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Please review: Hokkaido in October Itinerary

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Hi all,

Appreciate your feedback to my tentative itinerary in Hokkaido this October.

10/8: Fly into MMB airport near Shiretoko National Park at noon. Rent car. Drive to Utoro and stay the night. Where? Is Abashiri worth a stopover? What to see in Oct? Any other worthwhile stops on the way to Utoro?

10/9: Boat trip out of Utoro to see Shiretoko NP. Know of any boats specifically catered to bear and wildlife watching in October? Looks like most boats, esp smaller ones, stop running by end of Sept? Afternoon, drive to waterfall, onsen, lakes. Any safe (no bears) short hikes (1 to 2 hours)? All do-able by ourselves or any ranger-led tours? Heard that we need to go on a guided tour around the lakes (5000Y)?? Is it required? We prefer to DIY but with other folks around to be safer. What else? Overnight in Utoro.

10/10: Drive to Akan National Park. Which lakes are must-sees? Any short hikes? What not to miss? Drive toward Daisetsuzan National Park. Where to stay this night?

10/11: What is a good route to follow in Daisetsuzan? We have a car, so can be flexible. What not to miss? Where to stay?

10/12: More Daisetsuzan.

10/13: More Daisetsuzan or other places?

10/14: Drive to Sapporo by early afternoon. Return Car. Stay at Sheraton Sapporo.

10/15: Sapporo. (DH will fly out on 10/16, but I have a week of biz trip here.)

General Questions:
* Please recommend some mid-range lodging options for the places above. We'll be spending a lot of time outside our room, so anything clean and convenient, private room with double bed (shared bath ok), less than $130 USD per room.

* Onsen / Rotenburo. We'll like to soak in an onsen, and better yet an rotenburo, every day/night! Please recommend any good ones, and they don't have to be at our hotel/ryokan. We'll be interested in those in nature that are scenice, nice, and anyone can access too.

* Anything else that can fit in our route? Any places to eat, see.

Thanks very much!

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