Japan

Day 2&3: Sapporo

Rain

We wake up with a steady trickle of rain on the tent. Ugh. We try to wait it out for a bit, but one look outside tells us that it probably won’t stop raining anytime soon. At least it’s a steady drizzle and not a full-on downpour, but it will stay with us the entire day as we slowly cycle the 40km or so to the city.

I pre-loaded this route to my gps watch before, so navigation is super easy through the farmfields to Kitahiroshima. There is the starting point of a bike path that will take us straight into the heart of Sapporo.

Before turning on to the path we stop at a Konbini (convenience store, these are everywhere!) to buy a second breakfast. There are other cyclists! An older American couple that have been touring for 2,5 weeks and are almost at the end of their tour. They assure us this is the first day where they have to wear all their rain gear, so that offers little hope, but we know September is the rainiest month of the year for Hokkaido, so surely there will be more days like this.

Despite the rain, the cycle path is glorious! No traffic at all, easy to navigate, and there’s even a ‘bicycle station’ with a real pump so we can finally get our tires to the right pressure. Our shitty little hand pump can only do so much, and because we’ve had to deflate the tires in the plane they were a bit too squishy.

City errands

Upon arrival in Sapporo we have some errands to make. Priority #1: get ‘tourist’ simcards with a databundle so we can have internet. This takes an hour and a half because the shop turns out to be in a busy underpass and is hard to find. After that and lunch it’s time to find the address of our warmshowers host Gery, almost on the other end of town. We arrive there at dusk and realize we lost the actual address, and because our simcards aren’t activated yet, we have to set out to find a Konbini, get internet, get the address, and find our host. At least it’s dry now! Finally, an hour later, we step out of under a hot shower and feel at least hundred times better. City navigation is always slow and annoying and just tiring, so glad we can sleep in a real bed tonight.

Getting out

Despite the comfy bed we both had a terrible night of sleep, so have a very slow morning. We still have errands to do, mostly getting a basic dinner kit together, so by the time we start navigating out of the city it is already 1pm. Ugh. Again hectic city navigation: do you stick to the busy main roads that are easy to follow or do you navigate zig-zag through alleys? Because we’re in a hurry we choose the first option, and surprisingly, for a city of 2 milion, traffic is very polite and it’s not that bad. We pass through suburb after suburb, and poof! Suddenly we’re surrounded by farm fields.

In the dark (again…sun sets really early here and we’re apparently not used to that yet) we arrive at a michi-no-eki, or a road side station. Basically a huge parking lot with toilet facilities, a konbini, and in this case a hotel and an onsen (bath house) but luckily for us there is a tiny park in a corner, just big enough to pitch our tent, cook dinner, and pass out.

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