- Day 67 – Furano to Sapporo
- Distance: 118km
- Ascent / descent: 1122m / 1244m
- Weather: cold, windy and wet
- Accommodation: WBF Sapporo Chuo Hotel, ¥9200
I left the hostel this morning on an overcast day and headed up into the mountains on Route 135. It was a slow and steady climb, but nothing too crazy. After turning off onto Route 452, I soon passed a carpark and rest area for Sandan Falls.
When I was about 30km from Sapporo, the heavens opened and it was a struggle to get my wet-weather gear on before I was completely drenched. The next 30km seemed to drag on in the rain, and hopes of my shoes staying dry were dashed.
When I finally made it to Sapporo, I cycled past the TV Tower for a quick photo in the drizzling rain. When I tried to put my kickstand down on my bike, it broke off and went flying across the concrete! I somehow managed to hold the bike in one hand and pick it up in the other, and then had to get creative to try and make the bike stand, without its kickstand. Lucky I was now only 500m from the hotel!
The hotel was fantastic and let me keep my bike in their office.
Through two Facebook groups – Touring Japan on Bicycle and Japan Cycling Navigator, I saw a link to a blog by Sue and John from Australia. I then passed them on day 14 when I was finishing the Shimanami Kaido and they were starting it. We kept in contact but never passed each other again. It seemed like we were going to be in Sapporo at the end of our journey’s at the same time, as well as Sander, the Belgian guy I’d met twice. I messaged everyone and asked if they wanted to have dinner in Sapporo and we ended up a group of six (below pic). Anna on the left is about to start her cycling adventure, Kelvin from Singapore has also just finished his length of Japan, then John, Sue, Sander and myself. It was such a wonderful evening sharing stories and it really felt like a celebration between long-lost friends.
After two days in Sapporo, I met Kanji and Mieko and had one last fantastic night together celebrating the end of this trip and the beginning of wonderful friendships. They helped me box up the bike and even took me to the airport. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thanks everyone for coming along for the ride. Thank you to my Warmshowers and Couchsurfing hosts and everyone I met along the way. Every single day of this journey I received an act of kindness, from motorbike tourists and drivers cheering me on, cold coke at the top of a mountain pass, numerous bananas 😉 , kind words and encouragement, offers of accommodation, and so much more.
I feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to make this journey and prolong spring in this beautiful country. From Kyushu to Hokkaido I followed the cherry blossom and other flowers like wisteria and irises blooming along the length of Japan. I saw rice being planted almost every day and heard the beautiful chorus of the Japanese ‘uguisu’ bush warbler, also known as the nightingale bird, every single day.
If you have a dream, don’t wait, make it happen. Life’s too short to put things off.