In search of Echigo’s traditions and tastes: the ultimate travel guide to Niigata prefecture’s tourist attractions and gourmet food

日本が大好きになる図書館 | Fall in love with Japan, Library Charm of 47 prefectures

Dig deep into the charm of Niigata Prefecture! History and Discoveries Through the Eyes of a Female Travel Writer

The History Behind the Beauty of Niigata Prefecture

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Niigata Prefecture has a deep history

Niigata Prefecture is one of the places that fascinated me most with its history and culture during my 47 prefecture trip. With its diverse historical background dating back to the Jomon period, this prefecture has a uniqueness that sets it apart from other regions.

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 Influence of the Jomon period

In Niigata Prefecture, there are many ruins where you can feel the culture and lifestyle of Japan’s Jomon period. The pottery and relics unearthed in this area provide clues to the lives of ancient people. For example, at the “Niigata City Museum of History” in Niigata City, you can imagine everyday life in the Jomon period through these relics.

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Development as a port town

Facing the Sea of Japan, Niigata Prefecture has long prospered as an important trading point. In particular, during the Meiji period, it became known as a “rice-producing region of Japan.” During this period, trade with various parts of Japan and Asian countries flourished through Niigata Port. As a result, the average income remained at a very high level compared to other prefectures.

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my visit experience

When I visited Niigata Prefecture, I was particularly attracted to “Joetsu City”. In this area, buildings and townscapes from the Edo period have been handed down to the present day, and you can enjoy the historical atmosphere. Also, the skiing and hot spring experience at the “Nihonkai Uonuma Winter Resort” was exceptional.

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Part of the charm of Niigata Prefecture

In this way, Niigata Prefecture is full of historical attractions. However, not only the history but also the beautiful natural environment and food culture are the major attractions of this prefecture. In the next part, I will delve deeper into the nature and food of Niigata Prefecture with my own experiences.

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The charm of nature and food in Niigata Prefecture

natural scenery

Niigata Prefecture has attractive scenery that changes with the seasons. In summer, the crystal clear waters of the Sea of Japan create beautiful beaches that attract many tourists. Bentenhama Beach is especially known for its beautiful coastline. In winter, the snow-capped mountains attract ski and snowboard enthusiasts.

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rice fields in japan

Niigata prefecture is famous for its rice production. In particular, “Uonuma Koshihikari” is known all over Japan for its deliciousness. I also enjoyed this delicious rice when I visited. The rice produced by Niigata’s delicious water and climate is a bit different from other regions.

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A treasure trove of local sake

In addition, Niigata Prefecture boasts the largest production volume of sake in Japan. Among them, there are many brands that are famous nationwide, such as “Hakkaisan” and “Koshino Kanbai”. During my trip, I enjoyed a sake brewery tour and tasting at Niigata Sake no Yakata. The taste of sake produced by Niigata rice and pure water was truly exquisite.

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bountiful seafood

Niigata Prefecture, which faces the Sea of Japan, is also rich in seafood. In particular, at the Teradomari Fish Market in Niigata City, you can taste fresh seafood on the spot. I also had a seafood bowl at the market, which was excellent. The taste of fresh seafood stands out even compared to other regions.

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My recommended gourmet spots

At Ajidokoro Tankuma in Niigata City, you can enjoy dishes made with fresh local ingredients. In particular, the local cuisine paired with Niigata’s local sake is sure to leave a lasting memory of your trip.

Things to see and do in Niigata Prefecture

Historical townscape “Ojiya”

Ojiya City is known for its historic townscape, which retains the atmosphere of the Edo period. While walking through the old streets of Ojiya, I enjoyed the architecture of former merchant houses and storehouses. In particular, don’t miss the exhibition of “Ojiya Doncho” made with traditional techniques.

Natural paradise “Sado Island”

Sado Island is an island rich in nature located in the western part of Niigata Prefecture. The island is home to many endangered species and rare flora and fauna. I experienced mining the “Sado Gold Mine” and drove along the beautiful Sado coastline to fully enjoy the charm of the island.

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The center of art “Echigo-Tsumari Earth Art Festival”

The Echigo-Tsumari Art Festival, held in Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, is a biennale-style art festival that attracts many artists from Japan and abroad. This festival, where various works of art were exhibited, was a memorable experience for me.

