Release | Takako Chiba
Go around Okushiri Island with a bicycle! Cycle tourism in autumn Hokkaido
“Cycle tourism” has become very popular recently. To explain it shortly, it’s sightseeing/traveling with bicycles. Hokkaido is the best place to go traveling with bicycles! Hokkaido Likers’ no.1 recommendation is to go around Okushiri Island!
Table of Contents- Hiyama Okushiri Cycleuise
- The magic word is “Shimamade Kaido”
- Going clockwise direction is recommended
Hiyama Okushiri CycleuiseOkushiri Route Vitalization Department was formed to drive the vitalization of Okushiri Route (Okushiri to Esashi and Okushiri to Setana) and dynamize the Hiyama area. The department is made up of governments and private companies of Okushiri-Cho, Esashi-Cho, and Setana-Cho and the office is located in Okushiri-Cho.
▲The Hiyama Okushiri Cycleuise pamphlet.
And the department proposes to travel the Hiyama area and Okushiri Island with bicycles. That project is called “Hiyama Okushiri Cycleuise.”
They offer various plans to enjoy more things than cycling at Cycleuise; such as photo shooting, various events, etc. Visitors can get benefits to upgrade the seat class of the return trip ferry and different coupons when they sign up (free of charge).
The magic word is “Shimamade Kaido”I visited Hitoshi Hadate from the Regional Policy Division, who involves in cycle tourism at Okushiri-Cho.
▲Hitoshi Hadate, the leader of Okushiri-Cho’s Regional Policy Division.
Okushiri-Cho started to involve in cycle tourism since 2017. They made cycling courses with Okushiri-Cho with Okushiri Route Vitalization Department. Then, they tried to promote cycle tourism in Okushiri Island by creating three tours with private companies that organize cycle tours all over Japan in 2019.
In cycle tourism, visitors bring their own bicycles to the destination and enjoy the trip, rather than using rental bikes.
“Okushiri-Cho’s intermodal passenger transport is weak. We have scarce sightseeing bus and rent-a-cars. However, a bicycle is enough to visit around tourist destinations in the neighborhood.” Hadate says.
The number of visitors with bicycles increased triple in the past few years. They come not only from Hokkaido but also from various places in Japan and even from overseas to Okushiri Islands to enjoy cycling.
“We have six to seven ‘cycle supporters’ who support such tourists. They help tourists when their bicycles got broken and provide information. However, they are not specialized companies. I think the government side should start to consider how to support them.” Hadate said.
Okushiri Route Vitalization Department created original cycling jerseys, and cycle supporters wear them. Hadate himself wears the cycling jerseys and visit various places to promote cycle tourism in Okushiri-Island.
Let’s say hello when you find people with “Shimamade Kaido” cycle jerseys in Okushiri Island.
* “Shimamade Kaido” is a hashtag used by “Hiyama Okushiri Cycleuse.”
Going clockwise direction is recommendedIt takes approximately four to five hours to go around Okushiri Island with a bicycle. There is only one main road so you won’t get lost.
I asked tips to go around the island to Hadate.
“I recommend going clockwise. That is the direction towards Aonae from the ferry terminal. You will be able to see the coastline on the left side, which means you can see Okushiri blue ocean as you ride bicycles!”
▲Riding on bicycles as you see Okushiri blue ocean on the left. This must feel really nice!
And Hadate also told us: “Okushiri does not have much traffic, so it is also safe for cyclists. The increase of cycle tourists made transportation manner better on the island.”
▲Try Okushiri’s local food “High Sorbet” for hydration and feeding!
▲You can get “High Sorbet” at “Umikan” in front of the Okushiri Port Ferry Terminal. I advise you to get it before you start!
▲A photo shooting opportunity at a famous sightseeing destination. Nabetsuru Rock is a must-see in Okushiri Island!
When people ride a bicycle in quiet areas in Hokkaido, we have to be careful of wildlife encounters such as brown bears, Ezo deer, Ezo red fox, etc., but you don’t have to worry that in Okushiri Island. There are no brown bears, Ezo deer, Ezo red fox nor adders in Okushiri Island.
I heard that the strongest wild animal in Okushiri Island is raccoon dogs.
Summer is too hot to go cycling, but autumn is the best season.
Why don’t you try to go around Okushiri Island with your favorite bicycle?
Related Links- Hiyama Okushiri Cycleuise
- Okushiri Tourism Association
- Hokkaido Hiyama Promotion Bureau
Hokkaido Likers writer Takako Chiba
Photo: Rumiko Ito
Okushiri-Cho provided cycling pictures