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> Hokkaido overland to Tokyo in Sept.
katom
post Aug 6 2010, 02:14 AM
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Hi
We are flying up to Sapporo on arrival at Tokyo in Sept. and after 4 days in Hokkaido will make our way down to Tokyo again. We've got 3 weeks and have been to most parts of Japan in three previous visits...we're 60 ish so no loong hikes ok?

We're thinking Sapporo-Hirosaki-Morioka-Sendai-Aizu-Matsumoto-Kiso Valley-Tokyo and it looks like a JREast 3 day pass would take care of the longer distances while we would like to rent a car sometimes to get to interesting places along the way.

Has anyone done this route and can advise on not to be missed sights and experiences please?

cheers air_kiss.gif
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xerius
post Aug 11 2010, 11:31 AM
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Hokkaido's a beautiful part of the country, and probably the only area of Japan where you can encounter vast tracts of wilderness with little to no sign of human habitation. That said, I haven't really hit any of the parks and (non-urban) scenic spots yet, so I can't advise on hiking and the like. Daisetsuzan tends to get good marks though, and it's fairly close to Sapporo. What advice I would give, however, is to tack on Hakodate, which is probably the nicest city in Hokkaido, and certainly one with a good deal of visible history.

Around Morioka, you have Kakunodate close to Tazawa-ko in neighboring Akita Prefecture - a great, picturesque town full of old samurai residences. And between Morioka and Sendai, Hiraizumi is a very worthwhile stop, with the unique and stunning golden hall at Chūson-ji. And just east of Sendai there's Matsushima, which I'd also highly recommend. While you're going through Tohoku though, you really should try and hit at least one hot spring: a few famous ones along your route would be Akiu Onsen near Sendai, Nyuto Onsen close to Kakunodate/Tazawa-ko and Hachimantai close to Morioka (also a prime hiking spot).

I've never had the luxury of traveling Hokkaido or Tohoku by car, but those two regions of Japan are made for it: lower population, little overall traffic, lots of scenic drives. The distances can be large, but you'll have much greater flexibility in your planning that way.
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