Akan–Mashu to Shiretoko 8 Day Cycling Tour

A cyclist takes a  picture of Mt. Rausu on a clear summer day.

Cycle through volcanic landscapes, sprawling forests, and along rugged coastlines across two beloved national parks on this multi day guided cycling tour.

This guided cycling tour spans two of Hokkaido’s most exciting locations: Akan-Mashu National Park and Shiretoko National Park. Akan-Mashu National Park is one of Japan's oldest national parks, and contains 3 of Japan's most awe-inspiring lakes: Lake Akan, Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo. Pristine forests within active volcanic landscapes make this park a truly magical destination.

Shiretoko National Park is a peninsula sandwiched between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Nemuro Strait. Its unspoiled wilderness, characterised by dense forests, rugged coastlines and picturesque mountains has earned it the reputation as Japan's last undeveloped frontier. This tour covers approximately 461 km over 7 days, through quintessential Hokkaido landscapes. Cycle through East Hokkaido and experience the unforgettable!

We operate this tour in partnership with Cycling Japan.

Tour Highlights

See two of Japan's most beautiful lakes

Lake Mashu's mesmerizing blue surface and Lake Kussharo's impressive scale are beloved across Hokkaido.

Climb Shiretoko Pass, a thrilling ride inside a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site

Get up close to Mt. Rausu, the highest and most imposing mountain in the Shiretoko mountain range.

Cycle through unique landscapes across two different national parks

Between Akan-Mashu National Park's forests and lakes and Shiretoko National Park's coasts and mountains, there is no shortage of spectacular scenery.

Relax & rejuvenate each evening in natural hot springs

As we pass through this volcanic landscape, there is plenty of opportunity to soak in rejuvenating natural hot springs - perfect for those tired legs.

Refuel with Hokkaido's fresh cuisine

Feast on fresh local produce and some of Japan's best dining. Despite all the cycling you will struggle to lose weight!


Day 1

Day 1 - Meet in Abashiri

We meet at about 6 pm at our hotel in Abashiri near the station. It takes 5.5 hours by train from Sapporo to Abashiri Station, and 2 hours by flight from Tokyo Haneda to Memanbetsu Airport. 

After a tour briefing & introduction, we stroll around Abashiri and have a scrumptious welcome dinner in town. 

If you have some time to spare before the tour commences, the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples, as well as the Abashiri Prison Museum are popular sights in Abashiri worth visiting, and are both accessible by bus.

Stay Hotel in Abashiri
Day 2

Day 2 - Cycle Loop from Abashiri to Cape Notoro

After bike fitting and a quick safety briefing, we head out to Cape Notoro. As we leave Abashiri, we soon hit the Okhotsk Sea coastline, where we pass by several temples, as well as a small fishing village. A short, gradual hill leading to the cape serves as excellent preparation for the rest of the tour's more challenging climbs.

We spend some time at Cape Notoro's lookout point, which affords a lovely panoramic view of the sea. We then enjoy a pleasant downhill to Lake Notoro, a small brackish lake that is home to the largest glasswort (a succulent plant which thrives in saline environments) community in Japan. This glasswort turns a very vibrant red in autumn. After cycling down the lakeside road, we connect to the cycling path which brings us back to Abashiri.

For dinner, we pay a visit to our favourite okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) restaurant, where the meal is prepared and cooked right in front of your eyes!

Cycle 45 km with 252 m climbing
Stay Hotel in Abashiri
Day 3

Day 3 - Cycle from Abashiri to Lake Kussharo

We leave Abashiri and ride south to the sweeping Kussharo Caldera via Bihoro Pass. From the top of this pass we can see a fantastic view of Lake Kussharo, as well as the many mountains which encircle the caldera. Looking out from this point, you truly gain a sense of the scale of the volcanic activity which formed the entire landscape, and which blessed the area with its beloved hot springs. 

After lunch at the rest house here, we enjoy a downhill ride to Lake Kussharo, the largest caldera lake in Japan, and the second largest lake in Hokkaido. The lake is also one of the three major lakes in Akan-Mashu National Park. We pay a brief visit to Sunayu, a popular foot spa site where if you dig a hole in the shore's sand, hot spring water wells up in a matter of seconds. Tonight's accommodation is located in the hot spring town Kawayu Onsen.

