Cycling in Sapporo, Japan

I have written three St Kilda articles since I had made a debut on this great sport community site, but as the AFL season is over, not so many news happen in footy. So this time, I am writing about my frequent and favourite activity, cycling.

Cycling is an easy exercise and does not cost much. Bikes will be expensive in Australia, but we have cheap bikes as well as luxury ones. The price range for new bikes starts at around 15,000 yen (around $150) with a simple one without a gear and with a basket in the front. I bought a mountain bike at 18,000 yen (approximate $180) last year, however it can be used only on roads.

Most Japanese cyclists ride for only a short distance. For example, they ride a bike for a few kilometres to a nearest subway station and then get on a subway train to commute to a workplace. Here in Sapporo, Japan, subway and JR (Japanese Railway who operate commuter and intercity trains) stations have bicycle parks around the stations so people can park a bike and hop on a train.

But I ride a bike for longer than these types of people. For example, I live in a southern suburb and it takes about five minutes on foot from a nearest subway station and 10 minutes on subway to get to the city centre. However I choose to ride a bike to the city centre taking approximate 25 minutes unless it’s raining or snowing. Even I ride places beyond the city centre and other side of the city where is further than the distance to the city centre. Ten kilometres would be my territory for bike rides. Maybe even further.

Yoshi Cycling

Cycling is a moderate exercise and recommended by medical experts for both physical and mental reasons. The activity helps digest food more productively, circulate blood in body system, and reduces stress.

Other things I find positively in cycling are a) I can stop anytime anywhere I want, b) I can enjoy seeing views, c) I may be able to find interesting places and/or shops, d) I don’t need to worry about travelling on a crowded train on peak hours, and e) I can save money for not using public transport although I spend money on sport drinks and having another shower after riding.

On cycling between my apartment and town, I usually go through a park called Nakajima Park located south of the city centre, or ride on a river bank bike way. Riding a bike surrounding trees makes me happy because of fresh air and a bit isolated from noise. In the summer, I usually take a break in the morning for between half an hour and an hour at Nakajima Park or Odori Park in the city centre to let sweat dry and to relax with reading a book or online news.

Unlikely to Australia, wearing a helmet whilst riding a bike is not required by law here in Japan. However I wear it now because I had an accident last year, collided with a small van and was thrown on a road and hit right parts of head, shoulder and leg. Fortunately it was only minor and I had just medical checks at a nearby hospital. Then I realised that I should wear a helmet to reduce any damage and pain in any case if I get involved in such an accident again (hope not! Also I was run over when I was six).

Sadly as a human, I am not perfect everything on cycling either. I can ride fast (maybe not as fast as Australians) when riding flat roads, but speed is reduced at steep and in windy conditions. One day I have watched a sport news video that Olympic cyclists had training to improve skills under the condition where heavy wind blows. It is very hard for me to be like them and to perform well on windy days! But I would like to challenge a cycling competition one day. Although I won’t be able to perform like Cadal Evans, I will enjoy joining a competition and taking a big challenge.

Another sad story about cycling here in Sapporo is that we can ride a bike between mid-April and mid-November due to long, cold and snowy winters.

Yoshi Sapporo

But I have more positive things in cycling, and do enjoy cycling in these days. As I am not a guy who goes to a gym, cycling is the main exercise at this stage. However I would like to play tennis again after moving to Australia.

Not only playing tennis again but also I want to ride a bike for longer and longer, and I want to go on a cycling holiday to enjoy beautiful scenery.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    I agree Yoshi , cycling is such a great activity and there are so many countries where cyclists can enjoy touring around. In Australia we have cycle paths in the major cities and also in some country areas we have a network of cycling paths between towns such as the ‘rail trails’ in North East Victoria where the old railway lines have been converted into cycle paths . In some areas there are netwoks of mountain bike trails as well.

  2. Hi Pamela,

    Thanks for your comment and telling me about cycling in Australia. Riding a bike on a cycle path sounds nice. Are cycle pathes only used by cyclists? Can you see beautiful scenery on a country side cycle path? Here in Sapporo, one bike way has been converted from the old railway tracks (the rail line has been diverted).


  3. Cycling is great fun. Especially where I live Yoshi… ST KILDA! We have lots of tracks that follow the beach and are great fun to ride on a sunny day. I don’t do it as often as I used to, but when I do, i take my iPod and listen to music as I ride. It’s great fun.

  4. G’day Steve,

    Thanks for your comment and what you mention us makes me wish to visit St Kilda (the suburb where my favourite footy club was established) and ride a bike there. I hope you will have spare time to enjoy cycling in St Kilda!


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