Niigata (新潟)  is the capital of Niigata prefecture, Japan and the largest city on the Japan Sea coast.
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 has a humid subtropical climate with year-round high humidity (averaging 71%) and strong winds by the Sea of Japan. Winters are cold with the average temperature in January being 2.8°C (37°F) and feature nights with temperatures usually around freezing point (0°C or 32°F). The city is influenced by the Siberian Anticyclone, but not to the extent of other northern cities such as Sapporo and Akita, due to its low elevation and shielding effect of the Sado Island. In spite of that, Niigata is the 5th snowiest city in Asia, averaging 217cm each year, only being surpassed by other cities in the west and central Honshu. Record cold temperatures, though are much higher than what's expected for its latitude (-13°C or 9°F). Summers are characterised by lots of rainfall and warm to hot temperature, influenced by the southern warm and moist winds. The warmest month is August with an average 24-hour temperature of 26.6°C (79.2°F) and features days with temperatures usually around 30°C (86°F). Occasionally, 35°C (95°F) readings may be observed, but anything higher is rare. The highest recorded temperature is 40.6°C (105.1°F). The city may be affected by typhoons during late-summer or early-autumn.
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.
Bandai City Bus Center
Ticket office windows: 8:30AM - 7:00PM
- Tohoku - Sendai, Yamagata, Koriyama, Aizu-Wakamatsu
- Kanto - Tokyo, Takasaki
- Chubu - Nagoya, Kanazawa, Nagano, Toyama
- Kansai - Osaka, Kyoto
Niigata Station South Exit, Bus Terminal
- Willer Bus +81 (0)50-5805-0383 - English/Korean 10AM - 2PM Mon-Fri
- Kanto - Tokyo, Yokohama, Tokyo Disney Land
- Kansai - Osaka, Kyoto
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.
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.
The city loop travels around most major sites and a few minor sites. They are decorated with the local Manga characters Inuyasha (Yellow) and Dokaben (Pink) also showing their direction.
They both start and end their loops at the Nigatta train station and run from 08:40 till about 18:00 from April to March. A whole day pass costs 500円.
Runs every 70 minutes or every 40 minutes during summer
- 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
- 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 ([email protected]), . 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. Next door sits the Saito family villa that is also worth a visit to just to enjoy their large garden. Cycle or take the city loop bus to stop 6 or 13 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
- Former Ozawa Family Residence (旧小澤家住宅), 12-2733 Kamiokawa Mae Dori, Chuo-ku Niigata Shi 951-8068 (Cycle from the station OR take the City Loop bus stop 6 or 13), ☎ 0252220300. 09:30-17:00. The residence of the rice and shipping family Ozawa that was first built in the Edo period. It is said to be an example of Niigata Machiya style buildings and curiously has the living quarters facing the road and the business rooms towards the rear of the property. ¥200. edit
- Niigata manga animation musuem (新潟マンガ・アニメ情報館), chuo ku, bandai 2-5-7 bandai city BP2 F1 (Several buses), ☎ 0252404311, . 11:00-17:00. A modest museum that discusses the anime making process and informs about local mangaka. It is well complimented by the separate manga house and also has a good collection of miniatures and toys in the adjacent game centre. ¥200. edit
- 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.
- 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
Niigata has a wonderful shopping area. The Rainbow Tower and ocean are nearby. There is a beautiful theater, ferry rides on the river, several museums, and in winter you can watch the swans come in.
- Niigata Sports Dome Toyano (新潟スポーツドーム), 397-1 Toyano Chuo-ku Niigata, . 11AM-11PM. Batting Cages edit
- Round 1 - Niigata (ラウンドワン), 2-1-38 Misakicho Chuo-ku niigata, . Indoor amusement centre (Amusement arcade, Batting Cages, Bowling, Karaoke, Squash, Mini Golf etc) edit
- The Niigata city Manga house, chuo ku furomachidori 6 machi 971-7 (Take the city loop bus to stop 5 or 14 then walk less than 2 minutes), ☎ 02520189236, . 11:00-19:00. A nice complement to the manga anime museum with a small library of manga and a classroom space upstairs. Free. edit
- Niigata Station CoCoLo (新潟駅ビルCoCoLo), 1-1-1 Hanazonocho - Chuo-ku (inside JR Niigata station), . edit
- Pier Bandai - Bandaijima Fish Market (ピアBandai 万代島鮮魚センター), 2-2 Bandaijima - Chuo-ku, . 6:00AM-6:00PM. edit
- Niigata Isetan, 1-6-1 Yachiyo - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-242-1111, . 10:00AM - 7:30PM, Sat/Sun/Holidays until 8:00PM, Restaurant Area 11:00AM - 9:00PM(Last Call8:30PM). Niigata Isetan is a department store. edit
- Niigata Mitsukoshi, 866 Nishibori-dori Gobancho - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-242-1111, . 10:00AM - 7:00PM, Restaurant Area 11:00AM - 7:00PM(Last Call6:30PM). edit
- Niigata Furusato Village - Bazzar Hall (新潟ふるさと村), 2307-1 Yamada - Nishi-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-230-3000, . 9:30am-6pm. edit
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.
