‘Tokapuchi 400’ selected as National Cycle Route

Local cycling enthusiasts enjoy riding on a section of the Tokapuchi 400 route. May 30
The ‘Tokapuchi 400’ route

‘Tokapuchi 400’, a cycle route with an excellent riding environment from which the magnificent natural landscapes of the Tokachi region of eastern Hokkaido can be enjoyed, has been selected as one of Japan’s National Cycle Routes. It is the first route in Hokkaido to be selected as such.

 Tokapuchi 400 is a 403-km-long route that takes in 12 municipalities of the Tokachi region between the towns of Kamishihoro and Taiki, in a ‘figure of eight’ shape centered on the city of Obihiro. Attractions along the route include magnificent natural landscapes typical of Tokachi, such as an observation hill (Otofuke), a famous Japanese elm tree (Toyokoro) and the former Japanese National Railways Shihoro Line concrete arch bridges (Kamishihoro).

The route’s catchphrase is “To the mountains, the plain and the sea”. Courses include mountainous sections and sections along the Pacific Ocean coast for intermediate and advanced riders, as well as shorter model courses that take in major tourist attractions in the region. Farm restaurants that serve dishes made with vegetables produced in Tokachi, and hot-spring facilities that offer bathing for day visitors can also be found near the route.

 Each designated section of the route incudes a ‘cycle station’ where cyclists can rest and carry out repairs, and a cycle rack, pump and route maps can also be found at the ‘michinoeki’ roadside rest areas in each municipality. Collaboration with taxi companies within the region that can offer large vehicles in which to transport cycles in case of sudden mechanical trouble or accidents, provides 24-hour support.

 In addition, approximately 40 bicycles, including road bikes, are available for rent from as little as 200 yen per hour, at the bus waiting room in front of JR Obihiro Station. ‘Mamachari’ shopping bikes and electrically-assisted e-bikes that can be enjoyed by tourists and novice riders are also available.

 “There are many routes packed with Tokachi attractions. Why not divide the course over a number of days and enjoy the destinations of your choice?” says Director General Umemura of the Tokachi Tourism Federation.