My partner and I are planning a trip to Japan in 2012 and would love sight seeing and itinerary suggestions from anyone who has seen Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido within the same trip. I've always wanted to see the Japanese macaque / snow monkeys in Hokkaido. How much time should one allow to have a few days in Tokyo, few days in Osaka and then enough time to see the snow monkeys up north? What is the best season to go to see the monkeys? Do you need to hire a tour guide, or can you do a self-guided hike? Thanks!