Friday 15 December 2023

The most breathtaking cycling track in Sapporo City for your cycling adventures.

 Top 5 cycling tracks in Sapporo City, Hokkaido.

This is for those of you who enjoy riding bicycles and are either planning a trip to Sapporo or currently reside there and are always curious;

'what is the best cycling track for cycling in Sapporo city?'

It seems like you're on a quest to find an answer to this question, and I'm here to help you out. You've come to the right place, so let's dive in and find that response together!

Are you up for some cycling in Sapporo? I've got just the right spots for you to explore on two wheels. Let me guide you to the best cycling routes in the city! I got you covered! Let me show you the best spots in the city where you can enjoy a thrilling ride while exploring the beautiful surroundings.

 1. The Toyahira River Cycling Course.


Toyahira Cycling is one of the best cycling courses in Sapporo City. It starts at Makomanai Park and finishes at the Isakari River.

The course runs parallel to the Toyahira River and ends at the Iskari River. You can decide which side of the river you want to cycle on.

The total length of the course is around 25 km, and it would take you an hour and a half to complete the cycling track. The tracks go through different river sporting areas, recreation areas, children's playing areas, and small river forested areas. The view of the Toyahira River from the cycling trail is breathtaking.

I recommend doing light cycling in the afternoon when the sun is a little brighter. You will really enjoy cycling there.

So, choose the Toyahira River Cycling Course next time you want to cycle.

2. The cycling course Shiraishi Kokoro Do.



This was once a railroad track that was turned into a bike path. The rail extends all the way to Kita Hiroshima Station from Sapporodaichi Park. The route travels through parts of Sapporo City's Shiroishi area and Kita Hiroshima. It is around 25 kilometers long.

The trail is extremely smooth because it was freshly resealed.  Gorgeous chrysanthemum trees shade the trail. You can experience the beautiful fallage of riding in the spring and fall.

Riding a bicycle to Kita Hiroshima will pass through the Learning Forest, an area of breathtaking scenery. You can purchase refreshments at the Cycling Center in the middle of the Leaning Forest route, or you can hire a bike there as well. 

In addition to cycling, hiking is another activity available in the learning forest.

It takes two to three hours to cycle from Kokoro Road to Kita Hiroshima.

Shiraishi Kokoro's cycling path is worth considering the next time you're looking for an adventurous riding experience.

3. The Kotoni River Cycling Course. 

The Kononi bicycle track begins at the north end of Hokkaido University. The cycling track in Kononi is breathtakingly gorgeous. I've gone there on numerous cycles.

Running on both sides of the river, it's a stunning cove that leads all the way to Ishari. It is quieter than the other two tracks. There are fewer parks for resting and fewer people in general. Small woodlands bordering the river's side encircle it for the most part. It descended below Shinkawa Dori Ave. Thus, if you are riding your bike on the Konoi Bike Path you will be cycling at a lower elevation than the cars on Shinkawa Dori Ave.

With any luck, you may be able to spot some wildlife, such as foxes, gorgeous cranes, and other untamed birds. While riding and running there, I have seen some amazing wildlife.

The track is 14 km long, and it would take you one hour to pedal the entire 14 kilometers of the track.

If you want to experience a calm and scenic pleasure. Try the Kotoni cycling course.

4. The Kotonihassamu River cycling path.

One of the Koni River's tributaries is the Kotonihassamu River. It empties into the Konoi River a short distance downstream from the northeasternmost point of Hokkaido University. The river flows through the Kotoni neighborhood and ascends into the Heiwa neighborhood's mountains in Sapporo.

The family picnic area beside the river is traversed by the Kontoni River Cycling Trail, which runs along its right bank. You will enter the Nishino Green Route after passing through the picnic areas. It is a lovely, verdant natural area with lots of trees.

The road is 12 km long, and cycling uphill would take an hour, but cycling downhill would take less time. It's a tough uphill ride. However, it's enjoyable and satisfying once you complete the course and reach the waterfall upstream.

The Heiwa Cycle Bridge marks the end of the trip. The Heiwa Waterfall can be reached by following the route that parallels the Kotonihassamu River from that point on. There are several scenic views along the trail that you can enjoy while cycling.

If you'd like to take pleasure in both cycling and waterfall viewing. Go the Koni route.

5. The Nakano Cycling Part.

Another river that flows into the Konini is the Nakano River. I haven't gone cycling there. On Google Earth, nevertheless, it bears a striking resemblance to the Kotonihassau River.

