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Hokkaido and northern Honshu itinerary advice

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I am planning our third trip to Japan for three weeks in October. Our first trip focused on central Honshu, our second trip we were in Kyushu and western Honshu. For this trip, we want to focus on Hokkaido and perhaps spend some time in northern (eastern) Honshu. I’ve started an itinerary, but would really like your input. I’m not sure how many nights we should devote to each place, and I hate the idea of having a string of one night stays. I also want to limit the amount of time we’ll be reliant on driving (vs. public transportation), although I expect we’ll have to drive a good portion of the first part of this trip. And most importantly, I don’t want to cram too much into our stay.

1. Arrive at 7:45PM Chitose; Overnight near airport
2. Fly to Memanbetsu, pick up car. Drive to Rausu (stay there or Utoro)
3. Lake Kussharo (Akan National Park)
4. Daisetsuzan (Mt. Asahi, Sounkyo Gorge)
5. Biei/Furano
6. Toya Onsen
7. Noboribetsu
8. Otaru, drop off car
9. Sapporo
10. Fly/train to ???

From Hokkaido, I thought of two options: fly into Niigata visit Tokamachi (and possibly Sado Island or one of the onsen towns enroute to Tokyo). Or take the train, visiting Sendai/Matsushima, then on to Nikko before ending in Tokyo. Our last three nights will be in Tokyo, but I can cut that short if necessary

Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer. I didn’t see any recent trip reports and these areas seem to be more off the beaten track since they’re harder to get to.

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