Ironman returns to Japan with IM Japan South Hokkaido

Ironman returns to Japan (Picture: press release)

Ironman has announced that a brand new event is coming to Japan, with the Ironman Japan South Hokkaido triathlon joining the calendar for September 15, 2024.
The IM Japan South Hokkaido race is set to be the first full-distance Ironman triathlon to be held in Japan since 2015, with the race taking athletes back to Hokkaido Island for a completely new destination race.
Ironman Japan South Hokkaido event will be held between two host cities, Hokuto and Kikonai, located on the southern coast of Japan’s northernmost island. South Hokkaido is accessible from Honshu Island via the Tsugaru Kaikyo ferry from Aomori and Oma to the port of Hakodate. Hakodate Airport is a short flight from Tokyo and several other cities in Japan, with the event destination also accessible by train from Tokyo Station in just under four hours.
Athletes will begin their day in the Bay of Hakodate, with a 3.8km swim in the strait which is famous for channel swimmers crossing between Hokkaido and Japan’s main island of Honshu.
The three-loop 180km bike leg will take athletes on the Hakodate-Esashi Expressway, with incredible views of the coastline as they head south-west to Kikonai.
IM Japan South Hokkaido race culminates with a 42.2km run along flat roads through the scenic Kikonai countryside, finishing at the Kikonai City Hall. Once athletes have crossed the finish line they have the opportunity to take in the local hospitality, with hot springs available to unwind and some of the finest seafood and steak from South Hokkaido on offer.
Koichi Tsunashima, Race Director for the IM Japan South Hokkaido event emphasized, “Embark on an unparalleled journey along the exclusive highway bike course, offering stunning vistas at every turn. Post-race, indulge in relaxation at our quaint harbor town hotels, blending the thrill of competition with serene comfort. The Ironman Japan South Hokkaido triathlon promises a perfect harmony of challenge, beauty, and relaxation. Come, race, and unwind in an unforgettable setting – where every stroke, pedal, and stride is a step towards an extraordinary experience.”
Jeff Edwards, Managing Director of Asia for The IM Group, welcomed news that the IM Japan South Hokkaido race is joining the global calendar in 2024.
“We’re thrilled to be returning to northern Japan for the Ironman Japan South Hokkaido race in 2024,” said Edwards. “Japanese races have played an important role in the history of Ironman racing and we look forward to welcoming athletes for a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run for the first time since 2015.
“Our Japanese athletes are incredibly loyal and travel the world to take part in our events and it’s great for them to have a home race once again,” Edwards continued. “The host cities for the Ironman Japan South Hokkaido race of Hokuto and Kikonai will be incredible hosts for this event with plenty to offer for athletes, their families, and supporters before and after the race.”