilities!
Of course, meals are not included in such cheap places, but most places have kitchens with electric kettles and microwaves, so if you buy food in advance at Seicomart (a convenience store mainly in Hokkaido), there is no problem.
Some of the lodges have chargeable food and shower facilities, so it's very economical.
Enables deep information gathering
What do you base your information gathering on when planning a touring trip? Touring Mapple? A local food magazine?
As I toured the Ryder House, I saw less and less of those mediums.
Tourist attractions and eateries that are open to the public are widely recognized and likely to be already popular, and even when you do visit, they are often crowded with people.
However, the stories of the riders you meet at the Ryder House are very fresh and informative.
Naturally, it's only by talking to other riders that you can secure information on where to park your bike, and you can gather as much information as you can about the best places to stop in each location!
People of all ages, from young teens to veterans in their 70s, came together and I enjoyed just listening to them.
Of course, there were times when I was tired or early in the morning when I didn't participate in the conversation and went to bed quickly (laughs).
Think you've been tricked and jump in once you have the courage, booze and earplugs! It could be addictive!
Let's collect the magnolia flag!
Since we've come all the way to Hokkaido, we'd like to have a souvenir associated with touring.
The perfect item for such a desire is the Hokuren Flag!
The Hokuren Flag is a commemorative flag sold by the gas station Hokuren SS for a limited time during the touring period (early July to the end of September in FY 2019) and is an annual campaign event.
These are sold at Central, North, East and South Hokkaido Hokuren service stations, and are so popular that they are sold out early at popular tourist sites! You can check the availability on the Hokuren SS website.
The designs change every year. Some years the designs depict Hokkaido's representative animals, while others are in collaboration with the Wahoo Peace manga! Last year's design was classic, with drawings of the regional area of the province and places of interest in different parts of the country.
There are also specially designed rare flags that are rarely available, and you can feel like you're on a journey to collect Dragon 00 Rules from all over the world, just like in an RPG.
The selling price in 2019 was $150 a bottle! At this price, it's easy on the wallet as a souvenir.
Running with the flag in the seat bag is a kind of status for some Hokkaido tourers.
Some of the riders had made their own special flagging equipment and had equipped their bikes with it.
Why don't you collect all kinds of Hokuren flags as a memento of your summer, or as an item to show off your smugness to the untraveled riders, as if you were conquering the road?
You're going to want to go to Hokkaido
In the first half of this article, I've introduced three recommendations based on my own opinions and biases.
In Hokkaido, the distance between gas stations is so far away that it's surprisingly hard to find one.
The author's bike gets 20k mileage./With only 13 liters and a tank capacity of 13 liters, I was always refueling when the mileage exceeded 170 kilometers.
If you've traveled about 70% of the way based on your bike's mileage and tank capacity, don't hesitate to go to the gas station!
In the second half of this article, I will introduce two episodes that cannot be ignored in Hokkaido.