Despite being shorter than the riding track in Kotonihassaumu. It has several family parks and picnic spaces, and I believe the vistas are fantastic.

Hey, don't miss out on this one! I highly recommend trying out this amazing cycling course. Once you hit the road, you'll feel the wind on your face and the thrill of the ride. Don't forget to share your experience with us - we'd love to hear all about it. we're all ears and can't wait to hear about your experience!"

By Joshua Sasahombi.

Feel the joy of cycling!.

Sunday 10 December 2023

Cost and processes of renting appartment in Japan.

 Apartments and Housing in Japan.

by Joshua.S.

This article shares the experience of the author regarding the processes and costs of moving, and getting new apartments in Japan. One important thing to note when getting an apartment in Japan is to know what types of apartments and housing suit you. There are several types of apartments in Japan and their prices depend on the type of buildings and also the age of the building.

These are the common terms for apartments in Japan.

If you are getting an apartment, you have to decide based on the table above and that is whether to get an R- which is just a room, or 1LDK- which is a1 room, dining,  and kitchen. The different terms represent the interior parts of a house/an apartment.

 Moving out from an apartment.

When moving out of your apartment,  you have to advise the real estate agency or the landlord a month before your final exit date. If you inform them of your moving date very late, you will pay extra fees.

Most landlords usually request the tenant to remove everything before the last inspection. You are required to do a small cleaning up before the last apartment inspection. The cleaning is to make sure everything for the room/apartment is in order. After cleaning is done, you then just have to wait for the day they will show up for the inspection. Always remember to keep extra cash for the inspection.

Disposing of/cycling of big appliances.

Japanese recycling law is very strict about disposing of and recycling electrical appliances and huge household goods. When recycling or disposing of the items, you are required to take them to the proper disposal shops or recycling centers. This process is not free. Different appliances have their own fees. Most times, these items cost a lot to recycle/dispose of.

Disposing of big electrical appliances like fridges, washing machines, TVs, and others is very costly in Japan and each item has to be paid for before recycling or disposal. When I moved out of my old apartment. I have to pay a lot of money for my washing and fridge to be disposed of.

I have to buy the disposal fee and the transportation fee for the items to be taken to the cycling center. But if you do want to pay the costly recycling fee. You can give them away for free by posting them on Facebook or Instagram groups.

Freighting of goods.

Freighting in Japan is very reliable, and the cost is pretty cheap. If you are moving to a new location or to a different prefecture within Japan. I recommended that you post all your baggage to your destination through postal agencies and then travel with only your carry bag. This is much cheaper than bringing all your baggage with you on the plane.

This is the cost of freighting in Japan from one of the biggest freighting companies in Japan.

I usually post my luggage a few days earlier and let them deliver my luggage the day after I arrived at my destination. It is much more economical and convenient.

Acquiring a new apartment in Japan. 

The process of getting a new apartment in Japan is fairly simple. There are 100s of real estate agencies in each city block. Each real estate agency offers different options for those seeking to rent an apartment. It is always better to check several real estate agencies before choosing which one is best for you. 

The real estate agencies in Japan act as brokers between landlords and tenants. Most policies on the contracts documents are directly from the landlord.

Important to remember as a Foreigner in Japan.

In Japan, as a foreigner, it is a little difficult to get an apartment. Many Japanese landlords do not allow their apartments to be rented by foreigners. I am not sure of the reason but I will write an article about it later.

The apartment contract and duration.

In Japan, the process involved in getting an apartment is pretty straight forwards. First, you have to go to the real estate of your choosing and they will discuss with you what sort of apartment you like and the budget you prefer. After discussion, they will show you several of their apartments that are available or will be available soon. Then they will take you to tour these apartments and from there you can decide which one you would like to rent. This process usually takes a day.

Once you have decided on the one you like, then you can proceed on and fill out the application to apply for the apartment that apartment.  After applying, the application will take at least a week to be processed. Usually, the application won't take long. If you have a secure job and a good income, it would take two to three days to be approved. In my case, it took only 3 days to be approved.

The initial cost for apartments in Japan.

There are a lot of variables involved in the initial cost of securing the contract and the apartment. The cost varies from real estate agent to real estate agent. In Japan, the actual monthly rental cost of the apartments depends on the ages of the apartments and the fees included by the agencies 

Below is a basic break up of common variables for the initial cost of acquiring an apartment.

This is an example of the initial fee you have to pay to move into a new apartment. Please take note of various fees. The cleaning fee is also an annoying fee you have to pay either with the initial cost or when you are going to move out of your apartment.

