This is my second post on this topic and I'm hoping someone can provide advise.
My wife and I have wanted to see the festival for many years and this coming year is about the best time for us. I have not yet made flight reservations but am looking at either flying directly to Sapporo or into Tokyo and then taking the train round trip with a rail pass. We will most likely arrive in Japan on Feb 5 and depart on Feb 13.
If we opt for the train option, I understand that we cannot make reservations on the Tokyo to Sapporo train until we have the pass validated in Tokyo. Does this seem like a viable option? I would hate to get all the way to Tokyo and then find there were no seats to/from Sapporo. This option would allow us to spend a few days in and around Tokyo either before or after the snow festival.
However, this option might be problematic in terms of booking a hotel in Sapporo since we might not get to Sapporo on the day we plan.
Any help is appreciated.