Myoko near Niigata City, Japan

Niigata | Delicious rice and rich, beautiful nature

Home Japan Travel Guide Chubu Niigata | Delicious rice and rich, beautiful nature

Niigata city is the capital of the prefecture of the same name. It is a pleasant place with plenty of open spaces, making the city feel more spacious and less cramped than other major cities in Japan. The Japanese characters for Niigata literally mean ‘new lagoon’ in reference to the various inland bodies of water. What is there to do in Niigata city?

rice paddy

Old Town and New Town

The city branches into two districts. First there is the new township near Niigata Station on the south side of the Shinanogawa river. And there is the old town on the north side of the river where the government and municipal offices are located. The Bandaibashi bridge, designated as an Important National Cultural Asset, connects the two towns. In the new town is an international convention facility called Toki Messe. From its observatory, the highest spot in the city, you can see the Shinanogawa river. The Sea of Japan and Sado Island are also visible in the distance.

In the old town, you can find the Niigata City History Museum, called Minatopia. This museum exhibits the history of Niigata. Niigata is proud of its rich variety of wonderful foods, such as the plentiful seafood caught in the Sea of Japan. Freshwater fish are caught in the large river and vegetables and fruits are grown in the fertile soil. Niigata rice, sake, and seafood are particularly well known in the rest of the country. The food products of this region are known to be of superior quality.

Attractions in Niigata City

If you like Japanese rice crackers make sure to stop by Niigata Senbei Okoku. Here, you can’t only find a large variety of these classic Japanese snacks, but also try your hand at roasting some yourself. You will also get the opportunity to see employees at work in the factory and learn how your favorite rice snack is made.

Another rice-related gourmet product is sake, and one of the best breweries to visit is located in Niigata city. Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the process of making sake. They do one English language tour every day. This brewery is especially proud of the fact they only brew the highest quality of sake without adding any extra alcohol in the process. You can also taste a wide variety of sake for a low price. So it is a good chance to learn about the flavor differences in different types of sake.

Wine and Tea

If you are also into wine, a little bit outside the city you can visit a winery. Cave D’occi Winery is a good place to visit for lunch. Japanese wine is not that well-known compared to Italian, French, or Californian wine. One of the reasons is that due to geographical reasons Japan can’t produce large quantities of it. That is why a trip to Japan is a good opportunity to try Japanese wine, as there are some tasty vintages. Cave D’occi Winery has nice scenery. As an extra bonus, there is also an opportunity to relax Japanese-style in an onsen.

The Old Saito Residence is also worth a visit, it is a beautiful old villa with a nice, compact Japanese garden. Having a cup of green tea while soaking in the tranquil environment is one of the best ways to enjoy your visit.

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