After the initial payment, you have to pay the monthly rent. Some apartments include an internet fee, community service fees, 24-hour maintenance, and others in the monthly rental fee.
Below is an example of a monthly rent breakup

There is a way you can avoid unnecessary initial fee costs, and that is through directly dealing with the property's owner. For my second apartment. I was lucky to be dealing directly with the landlord. I remember the landlord's name is Satou. He told me to only paid the cleaning fee. I did not pay all the unnecessary initial fees one would have paid if dealing with real state agencies. If you can find a landlord, then you will save a lot of money.

Moving into a new apartment.

 After paying the initial fees, it will take a few days for the real estate agencies to fix all documents. During the process of signing the contract document, the real estate agent will ask you; when would you like to move into your new apartment?. You can decide on which date best suits you.

Remember, if you are shifting apartments. You might be required to move your thing from your old apartment to your new apartment. Moving things from an apartment is also very costly. 

One important point to remember. 
After securing the contract for your new apartment. You are required to call the service providers yourself. Like, like water companies, gas companies, and others. Calling them and trying to make a contract with them is very difficult for a foreigner. Most of these companies deal in Japanese. Therefore,  for a foreigner, you need to find a Japanese to help you.

if you want to hire moving companies their cost is very expensive.
  1. For primary movers, it would cost you around 8,000 yen or 60 US dollars /per hour 
  2. For night service movers. A single person with all belonging will cost 20,000-30,00 yen/ 150 -200 US dollars.
If you are moving and on a budget. This cost is more burdensome than convenience. To avoid such heavy costs, you can do the following ;

1. Get help from a friend who has a car.
2. Hire a van by yourself 

Below is the price list of one of Japan's nationwide rent-a-car. Nippon Rent A Cars. The table shows the cost of hiring a van to move household goods. This is the second cheapest option. 

If you don't have a driver's license, you will need a driver to help you. Please ask your friend who has a Japanese or International driver's license. They will help drive for you. Also, to hire a car you would need a driver's license so they can use theirs for you to hire the car.

The price is in Japanese yen.

By Joshua Sasahombi

Sunday 20 August 2023

24hours of Summer Cycling from Sapporo City to Kitami City

                      28th August 7:30 left Sapporo 29th August Reached Kitami City

The Hokkaido cycling goal.

7:30 am I left Kita Ku and headed on my way to Shiretoko National Park.

In 2019, after buying my own bicycle. I made plans to cycle to all the corners of the Island of Hokkaido. From 2019 to 2021 during my stay in Sapporo, I cycled North to Wakanai.The North Tip of the Island of Hokkaido.

I also cycled South to Hokudate. This city is at the southern tip of Hokkaido just over the sea from Aomori Prefecture. After these two trips,  I have one more place to cycle to and that is the  Shiretoko Peninsula on the Easter tip of Hokkaido. 

But towards the end of  2022, I moved to Fukushima and I never get to do the Shiretoko cycling trip. However, the plan of cycling to Shiretoko has always been on my mind since.

In April of 2023, I moved back to Sapporo. When I moved back, I told myself, this is it, during my summer vacation before my knee surgery on August 4th. I have to cycle to Shiretoko to achieve my longtime goal.

For those who don't know. I got my knee injured in June while practicing Judo. After seeing the doctor we scheduled my knee ACL reconstruction surgery for the 4th of August.

Packing and Rolling.

                              The weather was beautiful as I left Kita Ku and started cycling.

A few days before my summer break in late June. I started doing my planning for my Shiretoko bicycle trip. I did planing on what things I should carry with me on my bike, which routes to take, and where should I stop for overnight camping.

I set my Shiretoko cycling trip to begin on July 27th. I wanted to reach Shiretoko and cycle back before my knee surgery. My surgery is in a week's time. Just enough time for me to return from my trip

However, on the 27th, the day of my cycling trip, my company send out an email for our annual drug test and it on the same day of my cycling. It completely bunkers my plan and so I have to postpone until the 28th.

That night I packed my tent, sleeping bag, camping pot, camping gas, and my bike tools. Also, I packed extra clothes and snack foods. The next day I planned to wake up at 4 am and start cycling. However, I slept late that night and work up at 7am on the day of my cycling trip.

Leaving Kita Ku, Sapporo.

                  Leaving Sapporo City and on my way out of Sapporo

July 28th, Friday morning. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was already out and shining bright. In the summer, the sun usually comes out early, usually around 3:30 am. This is the time when you can see the first daybreak.

