Hokkaido is the northernmost and second largest island of Japan's 4 major islands.  It has a frontier like atmosphere considering it contains only 5% of the nations population.  It's true essence is found in it's vast nature.   This is why we chose to begin our bicycling tour here away from the crowds and a place to become accustomed to the culture which is still unmistakably Japanese.   It is known for some of the best camping, wider roads and hot springs. 

 After 22 days circling in a counter clockwise direction we ended up bicycling  1165.9km in Hokkaido.   Our accommodations, which were mostly camping,  cost us $80 plus that one $53 night in a youth hostel.  Those famous onsens and sentos added up to $170 worth of luxury.  Other expenses such as laundry, massage chairs, and museums all added up to only $80.   That leaves our biggest expense for fuel which was our food expense.  Most were from those Seicomart stops as well as a few wonderful meals out on the town for us and our hosts on three different occasions, which ended up a whopping $700.  

The road system was easy and well marked, often times also in English.  There were lots of wide sidewalks for bikes and mostly wide shoulders for good safe bicycling. 

We chose this means of travel for a much closer look at nature, getting to know the people and seeing Japan close up.   We were not disappointed!  

We feel our time in Hokkaido was one of the most luxurious bicycling tours we have ever experienced. 

This was due mainly to the hospitality of the Japanese who invited us into their homes as well as the best equipped and convenient camp grounds which were always near those exquisite, relaxing wonderfully indulgent hot spring onsens and sentos. 


Having said that we blew it all on two $94 tickets on the Shin Nikonkai ferry from Tomakomai Hokkaido to Tsuruga Honshu!!  


Folding our bikes in their little black carry on bags and dragging our Samsonite trailers onto the ferry, did not fool anyone!   

                                                                                                                                  After contemplating telling them the bags contained a tuba and cello we ended up paying the extra $27 apiece for the bikes.  Next time we will put the bikes in the suitcase as they are designed to do and carry our STUFF in the black bag or easier yet just wheel them on board. We are learning the advantages of Bike Friday's.  



In the end the ferry was all very luxurious with a wonderful onsen.....yes, on the ferry soaking in a huge hot tub with a bubbling fountain and a fabulous view of the Japan Sea floating by.          


Bear with us while we regroup and find our way into an entirely  different environment on the island of Honshu.  

Steve  is resting much easier and is much mellower now that he has lightened his load by posting off a 17 pound box of his STUFF! 

                                   My contribution..3 pair of  socks and the seal and bear meat!!  

                                                                O YA SAMI NASI