Just wanted to say a big "thank you" to all (especially Amanda, Shot, Sammy and Kateam) who gave tips and advice when I was planning my family's trip to Hokkaido (and Osaka/Kyoto). We came back on Sunday and wished we could have stayed longer!
My husband was even adventurous (or rather, crazy) enough to climb up Mt Kuradake whilst we were in Sounkyo with my little baby (she just turned one 3 days ago) strapped to him in a baby carrier whilst I carried her milk and our bit of food / water supply.. I kept telling him at the bginning that we weren't going to make it up to the top but we did! (after 1.5 hours of climbing up the numerous steps and stones) The view from the top was great and it was a really memorable experience. (of course, as it was a last minute decision to do the climb and we had not really prepared for it, I had to suffer from blisters and aching muscles for the next 2 days after that).
We saw lots of deers at Shiretoko (and Nara) but unfortunately didn't get to see any wild foxes (except for a few rather sad looking ones that were chained outside a "souvenir shop" looking place as we were enroute from Biei to Akan.).
Our rented car's GPS went a bit haywire in Furano / Biei and shiretoko so we got a bit lost here and there when we were looking for the smaller places / locations (esp. in the Biei area) but think we got better and the hang of it after the first few days. Of course, the general directions and getting from one town to another was not a problem as all. Was really glad that we drove...if not, I dont think we could have visited the small interesting places that we stopped at along the way. =)
We accidently chanced upon the Kumagera restaurant at Furano that Kateam had mentioned and tried the beef sashimi and nabe there...it was delicious! We tried looking for something similar at the other places that we visited after that, but we couldn't (and my hubby was really disappointed that he couldnt get another taste of it before we left Japan).
We also found the bag forwarding (Takkyubin) service excellent, reliable and very helpful for our trip as we were taking the trains (including the local non-JR trains) and buses at the later part of our trip, so that made life a lot easier too as we couldnt carry that much with our baby strapped to one of us.
All in all, we loved Japan and would love to visit again!