Passing through a tunnel of autumn leaves
After renting electric bicycles, we head out to the forest park in the middle of Hokuseiyama. With the sunlight filtering through the trees, the vast forest has a fairy tale-like atmosphere. We hear the rustle of the fallen leaves under our wheels as we pass through a tunnel of autumn foliage.
In this forest park, there are 3 walking paths. One of them is called “Ezorisu no Michi” or Squirrel Path. As the name suggests, here you’ll likely catch a glimpse of cute Hokkaido squirrels nimbly scampering about. It’s the busiest time of the year, as they collect and store nuts in preparation for the coming winter.
Riding by the yellow leaves of white birch trees
We leave the forest park and head north. When riding in groups along public roads, remember to ride in single file, and be wary of passing cars. Along the road, we see a common sight for Hokkaido drivers: the posts of red and white arrows pointing downward. These arrows mark the edge of the road, and are especially helpful in winter when snow covers everything on the ground in white.
Passing a torii gate towards a red shrine
As we go down the sloping road, we see a torii gate ahead. From here, we go up a long flight of stone steps to reach a red shrine building. This shrine is one of the town’s most popular spots in spring, when cherry blossom trees around the site come into bloom.
Stopping for lunch at a rustic cafe
Feeling the hunger pangs at noon, and lured by the aroma of freshly baked bread, we come upon a cafe shrouded by trees. We sit at the table by the window, and enjoy a lunch plate of sourdough bread sandwiches. Re-energized, we decide to continue our cycling adventure to places a little further away.
An endless stretch of straight road
We leave the Hokuseiyama area and head towards the countryside. The road goes through gently sloping hills surrounded by vast farm fields. Further beyond, we see mountains covered with trees in autumn colors, a scene that resembles a beautiful painting of the autumn countryside. We could just look at it for hours, as we slowly ride down a seemingly endless straight road.