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Transportation and itinerary help

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We are planning a few days through Japan prior to getting on a cruise April 23, 2017. This is our itinerary :

Arrive Tokyo late afternoon, spend the night
Train to somewhere for two nights ( this is where we need help)
Then train to Kanazawa for three nights
Train to Kyoto for four nights
Train to Tokyo three nights
Train to Yokohama port, board ship

We can't decide where to go for the two nights between Tokyo and Kanazawa where travel time will be the shortest. We considered Nagano for the Snow Monkeys but it is off season from what I have read, I looked into Tokoyama but the train route seems long for two nights, and I was advised to take two buses to Kyoto as opposed to the train.
Another idea might be to do day trips from Tokyo because we will have more time later to see the city itself. Can we day trip to Nikko?

Any ideas? Also, where can I pick up the bullet train between cities? Will a train pass cover any of my travels, inner and outer city's?

Thanks,
Alison

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