Tour of Hokkaido, Day 7, Sapporo to Asahikawa.

1:20pm. The JR Limited Express Super Kamui 17 from Sapporo rolls into Asahikawa Station in typical boringly on-time Japanese fashion.  1 hour and 20 precise minutes. 4,680Y (but luckily, all-inclusive with my handy JR Pass).

It’s still a cool, cloudy day. The station is surprisingly quiet. In minutes, the BF is ready to go. I’d taken note of a recommended campsite outside Asahikawa and that’s where I’m heading this afternoon.

For such quick commutes, I only fold the bike, remove the front wheel, and bag it. No problems.

Outside the station, I try to figure out the best direction and road to take. I decide to pop into a Koban (police station) nearby. They are very friendly and helpful, all smiles, unlike our generally dour men-in-blue. One of them even comes out with me to the junction and gives me clear instructions to my destination.

Google streetview, outside Asahikawa station:

The campsite is about 10kms away in a small town called Nishikagura. A short 2km on the 219, then left onto straight-as-an-arrow national highway 237.

Nice, friendly Japanese cops

It’s lunch time. This time it’s a Lawsons.

Complete with clean toilets.

I decide to go Italian for lunch. 398Y.

This is one of the few kombinis to offer a proper place to enjoy their food

And of course, hot coffee. Only 180Y.

237 is not too busy. Coupled with the agreeable weather, I take my time heading south-east towards Nishikagura. Along the way, there’s nothing much to interest me until I come upon one the many roadside shelters that I see on every major road. But this one is different. Someone had lovingly nurtured a flower-bed of dazzlingly bright plants and flowers.

White gloves, smartly pressed white shirt, shiny shoes — your typical Japanese uncle-on-a-bike

I crossed the road and stop there for awhile, just admiring it all. An old man on a bicycle comes by; stops, casually lights a cigarette and quietly observes me. ‘Konichiwa’, I say to him. He surprises me with ‘Where are you from?’. But my surprise ends there; turns out that’s about the only English phrase he knows. He’s a charming fellow and we set to having one those English/Japanese/sign-language conversations that I always enjoy with a local. Oji-san is still having a go with his English and tries to impress me with his reading skills.

‘Bee-ker-fer-lee-day’, he points to the BF’s sticker. Not bad….. I cheer him on.

‘Boo-look-so’, he points to the badge on the Brooks saddle. I give him a standing ovation.

Before we parted ways, Oji-san tells me exactly where the park and campsite is, about a kilometre down the road on the left.

I find it easily enough. It’s a small park, meant for the enjoyment of Nishikagura’s folks. I ride in and see a few tents but no sign of the campers. I call in at the park office. No one seems to be about. After I hello-ed, a man comes out and I tell him I’m camping. I ask him how much and he says it’s free. He points to the park and says I can camp anywhere. Brilliant.

The entrance to the park is located opposite the post office

To Nishikagura Park and campsite, 4oom.

Entrance of the park

It’s a beautiful park but highway 237 is only about 100 metres down the slope of the high ground that the park is located. The park’s trees block out much of the traffic noise so it’s not too bad.

I pick my corner, away from the other campers. It’s as perfect as any park campsite can be – partly shaded under tall trees, lovely moss and grass on the ground, a gazebo with table and bench, a drinking water fountain and, about 10 metres away, the toilet.

My very own private water fountain, kitchen sink, shower, laundromat … Water is icy cold though.

Before I set up camp, I make a dash to the Lawsons just outside on the main road and stock up for the night and tomorrow morning. I’m lookng forward to enjoying the rest of this slow, lazy day.

Noodles, beer, snacks and breakfast.

Warm, cosy lighting at night

Dinner. Cup noodles with real wan-tons!

Delicious.

Tomorrow, it’s a longish ride to Lake Shumarinai where it will be another night of lakeside camping which I’m really beginning to enjoy.

================================================================================

Distance to day: 10 very lazy kms

Distance to date: 403km

Blue: JR Limited Express Super Kamui 17
Red: Bike Friday

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Tour of Hokkaido, Day 7, Sapporo to Asahikawa.

  1. Bro Mike, I dont think I can tahan eating 7/11 food for so many days lei. Jerlak…. I see yr food I kerniang already la. Umm, I supposed its that or super expensive meals in restaurants. Sigh… but really enjoying your accounts so far. I laughed at the pronouncing of Bike Fly-day. Haha.

  2. Ped. The japs 7-11 has a lot more to offer and I reckon it’s a lot more cheaper. Like in TW, their instant noodle can taste Better than a hawker stall! Well some of then lar! Lol

    As usual, the train ticket looks a lot more ex as compared to other Asian country.

    So the protocol is too ask for the park/ campsite when ever u arrived at a place?

  3. That’s true..their instant noodles are really nice. Anyway, 7/11 also has plenty of fresh food as well, so not too bad la.

    Every town, no matter how small, has a park that you can either camp legally or ‘quietly’ 🙂
    Every town also has proper campsites. I prefer parks though, not because they’re usually free but because they’re so much nicer and greener.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s