Enjoy the breathtaking scenery and fresh mountain air of the Lake Shikotsu area by mountain bike on this small-group tour. This active adventure is a great way to get some fresh air and get your blood pumping as you explore this beautiful outdoor area.
Start your mountain biking trip in the morning from your choice of three pickup locations, including Sapporo train station, select hotels near the station, or from New Chitose Airport. After your pickup, proceed by minivan to the trailhead at Chitose, situated around 1.5 hours outside of Sapporo.
Arrive at the trailhead and grab your mountain biking gear, including helmet and gloves, before listening to a short safety lesson geared to cyclists with moderate experience levels. Then pedal out into the outdoor scenery of the Lake Shikotsu area, starting on a trail along the crystal clear waters of Chitose River.
As you continue your ride, the trail heads along a forested path of white birch trees, proceeding uphill for around 1.5 hours and covering a distance of about 9 miles (15km). Finish this section of the ride on top of a cliff at a hydroelectric plant, offering sublime views of the river below. Then continue pedaling towards Lake Shikotsu, which lies another 3 miles (5km) away.
After another moderate few miles of cycling, you arrive on the shores of Lake Shikotsu, originally formed by volcanic activity and now the second-deepest lake in Japan, reaching depths of 1,180 feet (360m). Cycle along the shore of this clear body of water, enjoying views of the volcanic peaks of Mount Eniwa, Mount Tarumae and Mount Fuppushi in the distance.
Take break to have lunch (at your own expense) at one of the many lakeside restaurants, offering a wide variety of food options such as freshwater salmon (sushi or sashimi), hamburgers of Hokkaido beef, or hearty Japanese favorites like ramen or curry.
After lunch, you can select from several return options depending on your fitness and skill level. A mountain path offers a moderate downhill route with some uphill climbs (slightly more challenging), or journey back on a route that is entirely downhill (easier). Both options cover a distance of approximately 15 miles (25km) and around 2 hours of time. If at any time the pace becomes too strenuous, you can ask your guide to slow things down or take a shortcut.
Finish your ride admiring the wealth of natural scenery along the path, including occasional wildlife sightings of Ezo deer, Hokkaido foxes and raccoon dogs, returning to the Chitose area to conclude your trip. Your adventure ends with a return trip to Sapporo or to New Chitose Airport.