Niigata Travel Information
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About Niigata City || Attractions || Foods

About Niigata city

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The city of Niigata lies on about the same latitude as Tianjin, Lisbon and San Francisco. Located 250 km north-northwest of Tokyo, Niigata City is two hours away from the capital by bullet train on the Joetsu Shinkansen line. Niigata City has a population of 810,000 and an area of 726.1 km2. It also has a rich natural environment with many bodies of water, including the Sea of Japan, the Shinano River, the Agano River, lagoons and wetlands. The fertile fields of the vast Echigo Plain produce a multitude of rice-based products and agricultural produce in addition to making Niigata Japan's number one producer of tulips and various other flowers.

Niigata City's transportation infrastructure is equipped with an international airport and harbor, high-speed bullet train, and a network of highways. With both a sound commercial base and the largest area of rice-fields in all of Japan, Niigata city's unique characteristics and capabilities combine to make it a distinctly attractive city.

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Attractions

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Northern Culture Museum
The former estate of wealthy landowner Bunkichi Ito, a traditional Japanese-style manor with 65 rooms, was built over a period of eight years starting in 1882.

Toki Messe Observation Deck
Toki Messe is a modern multi-use convention center that houses many facilities including an international exhibition hall, international conference rooms, and a hotel. The observation deck on the top floor is a new tourist spot where you can observe a 360° panoramic view of Niigata City.

Niigata City History Museum "Minatopia"
A museum where you can learn about the history and culture of the port town of Niigata.
Audio explanations and brochures are available in English, Korean, Chinese, and Russian.

Old Customs House
The Old Customs House is a special feature of the port city of Niigata that was built in 1869, and is currently preserved from its original state. It is on the grounds of the Niigata City History Museum, and has been designated a nationally important cultural property.

Niigata City Aquarium "Marinepia Nihonkai"
An aquarium where you can see approximately 20,000 animals of 450 different species. The view is thrilling from the "marine tunnel" on the bottom of the main tank. A popular dolphin show also takes place daily. Brochures are available in English, Chinese, Korean, and Russian.

Hakusan Park and Hakusan Shrine
In 1873, Hakusan Park was designated the first municipal park in Japan. Ponds, hills, and greenery are spread out amongst the Dutch-style recreational garden. Memorial plaques are also dotted about the park. Ume trees, cherry blossoms, wisteria, and lotus plants blossom throughout the seasons, allowing one to relax and enjoy a stroll without leaving the city. Hakusan Shrine, known affectionately as "Hakusan-sama", is also located within the park.

Niigata Prefectural Government Memorial Hall
The former meeting hall of the Niigata Prefectural Assembly, erected in 1883. Constructed out of wood in a mix of Japanese architecture and Western technology, the hall was designated a Nationally Important Cultural Property in 1966.

Niigata Furusato Village
A large facility that introduces the tourist spots and local products of Niigata. The Appeal Hall introduces the history and culture of Niigata along with the newest tourist information. In the Bazaar Hall, sample or buy local sake, seafood, and other special products.
Guide maps are available in English, Chinese, and Korean.

Enkikan
A reconstructed section of the mansion of a wealthy merchant named Saito from the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The house is open to the public and is a site for cultural activities such as tea ceremony, ikebana, and haiku. For 300 yen you can enjoy green tea.

Niigata Furumachi Engei-jo Theater
A large theater with music, dance, and performance that will bring laughs, tears, and emotions.

Fukushima Lagoon
Fukushima Lagoon is home to the largest number of migrating Bean Geese, a nationally protected species. This natural treasure trove is home to over 220 confirmed varieties of wild bird. Video and exhibits about local flora and fauna can be viewed at the "View Fukushimagata" hall. You can experience houses with old-style thatched roofing at the exchange facility "Kataraitei". There is an English website.

Shirone Tourist Gardens
At these tourist gardens in Shirone, kingdom of fruit, experience picking fruit such as grapes, strawberries, and pears.
Shirone is located in the center of the Niigata Plain, surrounded by the Shinano and Nakanokuchi rivers and blessed with fertile soil. There are many fruit gardens and orchards that are popular all year round.

Shirone Kite and History Museum
Shirone is the home to the 300 year old Giant Kite Battle. Here you will find the very unique kite museum. Starting with the giant Shirone Kites, 800 kites from around Japan and the world are on display. Anybody can feel free to experience making and flying kites within the museum.

Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium
A stadium that was a venue for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The huge white roof was built to resemble the swans that settle on the Toyano Lagoon. Capacity is 42,300 people. The stadium is the home venue for the professional J-League Level 1 soccer team Albirex Niigata.

