Niigata is a harbor city with a population of 810,000 facing the Sea of Japan. It is situated approximately 250 kilometers directly north of Tokyo, and is connected with Tokyo via the Shinkansen and an expressway. Niigata is a rice growing region famed for the high quality of its rice and sake.
The Port of Niigata was established in the 16th Century, and the town prospered. In 1858, when the Japan-U.S.A. Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed, Niigata was designated as one of five ports in Japan to conduct trade with the outside world. Niigata's international port was subsequently opened in 1868. In 1889, Niigata was formally incorporated as a city.
Niigata is the terminus of the Joetsu Shinkansen line to Tokyo. The fastest trains take just over 2 hours and cost ¥10,270 one-way. The shinkansen through Tokyo is the fastway to access Niigata from Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe (5 hours/¥22,310).
A cheaper way to reach Niigata from Tokyo is to take the Moonlight Echigo from Shinjuku, which makes a 6-hour run leaving Tokyo at night and arriving in Niigata very early in the morning. The train costs ¥5,910 each way, but is more popular during Seishun 18 Ticket seasons when the price can be as low as ¥2,000.
From Kanazawa take the shinkansen Hakutaka to Joetsumyoko and transfer there to the Shirayuki (188min/¥10,130). Note that the Shirayuki only runs five times a day, so if you miss that connection take the shinkansen to Takasaki (215 minutes/¥18,590) or Omiya (236 minutes/¥23,330) where you can Transfer to the Joestsu Shinkansen referenced above.
Trains to and from the north are fewer and farther between. The most convenient service is the Inaho limited express to Akita, which runs three times a day (4 hours, ¥7,020 one way). Local trains also run up and down the Japan Sea coast, but only run every two hours or so toward the northern part of the prefecture.
Niigata Airport handles international Korea (Seoul daily on Korean Air), China (Shanghai three times weekly on China Eastern, Harbin four times weekly on China Southern), and Guam (twice weekly on Continental). There are also frequent domestic flights from Osaka(Itami Airport) (¥25,100 one way), Sapporo (¥28,700 one way), Nagoya(Chubu Airport), Fukuoka (¥31,700 one way), and Sado.
Shuttle buses run on a regular schedule from the JR Niigata South Exit directly to airport approximately every 30 minutes (25 minutes, ¥400 one way).
Niigata Kotsu runs highway buses to Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo (5.5 hours, ¥5,250 one way), Nagoya (7.5 hours, ¥7,800 one way), Sendai (3.8 hours, ¥4,500 one way), and overnight to Osaka and Kyoto (8 hours, ¥8,450 each way), as well as to a number of other cities.
Sado Kisen operates frequent services to Ryotsu on Sado Island. Rapid ferries cost ¥5,960 and cover the distance in one hour, while larger car ferries cost just ¥2,060 but take 2.5 hours.
Shin-Nihonkai Ferry(06-6348-1120) operates a daily service between Otaru and Niigata (18 hours, ¥6,200+) .Service is overnight, and private cabins are available for a higher fare (the base fare buys sleeping space on the floor).
Ferries to Vladivostok appear to be discontinued until further notice, but as of 2005 there are still regular services from Toyama.
Mazda Rent-a-Car, 1-11-31 HigashiOdori, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi (4 minutes walk from Niigata Station Bandai Entrance), ☎ +81 (0)25-245-2111, . AM8-PM8. edit
NIPPON Rent-a-Car, 1-1-7 Yoneyama, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi (3 minutes walk from Niigata Station South Exit), ☎ English Service Desk(Mon-Fri,AM9- PM5):03-3485-7196, . 24h. edit
TOYOTA Rent a Car, 1-1-9 Yoneyama, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi (3 minutes walk from Niigata Station South Exit), ☎ 0800-7000-815, . AM8-PM8. edit
Most major sights in Niigata can be easily accessed by bicycle. Rentals are provided by the city from several locations scattered throughout and rental fees are ¥100 for the first 3 hours and ¥100 for each additional hour. If you plan on keeping the bicycle longer than 4 hours, the trick is to return the bicycle at a nearby rental outlet and check it out again before your first 3 hours are up. In this way, your rental is charged the ¥100 rate each 3 hours. The tourist information office in the Niigata train station can supply you with the necessary maps and show you the closest rental office — about 5 minutes walk. The rental location can also supply you with maps that show you all the rental outlets. ID is needed to rent a bike. Be sure to check the brakes, tire pressure, and how to use the bike lock before you leave the rental outlet.
