Niigata Sights and Landmarks Guide, Japan
Niigata lies on the northern tip of the island of Honshu on the shores of the Sea of Japan, at about 140 miles from Tokyo. Throughout Japanese history, Niigata has been one of the most important ports in the country. The city is a major transport hub, but it is far from the crowded, skyscraper-shadowed Japanese metropolises with little to show.
The River Shinano crosses Niigata right in the middle, giving the city an airy, almost European feel. Niigata is well known for its famous sake tasting festivals and its breweries, but there are a few other things to see and do as well. You won’t find any medieval castles or too many interesting shrines here, unlike in Toyama, but the parks, museums, beaches and the nearby Sado Island can make your holiday quite interesting. This Niigata Sights Guide will tell you more about the tourist attractions of this city.
Niigata Sights - Parks
Echigo Hillside National Park is a great place for a walk, but you have to pay a small fee to get in. The park has a few Japanese gardens, ponds and several endemic plant species. If you get tired of walking, you can take a break at the barbecue restaurant in the middle of the park. Make sure to reserve a few hours in your schedule for Tsukioka Carillon Park.
There are so many things to do in the park that you can easily stay an entire day. There is a hot spring, or onsen, in the park, and also several interesting exhibitions at the Carillon Culture Hall. Hakusan Park was established during the Meiji era, and it is one of the first so called ‘citizen parks’ in Japan. However, even outside parks, there are many interesting places along Shinano River. Just take a tourist cruise boat and glide from one corner of the city to the other.
Niigata Sights - Museums
The Carillon Culture Hall has a fascinating display of Japanese swords created by the famous swordsmith Akitsugu Amata, who was declared one of Japan’s living treasures. Niigata is famous for its sake breweries, so it’s no great surprise that there should be a sake museum in the city. The Sake Museum near Echigo Yuzawa station displays over a hundred varieties of sake, and it also organizes tastings.
If you want to know more about sake brewing methods, visit the Rice and Sake Warehouse of Wonder where you will be given a step-by-step introduction on this ancient craft. This Niigata Sights Guide recommends that you visit the Northern Culture Museum, where you can admire countless Japanese works of art.