Sakyu-kan
In 1933 the head of the Bank of Japan's Niigata branch had this traditional Japanese wood-constructed manor constructed as his home.

Minato Inari Shrine
In the Edo Period, women would pray to a famous stone dog carving here for rough weather so that ships could not enter port. Women on the left and men on the right would pray while spinning the carving.

JRA Niigata Horse-racing Track
A race track of the Japan Racing Association that is famous for a straight 1,000m track and Japan's longest 2,223m track. The thoroughbreds running on the grass are exciting running works of art. For 3 months every spring and summer horse racing takes place on Saturdays and Sundays. (Other times it is an off-track betting location)

Old Sasakawa Manor
The old manor of a powerful family built in 1826 shows the family's prestige.

Sawa Shogen no Yakata
The estate of wealthy landowner Sawa has been left in a scale like few others in Japan. See the main building along with rows of pine trees re-created from house blueprints, and get to know what life was like for powerful families at the time.

Niigata City Art Museum
This museum contains collections of artists such as Erstacht, Bonnard, Picasso, Redon, Yayoi Kusama, and Tetsuzo Sato. The surrounding Nishiohata Park was recreated in the image of the old West Moat.

Bandaijima Art Museum
This Niigata Prefectural Modern Art Museum introduces mostly artworks from since 1945. It is expected to be a location for international exchange about art and culture.

Niitsu Art Forum
A large white marble terrace covers the atrium from the 1st to the 2nd floor. This area is also used as a stage for performances, concerts, and plays. On the 2nd floor there are two exhibition rooms with 10 meter tall ceilings, and the 1st floor holds a citizens' gallery, lecture hall, and a 300 person capacity outdoor theater. The needs of all kinds of exhibits and performances can be met.

Nakano Residence - Museum of Art Foundation
The home and garden of Japanese oil baron Kanichi Nakano. A man named Nakano began work on oil rigs in 1874, and succeded in large scale oil operations 29 years later in 1903, coming to be called "Japan's Oil Baron". The home is famous for its beautiful autumn foliage.

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Foods

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Niigata's bountiful soil and pure water make it the number one rice-growing area in Japan. Niigata brand top grade rice derives its high status from the taste and texture of local Koshihikari rice. Niigata's sake and seafood are also regular hits among connoisseurs nationwide.

Rice
Koshikari rice is very famous nationwide. Niigata is blessed with a good climate, bountiful water from melted snow, and fertile soil, making it perfect for growing rice. Niigata rice is known for its sweetness that comes out as you chew it.

Nanban Shrimp
This shrimp is generally called "Ama-ebi", but in Niigata it is called "Nanban-ebi" due to the fact that its body resembles Nanban peppers.

Kurosaki Chamame Soybeans
Chamame soybeans grown in the Kurosaki area are crisp and have a rich aroma and elegant flavor. They are called the king of edamame.

Le Lectier Pears
Le Lectier are Western pears originating in France. They are currently the highest quality of all Western pears distributed in Japan. They are honored as "the gentlewomen of pears", and have a smooth texture and superior fragance.

Kakinomoto
The petals of these edible chrysanthemums are crispy and have a reddish color. They are typically eaten flavored with a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and mirin.

Juzen Eggplant
This overnight pickled eggplant dish is an essential item on the dinner table during the summer. The eggplant meat has the special quality of being firm yet soft and sweet.

Noppe
This dish contains ingredients such as taro, lotus root, carrots, shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, salmon roe, shellfish, and ginko boiled in soy sauce. The taro gives the dish a thick consistency. The mixture of ingredients is a stable of Niigata home cooking.

Sushi
Enjoy sushi made with the finest fresh seafood raised from the Sea of Japan all year round. The sushi expertise is passed down through the generations, so you can fully experience the taste of Niigata sushi.

Sasadango
Sasadango originally came about as a portable food in the Edo Period. Glutionous rice is flavored with mugwort, filled with red bean paste and wrapped in bamboo leaves. The simple home-made flavor has made it a standard Niigata souvenir.

Wappa-meshi
Rice is cooked with light broth in a a basket called a wappa. Salmon and salmon roe are put in and steamed. Chicken or crab are also common ingredients. A Niigata hometown speciality that combines the flavors of the rice and ingredients cooked in cedar.

Sake
Sake
Smooth and dry high quality sake only available from the perfect conditions of Niigata. Hand-crafted by local expert brewers- Niigata City is home to 16 sake breweries.

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