The 10 Best Things to Do in Niigata Prefecture, Japan

November 4, 2017 Roger Rusk

Niigata Prefecture (新潟県, Niigata-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Honshu on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The capital is the city of Niigata with which it shares the same name.

1. Myoko Snowsports

585-74 Akakura | ibis Hotel, Myoko 949-2111, Niigata Prefecture +81 255-87-3580
Excellent
94%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 111 reviews

Myoko Snowsports

Welcome to Myoko Snowsports - the premier provider of English ski & snowboard lesson programs, equipment rentals, retail and photography services in Myoko Ski Resort, Japan.All lesson & guiding programs are tailored to each guest's individual requirements - taking into account goals and prior experience, as well as taking advantage of local snow conditions and Myoko's 13+ meter annual snowfall.Excellent quality rental and retail equipment from K2, Line, Burton, Ride, Elan and Fablice is fitted by expert staff who live and breathe snow.

Reviewed By Rachel B

Thanks to Myoko Snowsports (in particular, Michale) for getting me from a “never been on a board” on a day one, to riding down a red run on Day 4. Awesome experience, kind but persistent instructors who are patient but know when to push you to get you to where they know you can be. Thank you! And thank you Michale! Great 4 days with the one instructor made my afternoons fun and challenging.

2. Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery

1-1 Kagamigaoka, Chuo-ku, Niigata 950-0074, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-245-0325
Excellent
66%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 100 reviews

Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery

Reviewed By semanticvision - Los Angeles, California

Imayotsukasa offers a rare chance to tour a sake production facility every step of the process. The tour was led by the brewmaster himself, however, it is in Japanese only. However, do some online research of the sake production process, it would be kind of self explanatory when you see each part of the facility. Niigata is famed for its rice production and great source of tasty water, both are factors to make great sake. The brewery is very generous in offering almost their complete lineup for guests to try, pour yourself style, which is even rare in Japan consider how much alcohol the country consumes yearly. Their high end offerings are fantastic, even the mid range and entry level sakes are excellent, great bang for the buck and excellent price at the spot. The only downside is you want to buy everything. Their sakes have great packaging, the brewery is inviting and friendly, a great place to visit and discover top notch sakes.

2427-3 Yuzawa, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun 949-6101, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-784-3758
Excellent
44%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 249 reviews

Ponshukan

Reviewed By kazuy36

Yuzawa-town is very convenient snow district from Tokyo.
It's only 75min.by Sinkansen-Express from Tokyo Station.
You can enjoy ski and snowboarding there from end of December to top of April.
And good for hot Springs, Japanese rice wine "Nihonsyu" and Japanese rice there.
I recommend you to visit "Cocolo Yuzawa " in Etigo-Yuzawa Station facilities.
You can get fine souvenir and taste.
And more,
I sometimes visit to "Nihonsyu tasting counter".
I can select and try taste 5-each Nihonsyu from over 100 each dispensers.
The cost is 500yen.
It's nice place. I fun. Try it.
But the tasting glass is very small.
Not enough for drank. Hehe.

4. Yahiko Shrine

2898 Yahiko, Yahiko-mura, Nishikanbara-gun 959-0323, Niigata Prefecture +81 256-94-2001
Excellent
38%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 231 reviews

Yahiko Shrine

Reviewed By mat_mak - Tokyo Prefecture, Japan

I visited this shrine with my family for praying to Yahiko's' god. My family live not so far from this place and we have visited there many times when I was a child. It was 15 years to the day since my last visit. At this visit, I realised that our hometown has such great place.
This shrine is located middle in Niigata pref, and you can get there easily by Joetsu express train and Yahiko local line. It may take 2 hours from Tokyo.
The shrine was built at bottom of the Mt. Yahiko. When we visited, Mr. Yahiko was covered with red-yellow autumn leaves, we could see the chic shrine and the colored mountain. It was great scenic view.

5. Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks

Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture +81 258-39-0823
Excellent
89%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 58 reviews

Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks

One of the three great fireworks festivals of Japan, this is the main event that heralds the finale of the Nagaoka Festival. It was selected in 2016 as No.1 fireworks events, as chosen by noted fireworks experts. A must-see is a super-massive ball of fireworks, the "star mine," which is a congeries of five different-colored fireworks launched from five angles, and select Ju-go tama balls crafted by each fireworks veteran, with crowd-pleasing designs. A total of 20,000 fireworks are launched, and attendees number close to one million. The Nagaoka Festival itself was launched in 1946 as the Nagaoka Recovery Festival, a prayer for recovery after the August 1, 1945 air raids.