MINATOPIA - Niigata City History Museum (みなとぴあ新潟市歴史博物館), 2-10 Yanagishima - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-225-6111 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A museum where you can learn about the history and culture of the port town of Niigata.Admission ¥300 adults, ¥200 college or vocational school students, ¥100 elementary, junior high, and high school students. edit
Northern Culture Museum (北方文化博物館), 2-15-25 Somi - Konan-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-385-2001, . 9AM-5PM (Dec.-Mar. 4:30PM). which was originally a wealthy family's home, built 1885-1887. The museum comprises several buildings, and a few restaurants/cafes. Documents and art collections including paintings and sculptures from former households are on display. It is worth at least a half day visit.Admission ¥800 Adult, ¥400 Children. edit
Toki Messe Observation Deck (朱鷺メッセ展望室), 6-1 Bandaijima - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-240-1511, . 8AM-9:30PM(Fri. 6:30PM). Toki Messe is a modern multi-use convention center. The observation deck on the top floor is a tourist spot where you can observe a panoramic view of Niigata City.free. edit
The Nakano Residence - Museum of Art Foundation (中野邸美術館), 598 Kanazu - Akiha-ku (From Yashiroda Station (JR Shinnetsu Line): It is approximately 3 minutes by taxi or 15 minutes by foot.), ☎ +81 (0)250-25-1000, . 9:30AM-4PM Closed Wed. Dec.-Mar. Aug. Admission ¥700 adults, ¥500 college or vocational school students, ¥100 elementary, junior high, and high school students. edit
Nagaoka is famous for fireworks. Nagaoka festival is held from 1-3 August yearly. On 1 August, an evening event is held, on 2 and 3, fireworks are launched. About 20,000 fireworks are launched around Shinano river side for two days.
In Niigata, you can enjoy Shinano River Cruise. You can see the scenery of Niigata City from the waterbus that runs along the Shinano River. There is also an open-air deck where passengers can relax and enjoy the view from the river outside. There are three cruises a day.
Tsukioka Carillon Park is a multi-purpose park located next to Tsukioka Hot Springs. The park has a lot to offer for visitors, including the beautiful sound of chimes coming from the Carillon Tower as well as children’s play area. The Carillon Culture Hall exhibits swords created by National Living Treasure Akitsugu Amata. Visitors can enjoy bathing in hot springs at Houzuki-no-sato Onsen, located within the Park.
You can exchange foreign currency, and sell and buy traveler's check at airport, bic hotel, local bank branches, Japan Post Bank branches and post offices.Some post offices do not provide this service. Even if they provide it, the kinds of currency that they can exchange vary between offices.
Along with hundreds of izakaya and other Japanese bars, there are a number of foreigner-run bars in the city. These include Rocks (70s-90s rock music bar), Hot Spot, Northern Lights Canadian bar, Shame and Immigrants Cafe, which also does great food at reasonable prices.
FuuFuu B&B Style (風々), 4985 Kifucho Chuou-ku (Take bus from termianl 2 heading to Tukefunecyou,get off at okoshichibancyou(2) chome,3minutes from bus stop.), ☎ +81 (0)70-5453-1075(Mobile phone), . ¥2600 private room,¥2000 shared room,. edit
Hotel Kawai (ホテルカワイ), 1-3-10 Benten - Chuo-ku (2 minute walk from JR Niigata Station Bandai Exit,), ☎ +81 (0)25-241-3391 (email@example.com, fax: +81 (0)25-241-1002), . (website in Japanese only)High-Speed Internet-access LAN ports in all rooms.Singles from ¥4400, doubles from ¥7700.. edit
Niigata Terminal Hotel (新潟ターミナルホテル), 1-6-31 Hanazono-cho - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-241-7777, . Rooms from ¥4515 single, ¥7350 double.. edit
Super Hotel Niigata (スーパーホテル新潟), 1-6-13 Akashi - Chuo-ku (7 minute walk from JR Niigata Station Bandai Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-247-9000, . Singles from ¥4580, twin from ¥8800. edit