Cycle 88 km with 688 m climbing
Stay Ryokan at Kawayu Onsen
Day 4

Day 4 - Cycle from Kawayu Onsen to Nakashibetsu

We begin today by cycling to Mt. Io, or "Sulphur Mountain." This still active volcano last erupted about 600 years ago, and to this day continues to emit massive billows of sulphuric steam into the sky. You can see for yourself how stained the steam vents are with an almost unearthly shade of sulphuric yellow! 

After a gradual, but long uphill climb, we reach the lookout point at Lake Mashu. This is another of Akan-Mashu National Park's three major lakes, with pristine waters set deep in a caldera of its own. Its high, steep cliffs prevent people from accessing its shores, a feature which is believed to have helped it retain its immaculate water quality to this very day. The lake is regularly veiled in mist and fog, but if we get lucky, we will be able to catch a glimpse of its renowned "Mashu-blue" surface. The rest of the day's cycling is a leisurely downhill and flat route into the farming area of Nakashibetsu.

Cycle 84 km with 852 m climbing
Stay Hotel in Nakashibetsu
Day 5

Day 5 - Cycle from Nakashibetsu to Rausu

This morning we enjoy the change in scenery as we emerge from farmland and into the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site-designated Shiretoko Peninsula, considered by some to be the last unexplored region of Japan. 

We cycle along the eastern coast of the peninsula for today's destination, a small fishing village called Rausu, famous across Japan for its production of kombu - sea-kelp that is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. This area is also well known for its delicious, fresh seafood - king crab, in particular.

After we arrive in Rausu, you have the option to spend the afternoon either driving or cycling 24 km further to a secluded seaside onsen called Aidomari. Let the sound of waves soothe and recharge you for tomorrow's ride!

Cycle 65 km with 298 m climbing
Stay Ryokan in Rausu, Shiretoko
Day 6

Day 6 - Cycle from Rausu to Utoro

Today we get a true taste of Shiretoko Peninsula's awe-inspiring beauty. Leaving Rausu, we cycle up the Shiretoko Pass to the other side of the peninsula. It is a gradual and long 15 km to the top of the pass, where you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Mt. Rausu, the highest peak in the Shiretoko Mountain Range. The mountain's majestic figure in contrast with the azure blue sea in the distance is a truly wonderful sight to behold. 

We enjoy a leisurely downhill to the Shiretoko Nature Center, where we have a quick lunch, and an optional short walk to Furepe Waterfall, a beautiful waterfall which empties out from a sharp cliff into the sea. We also have the option to take a 9 km side trip to Shiretoko Five Lakes, where we can walk through a very unique, beautiful landscape dotted by small lakes, each fed by underground spring water. If the weather permits, there will be a chance to see a truly beautiful sunset from our accommodation in Utoro.

Cycle 46 km with 1200 m climbing
Stay Hotel in Utoro, Shiretoko
Day 7

Day 7 - Utoro to Abashiri

Today we say so long to Shiretoko Peninsula and make our way back to Abashiri alongside the Sea of Okhotsk coast. 

In early July, potato fields on the left hand side will be in spectacular full bloom! We make a brief stop at the Koshimizu Wildflower Reserve to observe the diverse array of wildflowers in bloom during spring and summer, such as the Japanese Rose and the Siberian Lily. 

We then ride to our final accommodation of the tour, this time located beside Lake Abashiri. Enjoy relaxing in the outdoor onsen with a lovely view of the lake spread out before you!

Cycle 85 km with 357 m climbing
Stay Hotel in Abashiri
Day 8

Day 8 - Farewells

The tour will wrap up after breakfast. You can easily take a bus from your hotel to Abashiri Station or Memanbetsu Airport.

Dates & Prices

  • 2024

    1. June 23, 2024 - June 30, 2024
      Fully Booked
    2. July 02, 2024 - July 09, 2024
      Fully Booked
    3. August 19, 2024 - August 26, 2024
      Fully Booked
  • Enquire About a Private Departure

Travel Style

We cycle from accommodation to accommodation on most days of this tour. We will provide a vehicle to support cyclists and carry water, snacks and any other items needed for cycling. You will load your luggage into the support vehicle, so you only need to carry daily necessities when you ride. If you need to stop cycling at any point during the day, you are welcome to take a rest in the support vehicle. Please be aware that the number of seats may be limited depending on the number of people and the vehicle we use.