There were no clouds in the sky. The sky over Kita Ku was blue and beautiful. I knew it was going to be a hot day of cycling.

Around 7:30am, a left home and cycled through the Kita area to the Toyohira River. Taking my usual route to work. The sun was bright and my heart was singing happily as a bike. It was early so there were fewer people and cars on the road.

I cycled past Sapporo Beer Garden, then passed Kita Gas Arena. Kita Gas Arena is a community place for practicing sports. I got my knee injured there. Then I followed route 275 and crossed the  Toyahura River through Kariki Bridge. 

Leaving Sappro.

           8am Arriving at Ebetsu city 18km outside of Sapporo.

Leaving Sapporo behind I headed North east to Ebstu city. I have been to this city many times. My fiancee is from Ebetsu City. 

While cycling, I checked my bike speed, looked at my tires, and checked the weight of my bike. My baby was just rolling along Route 275.

The sun was hot, and there where no breeze. The summer weather in Sapporo always reminded me of my Papua New Guinea. 

Route 275 to Ebetsu is mostly flat. But as it is the main route into the city there are large industrial lots located along the route. Some places along the route are just bushes.

Arriving at Ebetsu city

Left: Main street in Ebestu city                  Right: Overhead Crossing at Ebestu Station

After an hour of cycling, I arrived at Ebetsu Midomachinshi 1, the center of Ebestu at around 8 am. I then headed East, crossing Ebetsu station, and headed straight for route 12.

Ebetsu is a beautful town.At this hour you hardly will see people on the streets. Most are still sleeping or in their houses eating breakfast.

I left Ebestu and pulled into Route 12. This route will take me to Asahikawa City. One of Hokkaido's biggest cities apart from Sapppro. It is located in the middle of Hokkaido west of  Daisentsusan National Park. A 2000m high landscape of mountains, rocks, and hot springs.

6 cities to Ashahikawa.

Right: Toyahoro Station in Ebstsu   Right: Passing through Iwamizawa Main Street

Asahikawa City is 150km from Sappporo and 130km from Ebetsu. From Ebetsu City to Ashahikawa City according to Google Maps, it will take 8 hours by bicycle.

Left: Koshunai Sation in Bibai city      Right:  Stopping to have ice cream at Micho-no Eki at Naie city.

Route 12 will take me from Ebetsu City to  Iwamizawa City, Bibai City, Sunagawa City, Takkikawa City, Moseushi City, and Fukagawa City.

Left: Sungawa city 3 more km                   Right : Hokko Park in Sungawa city

Once I reached Ashahikawa it will cut my total destination distance to half. I will have just 200km more to reach Shiretoko National Park. 

Left: Sorachihashi Bridge over Sorachi River    Right: Takikawa Parking 2km

I planned to camp at Shiratakikoge camping ground. Located halfway between Asahikawa and Abashiri.But you never know, plans do change.

Left: Road site resting place at Fukugawa city.    Right: Heading into Asahikawa

Between Ebetsu and Asahikawa City, the road is flat so, I estimated that it should take me less than 5 hours to reach Asahikawa.

Beautiful scenes in Asahikawa city.Took this picture as a pass through the Ishikari river which runs through Asahikwaka city.

 Night cycling.

Photo taken as I was started my climb up Mt. Daisetsu National Park at Night

I reached Asahikawa City aorund 4:30pm. I cycled through the main street and soon came upon a 100 yen shop. From there I parked my bike outside and went inside and bought a bicycle backlight, extra batteries and a light refect strap.

Then I cycled to Shundokai Park and took a long rest. At the park, while resting I took time to think about where should I camp for the night. There I made a bad decision and set only one camping ground for the night. I should have a few other options.

Taking a 1-hour break at Kamikawa city before going on to climb Mt.Daisetsu, National Park

When I finally left Shundokai Park it was 5pm. I have 1 or 2 more daylight hours of cycling before it's dark. The camping ground I am heading to is still 80km away. I was already exhausted and tired from cycling in the hot 32-degree Celsius sun.

My plan was to reach a small town called Kamikawa and then I will decide whether to take a rest for the night or continue to cycle towards the targeted camping ground.

Left: Having dinner  At Kamikawa             Right: Drinking hot coffee at Seico Mart, Kamikawa city.

Night cycling M.t Daisetsu National Park.