TOYOKO-INN Niigata Furumachi (東横イン新潟古町), 1168-2, Nanaban-cho Kami-okawamae-dori Chuo-ku Niigata-city, Niigata (FREE SHUTTLE BUS transportation from JR Niigata station (BANDAI exit, infromt of police station)), ☎ +81-(0)25-227-1045 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +81-(0)25-227-1046), . checkin: 16:00; checkout: 10:00. SINGLE room from \4,980, TWIN/DOUBLE room \7,980. edit
APA Hotel Niigata-Furumachi (アパホテル新潟古町), 1037-1 6ban-cho Higashiboridori - Chuo-ku (About 5 minutes by car from JR Niigata station), ☎ +81 (0)25-229-2211 (email@example.com), . Rooms from ¥7000 single. ¥13000 twin.. edit
APA Hotel Niigata-Higashinakadori (アパホテル新潟東中通), 289-2 2ban-cho Higashinakadori - Chuo-ku (About 5 minutes by car from JR Niigata station), ☎ +81 (0)25-229-7111 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Rooms from ¥6000 single. ¥11000 twin.. edit
Bandai Silver Hotel (万代シルバーホテル), 1-3-30 Bandai - Chuo-ku (10 minutes walk or 3 minutes drive from JR Niigata station.), ☎ +81 (0)25-243-3711. Rooms from ¥7800 single, ¥7500 twin. edit
Chisun Hotel & Conference Center Niigata (チサンホテル＆コンファレンスセンター新潟), 1-1 Sasaguchi - Chuo-ku (Direct links with the JR Niigata station South Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-240-2111 (ChisunHotel-Niigata@SolareHotels.com), . Rooms from ¥8600 single, ¥12600 double,¥15000 twin. edit
Comfort Hotel Niigata (コンフォートホテル新潟駅前), 3-3-1 Benten - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-242-0611, . A branch of the American hotel chain.edit
Leopalace Hotel Niigata (レオパレスホテル新潟), 1-6-15 Hanazono - Chuo-ku (3 minutes walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit.), ☎ +81 (0)25-249-8100 (email@example.com), . Rooms from ¥7600 single, ¥11800 double, ¥14800 twin. edit
Niigata Tokyu Inn (新潟東急イン), 1-2-4 Benten - Chuo-ku (1 minute walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-243-0109, . Rooms from ¥6900 single, ¥12600 double, ¥13400 twin. edit
Sunroute Hotel Niigata (サンルートホテル新潟), 1-11-25 Higashi-Odori - Chuo-ku (3 minutes walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit.), ☎ +81 (0)25-246-6161, . Rooms from ¥8000 single, ¥12800 double,¥13800 twin. edit
ANA Crowne Plaza Niigata (ANAクラウンプラザホテル新潟), 5-11-20 Bandai - Chuo-ku (10 minutes walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-245-3333 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Rooms from ¥10972 single, ¥18480 twin,¥18480 double,¥49500 suite. edit
Hotel Nikko Niigata (ホテル日航新潟), 5-1 Bandaijima - Chuo-ku (About 10 minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-240-1888, . All rooms are on high floors (22nd-29th floor).Rooms from ¥11550 single, ¥18480 twin,¥18480 double,¥46200 suite. edit
Hotel Okura Niigata (ホテルオークラ新潟), 6-53, Kawabata-cho - Chuo-ku (5minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-224-6111 (email@example.com), . Rooms from ¥10395 single, ¥23100 twin,¥28875 double,¥57750 suite. edit
Iwamuro spa Takashimaya (高志の宿 高島屋), 678 Ko, Iwamuro-onsen, Nishi-Kan-ku, ☎ +81 (0)256-82-2001, . Japanese-style inn.Rooms from ¥39,900(per night/per room for 2 guest, with two meals (dinner and breakfast) ). edit
The Italia-Ken(Niigata) (ホテルイタリア軒), 7-1574 Nishibori-dori - Chuo-ku, (About 8 minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-224-5111 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . European-style services and cuisine.Rooms from ¥12000 single, ¥18000 twin/double. edit
Niigata University Medical and Dental (新潟大学医歯学総合病院), 1-754 Asahimachi-dori - Chuo-ku (About 15 minutes by taxi from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☎ Medicine:+81 (0)25-227-2460, Dentistry:+81 (0)25-227-2937, After-hours and Night-time:+81 (0)25-227-2479, . edit
Niigata City General Hospital (新潟市民病院), 463-7 Shumoku - Chuo-ku (About 15 minutes by taxi from JR Niigata station South Exit), . edit
Nishi-Niigata Chuo National Hospital (国立病院機構西新潟中央病院), 1-14-1 Masago, Nishi-ku, ☎ +81-25-265-3171, . edit
Niigata prefecture is an area rich in natural resources and its natural park area ranks second in the nation. Niigata-ken also has the second most bathing beaches in Japan, the third most ski resorts and the fourth most hot springs in the country.