Reviewed By yrtx4e - Toronto, Canada

spectacular. Must procure tickets early. tens of thousand spectators orderly participate the Hanabi.. No chaos, Impressive Book hotel 3 mths early still we ended up stayed in Niigata

6. Historic Relic Sado Gold Mine

1305 Shimoaikawa, Sado 952-1501, Niigata Prefecture +81 259-74-2389
Excellent
38%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 209 reviews

Historic Relic Sado Gold Mine

Reviewed By Gregg A - Sterling Heights, Michigan

It was very interesting and the "broken" mountain is kinda cool, but overall it's just okay. Do make sure to take a coat or sweatshirt because it is cold down below!

7. Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Resort

1938-3 Ishiuchi, Minamiuonuma 949-6372, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-783-5571
Excellent
34%
Good
52%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 127 reviews

Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Resort

Reviewed By DCTravelers69 - Fort Collins, Colorado

This resort has really nice pretty green runs through the forest that are gorgeous, from the top of the mountain all the way down. It's nice that my family with younger kids can ski the whole mountain together. There are plenty of lifts and don't seem to be long lines. There are restaurant options (plenty) around the mountain for a fun day of skiing! Highly recommend!

8. Saifukuji Temple

174 Oura, Uonuma 946-0033, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-792-3032
Excellent
58%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 73 reviews

Saifukuji Temple

Reviewed By kobekko - Kobe

Uonuma appears scarce as a destination on the tourist map, Japanese or foreign. Yet, here one can discover a temple that equals with Nikko Shrine in sculptural marvel, albeit in smaller scale. Tourists with interest in Buddhist temples will rather visit Kyoto or Nara, which are dotted with famous Buddhist temples of historical significance. However, even they sometimes feel, or even say, that they are “templed-out” at the end of the day. That is because, to the unaccustomed eyes, these temples do look very much alike, all with drab wooden structure and color. This temple looks like any other from its exterior, but you will find it like no other when you enter its principal prayer hall, “Kaizando.” Even the connoisseur of Buddhist arts will be surprised by the unconventional design and beauty of its prayer hall, and all that owe to the ingenuity of just one man, by the name of Uncho Ishikawa.
Promoters of local tourism nowadays tout him as “Michelangelo of the Orient,” for his artistic ingenuity. Uncho has certainly left impressive multitudes of his art work in Uonuma and its adjacent areas, and they eloquently attest his talent, which seems to well justify the above cognomen. Furthermore, one can compare his artwork in the prayer hall to Michelangelo’s fresco paintings that decorate Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
One may then wonder why Uncho could not achieve the fame that Michelangelo enjoyed in his lifetime and long afterwards. I gather, in short, Uncho was at a wrong place at a wrong time, to let his artistic ingenuity flourish or widely recognized. His family name, Ishikawa, indicates that he came from the well-known family of sculptors in Edo (present day Tokyo). He was said to have distinguished himself as a skillful sculptor in his 20’s. However, by the mid-19th century, Tokugawa Shogunate was in decline after two and a half centuries of absolute power. By then, it was facing veritable challenges to its authority from inside, as well as outside (which eventually led to Meiji Restoration of Imperial Authority). In such time of uncertainly, it was difficult to find wealthy patronage for his line of work, and he accepted the invitation by the patron merchant of a Buddhist temple in Echigo (now Niigata prefecture) at the age of 32 (or in 1846), and found interesting commissions for his work from Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines in the area. Echigo in those days was a hinterland, culturally as well as socio-economically. This geographical handicap still remains even today, and his marvelous artwork had not, and has not, received the wide acclaim it well deserves.
Even today, it is a trek to reach the temple. Any tourist who wishes to visit this temple by public transportation is well advised to come by JR to Urasa, where Shinkansen bullet train also stops. To make the trek worthwhile, the tourist is well advised to visit a few other places where Uncho has left his artworks, particularly Eirinji temple in the neighborhood. For that, bicycle rental is possible at the station, for local sightseeing (of course, weather permitting).

9. 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).

Matsunoyama Matsuguchi, Tokamachi 942-1411, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
38%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 91 reviews

Bijinbayashi

Reviewed By OnsenGai - Niigata Prefecture, Japan

A really quiet and peaceful forest. The trees are all of a similar size and well spaced out. There is a little pond with reflections of the trees. Kyororo Natural Science Museum is the other side of the car park so worth doing at the same time.

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