Left: Sounkyo Tourist area at Daisetsu                                Right: Sounkyo Tunnel

I stayed at Kamikawa for more than an hour. Around 11:30pm I left Kamikawa town and headed back for route 39. I was exhausted, but I decided to cycle the whole night.

After cycling 1 or 2 kilometers, I reached the final junction. This is where Route 39 split into Routes 333 and 273.

First, I wanted to take route 333. Taking route 333, I can go around Mt.Daiseteu and I don't have to climb up 2000m. 

However, upon entering Route 333 I saw that the road was complete darkness, with no cars and no lights. So I turned back and took route 273. Not knowing what awaits me. Turning back was a bad decision.

After turning back and heading on Route 273. I cycled for a few km and started the climb. It was around 11:40 when I started climbing Mount Daisatsu. Mt. Daisetsu is around 2000m. My climbing will take me up half that distance.

Daisetsu National Park is a breathtaking place with one of Hokkaido's stunning views. However, cycling at night I never get to see and enjoy these views.

After cycling for 3 hours. I reached Sounkyo.A resort area near Daisetsu Peak. It is a beautiful place located right in a sund valley and it's surrounded by huge mountains cliffs on both sites. There are a lot of hot-spring Japanese bath hotels there too. 

Down breaking 3:45 am at Sekihoku Pass at Daisetsu National Park.

After 4 hours of cycling up Daisetsu National Park. I finally reached Sekihoku Pass. This is where descending to Kitami begins. 

It was 3:45 am when I finally pulled into Sekihoku Pass. I rested there for 30 minutes as I watched the down slowly break. The temperature there was around 18 degrees Celsius and as I was standing there I felt the amazing cool mountain bracing again my body. It was so refreshing.

 After, all night of cycling. I started to feel terrible friction between my legs. It has now become clear to me that getting back on the bike will be very difficult.

After resting, I jumped back on my back and descended down Sekihoku Pass. It took me less than 20 minutes to reach Kitami City from the Sekihoku Pass.

  Left: 4:17am making  my breakfast, Rbeshibechiofukimi Car Park                                                                       Right: Kitami City 28km more to go   

Shiretoko Trip called off.

Left: 9:43 am arrived at Kitami city                         Right: In front of Miwa Park, Kitami city.

After descending down from Daisatsu National Park. I can't cycle anymore because I was so exhausted, sleepy, and in so much pain from friction between my legs. I took a break at a roadside resting place. There, I slept on the bench for that establishment for 1 and a half hours.

 I felt much better after taking a nap but my friction still continues to get worst every time I cycled. So I decided that when I reached Kitami City which is about 20km more to go. Depending on my pain I will either continue this trip or cancel it and return home. 


Left Kitami station Olipc Calying ball moment.      Right: Water fountain at Ko Park Kitmi City.

At 9:45am I arrived at Kitami City. I was so excited but my cycling is getting much more difficult. Every time I tried to cycle my friction pain gets worst and I have to use a lot of power to move forward. So my speed was getting slower and slower. I definitely can not continue on this trip with my current situation.

My thigh and butt are in so much pain and to add to these discomforts, my injured knee also was swollen and gave me more discomfort. All of these make riding impossible.

This is when I told myself. It was time to call off this trip and returned home.

Heading back to Sapporo

At 10 am, I arrived at Kitami Bus Terminal and enquired about the bus ticket to Sapporo. The clerk lady said,  'We will book you for the 1 pm bus because there are fewer passengers'. "Then, you will have space for your bike'.

I paid for the ticket and then went to Ko Park and rested. I waited there till 12:30am and then I went back to the Kitami bus terminal and packed my things and my bicycle. 

The Sapporo bus arrived on time and  I took my bike and placed it in the cargo compartment. I went on the bus and in no time we are on our way to  Sapporo.

Kitami to Sapporo by bus usually takes 6 hours. So, I have enough time to take a good rest.

Sounkyou Daisetsu National Park.A tourist resort area. The photo was taken upon returning to Sapporo by bus. From the background, you can see the roadway up to Mt. Daisetsu Peak.

Before reaching Sappor we made a stopover at Daisetsu National Park Sounkyo Area. We stayed there for an hour before heading to Sapporo. By the time we reached Sapporo, it was 7pm

I got off at Sapporo station resembled my bike and stuff and slowly made my way home. I reached my home at around 8pm.

By Joshua Sasahombi

Summer bike cycling.


My top 3 favourite Pickups Trucks Review

Three of my favourits   pickup trucks  Many of you have seen or have driven at least one of these famously known pickup tricks from the Toyo...