#1. Bandai Bridge
Photo Credit: JunpeiAbe@flickr
Bandai Bridge is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Niigata. The bridge has six graceful arches stretching crosses the Shinano River. The current bridge was constructed in 1929, and was designated as a National Important Cultural Property in July 2004.
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Address: Bandai, Chuo Ward, Niigata, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 15 minute walk from Niigata Station
Website: Bandai Bridge (Japanese)
#2. Niigata Senbei Okoku
Photo Credit: t-mizo@flickr
Senbei Okoku, translates to “the kingdom of rice crackers”, offers visitors the special opportunity to try roasting rice crackers by hand. Visitors can also see employees baking rice crackers in the factory. There’s also a souvenir shop that sells a wide variety of souvenirs, including original goods sold only at Senbei Okoku.
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Niigata Senbei Okoku
Address: 2661 Niizaki, Kita Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 15 minute walk from Niizaki Station
Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Website: Niigata Senbei Okoku (Japanese)
#3. Night Cherry Blossom Viewing at Takada Park
Photo Credit: Whity@flickr
This is one of the three major night cherry blossom-viewing events in Japan. This event is full of attractions plus stage performances, illuminations, lighting ceremonies, and the cherry blossom viewing parade. The event will be bustling with food exhibitions selling local specialties and three hundred outdoor stalls.
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Address: 6 Motoshirocho, Joetsu-shi, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 25 minute walk from Takada Station
Website: Takada Park (Japanese)
#4. Kiyotsu Canyon
Photo Credit: nakasato-kiyotsu.com
Kiyotsu Canyon is one of Japan’s Three Great Canyons, filled with spectacular prismatic structures that give off a masculine appearance which can be enjoy year-round. The canyon has been designated as a National Natural Monument. The best time to go is from January to April.
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Address: Koide, Tooka-machi City, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 17 minutes by car from Ishiuchi Station
Website: Kiyotsu Canyon (Japanese)
Photo Credit: norionakayama@flickr
Niigata is one of Japan’s leading sake producing areas. There are as many as 90 breweries. It is said that water is the key ingredient to making sake. Spring water filtered through Niigata mountains not only makes the sake delicious, but also enhances the flavor of the rice, the other main ingredient to make sake.
#6. Nagaoka Fireworks Festival
Photo Credit: GeorgeAlexanderIshida@flickr
The Nagaoka Fireworks Festival is considered one of the “three great fireworks festivals” in Japan. Over a two day period, about 20,000 fireworks light up the night sky. Some of the main attractions are the famous 90 cm long fireworks that burst in the summer night skies.
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Nagaoka Fireworks Festival
Address: Near Nagaoka Bridge, Kusouzumachi, Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 20 minute walk from Nagaoka Station
#7. Autumn Leaves
Photo Credit: WalterLim@flickr
There are many places in Niigata that are famous for their autumn leaves. When the season for the leaves to change colors arrives, the trees clad themselves in brilliant scarlet and gold. Over austere waterfalls and rivers, or in carefully manicured parks, famous sites perfect for driving tours, or seen from ropeways cascading over the mountainsides, the autumn leaves are beautiful.
#8. Yahiko Park
Photo Credit: e-yahiko.com
At Yahiko Park you can see all cycles of the four seasons. The park has a river flowing through Maple Valley around vermillion-lacquered Kantsuki Bridge, the scenery looks just like a panting capturing a moment of the autumn foliage.
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Address: 971-4 Yahiko, Yahiko-mura, Nishikanbara-gun, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 5 minute walk from Yahiko Station
Website: Yahiko Park (Japanese)
#9. Tsukioka Onsen
Niigata has many famous onsen spots, Tsukioka Onsen is one of the most famous onsen resorts among all. Out of 20 resorts, it has been rated as one of best quality onsen resorts in Japan. The water contains mild sulfuric components, the components make the skin smoother and whiter.
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Address: Tsukiokaonsen, Shibata, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 7 minutes by car from Tsukioka Station
Website: Tsukioka Onsen (Japanese)
#10. Wappa Meshi
Photo Credit: Mari@flickr
If you come to Niigata, try Wappa Meshi! Wappa Meshi is rice cooked in thin stock, topped, and then steamed in a wappa with local seasonal ingredients such as salmon, salmon roe, oysters, eel, and chicken. A wappa is made of thin wooden sheets, it is similar to a bamboo steamer basket.
#11. Niigata Manga and Animation Museum
Photo Credit: museum.nmam.jp
The Niigata Manga and Animation Museum is a must see attraction if you are fan of manga or anime. There are many detailed exhibits about the history of manga and anime. Explore and learn about the history of manga and how anime got it’s start.
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Niigata Manga and Animation Museum
Address: 2-5-7 Yachiyo, Chuo Ward, Niigata-shi, Niigata Prefecture
Access: 12 minute walk from Niigata Station
11:00 AM – 7:00 PM (Weekdays)
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM (Weekends)
Website: Niigata Manga and Animation Museum
#12. Ski resort
Photo Credit: TetsujiSakakibara@flickr
Niigata offers many great ski resorts. Even deep in the mountains, each area is fully developed with railways, expressways, and national highways, making access very easy. Gala Yuzawa is one of the most popular ski resort, due to the easy access from Tokyo and the onsens.
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Address: 1039-2 Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma District, Niigata Prefecture,
Access: Connected to Gala Yuzawa Station
Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Website: Gala Yuzawa