Route Introduction - Kenashi Pass 1/2 (Otaru Side)
We are going to introduce the Kenashi Pass in two pages. The first page presents the Otaru side of the pass and the second page presents the summit and the Akaigawa side.
The Kenashi Pass has become the most popular training route among us for following reasons.
The view from the route is quite good. From several points on the route, you can see the Sea of Japan. (Some photos do not show it well because of the bad quality of the photos and bad contrast between the sea and the clouds or sky.)
View of the Sea of Japan from the 470m point.
View of the Sea of Japan from the 510m point.
View of the Sea of Japan from the 600m point.
The view of Otaru is magnificent. Because of the barricade of snow blocking the view, this photo doesn't show enough the magnificence of the view. Beyond this barricade, the view of the city of Otaru, its port, if you have a chance, the Cape Ofuyu and the Mashike Mountain District beyond the Ishikari Bay spreads out. This photo was taken at the 490m point.
The view of the city from this point is like this. The photo below was taken at the observatory car park at the 470m point during the summer. The city of Otaru, its port and the Cape Takashima are upon the photo and they are very beautiful. Unfortunately, this parking is closed due to snow during the winter, but you can enjoy almost same scenery from the road in winter.
On the National Route 393 on which the Kenashi Pass is situated, there are several free parkings between Otaru and Akaigawa. As in winter, it is hard to ride a bike more than a hundred kilometres with heavy studded tires, a couple of cyclists use their cars to reach their training location. Hence, the availability of free parkings is an important factor in winter training. At the Otaru side, there are 4 parkings at 250m, 470m, 510m and one another between the parking at 510m and the summit. The parking at 470m is closed in winter as we mentioned above. And there is a parking at the Akaigawa side that we will introduce in the "Kenashi Pass 2/2".
We often do time trials of 6.84km from the car parking situated at 510m to the summit. These photos of the time trial start point were taken at the exit of the parking. On the sign you see on the right photo, it is written "Kenashi Pass" although the real Kenashi Pass is 6.84km far from here. On the left photo, you see a mountain on which there is a rainfall radar at the summit. This radar covers the most part of West-central Hokkaido
The Kenashi Pass is well known for heavy quantity of snowfall because of its geographical location. The seasonal wind from west-northwest brings about heavy snowfalls. At the Otaru side, it doesn't snow much (but snows more than in Sapporo). The climate changes between the summit of the Kenashi Pass and Otaru. In Otaru, it snows about 7m a year but in Akaigawa, it snows about 12m a year and at the Kenashi Pass, it snows more. Therefore, the road is often covered with fresh snow and it's suitable for riding a bike. However, it sometimes snows too much and the road becomes difficult to ride on.
Before reaching the summit, there are two small hills you must get over to reach the summit. This photo was taken on the uphill to the second hill.
As another advantage of the Kenashi Pass, there is a light traffic. In comparison with the other National Routes, the traffic on the National Route 393 is much lighter. However, there is a moderate traffic, especially between Otaru and Kiroro Skiing Resort, not many lorries but many buses carring skiers. You better avoid the hours between 8:30 and 10:30 to ride from Otaru to Akaigawa because many skiers rush to the Kiroro Skiing Resort in-between. We guess there is a rush hour in the afternoon in the other direction. But we are not sure about that because we usually don't train in the afternoon there.