The 10 Best Things to Do in Joetsu, Japan

August 5, 2017 Flossie Demartino

Jōetsu is a city located in southern Niigata Prefecture, in the Hokuriku region of Japan. As of 1 June 2016, the city has an estimated population of 195,713, with a population density of 201 persons per km².
Restaurants in Joetsu

1. Kasugayama Castle

Nakayashiki, Kasugayama, Joetsu 943-0819, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
38%
Good
45%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 92 reviews

Kasugayama Castle

Reviewed By Jason Z - Montague, Michigan

A very nice experience of the Joetsu area and Japan in general. Excellent hiking around the levels of the castle! Tons of unique scultures and shrines to see. Bring water and your hiking shoes. It's a good work out if you want it to be! I was one of the first to arrive around 7am. I especially liked that as it became very busy around 11 or so. I enjoyed the views and stops where I found myself meditating (mostly to catch my breath).

2. Takada Park

Takada, Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
36%
Good
48%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 66 reviews

Takada Park

Reviewed By HotEarth - Melbourne, Australia

By mid morning we were at the park vicinity. Noticably, sakura blossoms have passed its peak. However, the wet gound and cold morning provided a clear and crisp appearance, especially with the snow covered Mountains in the background. Its still very pretty despite being here late in the sakura season. Its well worth the trip.

3. Takada Castle

6-1 Motoshirocho, Joetsu 943-0835, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-526-5915
Excellent
21%
Good
57%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 94 reviews

Takada Castle

Reviewed By Whangs - Manila, Philippines

You need tickets to get in (cheap). Try to get a 360 degree view of the surrounding moat and park from the top most floor of the castle. Great exterior architecture, but ho-hum interior.

4. Sado Steamship

353 Ryotsuminato, Sado 952-0014, Niigata Prefecture +81 570-200-310
Excellent
29%
Good
45%
Satisfactory
24%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 132 reviews

Sado Steamship

Reviewed By John R - Fontainebleau, France

When I arrived at the Ferry terminal in Niigate, I was met by 2 gentlemen from Sado Kison who annonced that the ferry service was cancelled. I was later looked after by a charming lady from the company Michiko Saito, who kindly telephoned my Ryokan and Rose Rentals. Her english was excellent and Michiko was very helpful.
I later took the 16.00 ferry and arrived on Sado island around 18.30. (in the rain).

5. Rinsen-ji Temple

1-1-1 Nakamonzen, Joetsu 943-0801, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-524-5846
Excellent
14%
Good
70%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 42 reviews

Rinsen-ji Temple

Reviewed By TakadaEnglishCrew - Joetsu, Japan

Rinsen-ji is tucked away in the forest at the base of the hill below Kasugayama Shrine, and can be explored for a small fee. The temple has an impressive wooden mon (gate), behind which is a lovely little temple garden before steps lead to the main temple building. Off to one side is a small museum presenting the history of the temple and its most famous devotee: Sengoku Period regional hero, Uesugi Kenshin.
A visit to the temple on the day of the annual festival held in Kenshin's honour (late August) sees the temple come alive with taiko drums and a procession of samurai, reenacting the day Kenshin and his generals prayed for victory before heading into battle with their infamous rival, Shingen Takeda.
Rinsen-ji is a beautiful little temple and well worth a visit.

6. Kasugayama Shrine

1743 Daizu, Joetsu 943-0802, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
16%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
45%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 42 reviews

Kasugayama Shrine

Reviewed By Yuya K

One of the strongest commander of samurai army, Kenshin Uesugi is enshrined there. A shrine is solemn and you can get toughness to survive busy life.

7. Gochi Kokubunji Temple

3-20-21 Gochi, Joetsu 942-0081, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-543-3069
Excellent
4%
Good
62%
Satisfactory
34%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 23 reviews

Gochi Kokubunji Temple

Reviewed By TakadaEnglishCrew - Joetsu, Japan

In 8th century, Syomu Emperor ordered to build a temple per state to stabilize its situation. Gochi Kokubunji Temple is one of these temples. Later, this temple was burned out in the 16th century. But, Uesugi Kenshin who was controlling around here at that time--one of the most famous warriors--reconstructed this temple.
This temple was built as the stronghold of people since then. Also, there is a five-story pagoda in the grounds. Because it is very high, you will be able to feel that it is magnificent! In addition, there are some cherry blossoms in the grounds. So you had better go there in spring!

8. Joetsu City Cultural Heritage Center

1-2-8 Kasugayamamachi, Joetsu 943-0807, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-521-6280
Excellent
38%
Good
47%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 13 reviews

Joetsu City Cultural Heritage Center

Reviewed By TakadaEnglishCrew - Joetsu, Japan

Long years ago, there was a strong general whose name was Uesugi Kenshin, in
Mt.Kasugayama. He won many battles and had a castle in Mt.Kasugayama. We can`t see that now, but we can see the things that he used.
The place is Joetsu City Cultural Heritage Center. We can see the things for free.
For example, Kasugayama Castle`s model and helmets. Kasugayama castle`s model is easy to understand. We can wear a helmet. And we can meet the people who have general`s cosplay. So, both children and adults will enjoy. In addition, we can have a quiz about Uesugi Kenshin. The quiz is made for children so children will enjoy.
If you go to Mt.Kasugayama, you should go to Joetsu City Cultural Heritage Center too.

9. Joetsu Municipal Aquarium

4-19-27 Nishihoncho, Joetsu 942-0004, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-543-2449
Excellent
14%
Good
58%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
0%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 27 reviews

Joetsu Municipal Aquarium

Reviewed By ShonWata - Singapore, Singapore

This aquarium has been only a few attractions that I could look for in this region during winter. Good to visit to spend an hour. Nothing really exciting but each display is well maintained and good to view.

10. Koshino Shu Kura

Joetsu 943-0861, Niigata Prefecture +81 50-2016-1600
Excellent
64%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
9%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 11 reviews

Koshino Shu Kura

Reviewed By P4ssepartout - Copenhagen, Denmark

Resort Shu*Kura train is really a treat, and definitely recommendable. If you are in the area try to get on it. As with other resort trains travel time is a bit longer than express trains, but it's worth it.
This specific train has a sake theme. There was a sake tasting (free of charge) along the route and a live performance by a band playing classical and evergreens. The train itself is newly renovated for this purpose and has an observation car with seats facing the sea, a lounge car with a bar and where the performance and tasting takes place, and a car with reclining seats (and large windows of course). We spent most of the time in the lounge car, which offered big windows along with the entertainment.
Along with the other JR East joyful trains this is a fun and joyful way of traveling in Japan. It might be a detour, but it's a beautiful and fun one!
Please note: The tickets and seat Reservations are free if you have a JR Rail Pass. However, JR does not own the railway from Joetsumoyoko to Naoetsu - so you might only get seats from Naoestu and onwards (if you travel from Joetsumoyoko). The procedure is easy. When you get off the Shinkansen at Joetsumoyoko, proceed to the track (run by a different rail company) and pay at the ticket gate. The ticket to Naoestu Is 210 yen, and with that you're good to go. This can also create some problems when booking the tickets for the resort train - so if the JR employee says he/she cannot book from Joestumyoko, just ask him/her to book from Naoestu. It's only one stop so no one will be in your seat (highly unlikely).

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