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Thoughts Please for an Overnight between Karuizawa and Nikko

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Hi All

Would love some input again, since board members nailed it on my recent Nagoya thread!

4 nts in Kanazawa (booked Hotel Trusty directly via email)
1 nt Wajima (booked into Hotel Route-Inn Wajima)
1 nt Ogi (booked ocean view room, at Hyakurakuso, but with a second 2 nt booking if we decide to skip firefly squidding)
1 nt Toyama Bay (nothing booked, to see firefly squid at night, out of Namerakawa)
2 nts Karuizawa (booked into Hoshinoyo resort, dates can't be moved)

*** UNASSIGNED NIGHT ***

2 nts Nikko (in Kai Nikko, by lake, not by temples / shrines, dates can't be moved)

I'm struggling with that unassigned night. I'd really love to visit Chichibu Whisky Distillery (Ichiro's Malts) but I am coming up short with any other attractions in that area, and where we'd overnight.

We'll have a rental car from Kanazawa, btw and thinking to keep it till Nikko.

Other options:
* Jigokudani Monkey Park - would be going backwards from Karuizawa, plus not sure whether it's worthwhile for a single night, taking travel into account - what do you think? We're driving so not reliant on public transport.
* Osenkaku Ryokan at Takarawaga Onsen (worth it for one night?)
* Mashiko (a little past Nikko but not a problem, routing-wise. For the pottery, but not the big fair which is a little later in Golden Week).

And any other ideas you may have?
Grateful for input!
x
Kavey

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