Riding Two Wheels To Toya With Rhythm Japan
Take a look at our cycling tour with Rhythm Japan from last week! Ostriches, fresh baked bread, lovely sights and more!
Last week, we spent a full day with the summer crew from Rhythm Japan making our way from Niseko to Lake Toya. Our trip took as up and down along the mountainous roads and past some pretty remarkable sites and scenes. Take a look at some of the highlights of our adventure below!
Our plan was simple, bike to Lake Toya and stop off along the way at a few of the many interesting points of interest along the way.
Unfortunately, the weather decided to be a bit uncooperative in and around the resort. The drizzle was enough that we decided we might ride in Rhythm's support van until we were a bit closer to Lake Toya where it wasn't raining.
We readjusted our plan to match the weather with the Rhythm crew and picked out a few stops along the way to Lake Toya. Once we got to the lake, we were going to hop on our bikes, ride for a bit, grab lunch and then get out on the water on some stand up paddle boards (SUPs).
Niseko Ostrich Farm
Ostriches are surprisingly big creatures. You see them on TV or in a book and you can tell that they are large, but face-to-face, nose-to-beak, they are almost unnerving!
The farm usually commands a respectable view of Mt Yotei in the distance, but due to the day's drizzle, we couldn't see past the clouds. Even so, the ostriches provided us with plenty entertainment. For just ¥100 we could buy a packet of ostrich feed which ended up providing us with a couple minutes of furious head bobbing as they pecked away at the feed trough. Check out the video from our Facebook page below for a laugh!
Our next stop was only a bit further along from the ostrich farm. Apparently, the little bakery—which really is out in the middle of nowhere—is said to be one of the top two bakeries in all of Hokkaido!
From what our friends at Rhythm told us, in order to be certain to get something you need to be there before 10:00 am. The sooner you get there the warmer and fresher the bread is and the greater the selection is to choose from.
When we arrived at our main destination it was still well before lunch. We hopped on our bicycles and head off, following behind one of the guides from Rhythm. The weather was much clearer in Toya, as predicted, but the skies were still a bit overcast.
The circuit around the lake is an easy ride, mostly flat sections with the occasional rise and drop. It wasn't hard peddling on the cross-bikes we borrowed from Rhythm. They even brought along a pair of electric-assisted bicycles and we all took turns trying them out.
The lakeside is lined with lovely rice farms, tiny temples and plenty of great spots to stop and take a photo.
Each stop was a great chance to chat about the area, take a few photos and sip some water before hopping back on the bicycles. At one point not too long into the day, we walked down to the lakeside along a little rocky beach.
We spent about ten minutes cooling down and a few of us went in search of smooth, flat stones to skip along the water.
Crepes for Lunch
We didn't make it all the way around the lake that morning, but it was an option had we opted for it. Our guides loaded the bikes back onto the support van when we got back to our starting point just as we started to wonder about lunch. There are a number of different places to choose from, there is a little lakeside station and a couple different restaurants along the main stretch. We chose to walk over to a little creperie called Cafe Lake Toya where we fueled back up before the day's final adventure.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
In total, we spent about two hours out on the lake. It took a little while for us to figure out the balance and build up our confidence, but once we did it was a real blast. Trying to bump each other off our boards and playing some great games that the Rhythm team taught us really made the day.
A few of us worried over the water temperature. It was the end of June and summer had only just started, but the water was really warm. Lake Toya is a geothermal lake and it never freezes over, even during the winter. This probably means it warms up a bit quicker when summer rolls around.
When the day was done at last, we brought our SUPs back to the support van, changed into dry clothes and headed back to Rhythm in Hirafu.
If you think you might like to have a day like ours, be sure to take a look at Rhythm's website for more information on booking a tour. The Rhythm summer guide team are very friendly and flexible and are happy to help you and your group find the right balance of activities to make the most of your time here in Niseko during the summer.
There are plenty of different water sports and cycling activities to keep you busy when the weather is warm. Be sure to keep an eye on the Experience Niseko news pages this summer, as we will be bringing you all kinds of stories on how to enjoy Niseko's summer.