A ski and snowboard paradise

Niigata Prefecture has many ski resorts that boast high-quality snow, such as Naeba Ski Resort and Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort. If you visit in winter, skiing or snowboarding while enjoying the powdered snow here is definitely recommended.

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Onsen Heaven

Niigata Prefecture is also rich in hot spring resorts, and there are hot spring resorts such as “Yunoya Onsen” and “Yahiko Onsen” where you can heal your fatigue with superb views. I also spent a luxurious time at these hot spring resorts to heal the fatigue of my trip.

We introduced the attractions of sightseeing and activities in Niigata Prefecture. Niigata Prefecture is a region with a wide range of attractions, including history, nature, food, tourist attractions, and activities. We hope that through this article, you will be able to feel even a little bit of the deep charm of Niigata Prefecture.

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日本が大好きになる図書館 | Fall in love with Japan, Library

Encounters and Impressions in Niigata Prefecture

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Niigata Morning Market, a place for interaction

In Niigata City, there is the Niigata Morning Market, which is held every morning. Local farmers and fishermen sell the freshest products of the day. I also interacted with many local people at this morning market and was able to obtain fresh ingredients. A place where you can feel the warmth of the locals and the charm of fresh ingredients.

“Niigata Festival” where you can feel the local culture

In summer, Niigata City comes alive with the Niigata Festival. Gorgeous floats, dances, and traditional local dance performances unfold. I also participated in this festival and had the experience of dancing with the locals and pulling a float. At that moment, I was able to feel the regional ties and the depth of culture in Niigata.

a memorable encounter

The encounters you make during your travels will give you an opportunity to learn more about the charms of the area. In Niigata Prefecture, I met many local people. Among them, an encounter with an elderly couple is particularly memorable. They treated me to homemade sake and told me about the life and history of the area. Spending time with them made me feel the charm of Niigata more deeply.

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at the end of the trip

The few days I spent in Niigata Prefecture were filled with the beauty of nature, the abundance of food, the depth of history, and the chance to meet the locals. This kind of experience is unique to Niigata Prefecture and cannot be obtained in any other prefecture.

I would like to share what I felt while traveling in Niigata Prefecture and the impressions I got from interacting with the people I met. Next time, I plan to tell you about my experience in another prefecture. Each region of Japan has its own unique charm, so please look forward to it!

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Historical building chosen by Kasumi

Niigata Prefecture has a long history and is dotted with many historical buildings. This time, I would like to introduce 5 historical buildings in Niigata Prefecture that particularly left a deep impression on me. Each building has a “Kasumi Point” to convey its charm.

Northern Culture Museum (Chuo Ward, Niigata City)

  – Kasumi Point: This museum is located in the former residence of Kizaemon Sato, a wealthy Niigata merchant, and offers a glimpse into the life of a wealthy merchant in the early Showa era. The garden is also beautiful, and you can enjoy the atmosphere of each season.

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Kuromatsumon Gate (Chuo Ward, Niigata City)

  – Kasumi Point: This gate, which exists as a remnant of Niigata Castle, gives you a sense of the architectural techniques of the Edo period. The simple yet dignified appearance is something to see.

Yahiko Shrine (Yahiko Village, Nishikanbara District)

  – Kasumi Point: This shrine has a formal atmosphere with the mountain at its back, and is crowded with many worshipers. The historical buildings and sculptures are detailed, and each has its own meaning and background, so there are new discoveries depending on the viewing angle.

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Castle Ruins Gate in Takada Park (Joetsu City)

  – Kasumi Point: A symbol of the Joetsu area, it was once used as the gate of Takada Castle. Cherry blossoms and autumn leaves are beautiful depending on the season, and the contrast between the historical buildings and nature is attractive.

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Former Iwamuro Elementary School Main Building (Nishi Ward, Niigata City)

  – Kasumi Point: This building, which represents school architecture in the early Showa period, has a retro atmosphere. The red brick walls and windows make us feel the educational environment and architectural culture of the time.

These buildings are places where you can deeply feel the history and culture of Niigata Prefecture. By all means, when you visit Niigata Prefecture, please visit these historical buildings and experience their charm.