Enjoy sublime views of the countryside around Sapporo during this small-group mountain bike ride that’s perfect for beginners, culminating in a trip to a traditional Japanese hot spring and a curry lunch. It’s the perfect blend of outdoor activity and relaxation during your visit to this northern Japanese city.
Start your mountain bike adventure with a morning pickup in Sapporo, continuing about an hour to the start of your ride. Before you head out, get fitted with a bike, helmet and gloves, and listen to a brief safety overview of your ride.
Then start off on a 1.5-hour mountain-biking trip along a peaceful path tracing the Toyohira River, its waters swollen with runoff from the melting snow of the Jozankei Valley. Along the way you’ll cross a picturesque suspension bridge and enjoy sublime views of the river canyon below. Your ride finishes with a steep downhill into Jozankei, a town of traditional onsen hot spring baths first discovered by a local monk in 1866. You’ll be able to see the steam rising from these naturally heated baths as you wander the town.
Stop for a quick bite of onsen manju, a snack made of a bun filled with azuki-bean paste, before continuing on a steep ride back uphill towards the Shirai River. Bike back over the Toyohira, where you can dip your feet in the cool waters, before heading to the nearby Hoheikyo Onsen for your soak.
The 6-mile (10km) ride finishes at this heated spring, ranked in 2013 by TripAdvisor users as one of the area’s top hot spring day trips. Ease your way into an indoor bath, letting the tension from your muscles fade away, or head to one of the site’s three outdoor pools, where you can take a dip among the beautiful mountain landscape. Enjoy a 1-hour soak at the pool of your choice, letting the site’s 100-percent pure waters fed exclusively by hot spring, relax and rejuvenate your body.
Finish your cycling trip with a delicious lunch of Japanese curry, considered to be Jozankei’s most popular food, accompanied by tasty naan bread for dipping, at the onsite restaurant.
After lunch, return by minivan to your starting point in Sapporo.