- Daishi Bank - Niigata Airport Branch, (inside Niigata Airport), ☎ +81 (0)25-270-1243. Business hours:Weekdays, 9AM - 12PM, 1PM - 3PM. edit
- Japan Post Bank - Niigata Branch (新潟中央郵便局), 2-6-26 Higashi-Odori - Chuo-ku (5 minutes walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit.). Weekdays, 9AM - 4PM. edit
- Japan Post Bank - Niigata Naka Branch (新潟中郵便局), 7bancho Higashiboridori - Chuo-ku (About 5 minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit). Weekdays, 9AM - 4PM. edit
Like many areas in Japan, Niigata area is supposedly well known for its rice. Like many areas in Japan, some locals claim it's the best rice in Japan. It's known for the following specialties:
- Uonuma koshihikari rice.
- Shoyu (soy-sauce) and yofu (western-style) katsudon.
- Shoyu sekihan.
- Wappa-han (seafood and rice steamed in a bamboo basket).
- Sasa-dango (mochi pounded rice balls filled with red bean paste, seasoned with mugwort and wrapped in bamboo leaves).
- Po-po-yaki (steamed bread flavored with brown sugar).
- Hegi-soba (soba from the Uonuma and Ojiya areas that uses a special kind of seaweed).
- Tsubame-sanjo ramen (ramen made using thick udon-style noodles).
- Tochio aburage (aburaage is called "aburage" in Tochio).
- Kirazu (dishes using okara).
- Kakinomoto (edible chrysanthemums).
- Kanzuri (a special seasoning from Myōkō made by leaving chili pepper exposed on snow, then adding flour, salt and yuzu).
- Kaisen-Sushi-Ichiba Uogashi (海鮮鮨市場 魚がし), 3-1-13 Yoneyama Chuo-ku Niigata, . 11:30AM-3:00PM, 5:00PM-10:30PM. Sushi and Japanese food restaurant. Price range:¥800-¥2000. edit
- Sushi Kappo - Marui (鮨・割烹 丸伊), 1411 Higashiboridori 8 Bancho chuo-ku niigata, . edit
- Noppei Jiru (のっぺい). A vegetable stew edit
Along with hundreds of izakaya and other Japanese bars, there are a number of foreigner-run bars in the city.
- Ponshu-kan sake corner (ぽんしゅ館), Niigata station Cocolo west 2F, ☎ 025-240-7092, . 09:30-20:30. Niigata has more than 100 types of sake on display here. Pay ¥500 and you can sample any 5. If you show your city loop pass you get another sample free. ¥500. 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 protected], 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 ([email protected], 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 protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . 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
- Hotel Ohashi Yakata-no-Yu (ほてる大橋 館の湯), 340 Iwamuro-onsen - Nishikan-ku, ☎ +81 (0)256-82-4125, . Japanese-style spa hotel. 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 protected]), . 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
- Niigata Toei Hotel (新潟東映ホテル), 2-1-6 Benten - Chuo-ku (5 minute walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☎ +81 (0)25-244-7101, . Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms. 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 ([email protected]), . 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 protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . European-style services and cuisine. Rooms from ¥12000 single, ¥18000 twin/double. edit
- JR Information Center, (Niigata Station, East Exit). 10AM-6:50PM. edit
- Niigata Station Bandai Entrance Tourism Infomation Center, 1-1-1 Hanazono-cho - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 (0)25-241-7914 (fax: +81 (0)25-241-7922), . 9AM-6PM. 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
- China, 5220-18, NishiOhata-cho - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 25-228-8888 ([email protected], fax: +81 25-228-8901), . edit
- Republic of Korea, 5F, Bandaijima Bldg., 5-1, Bandaijima - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 25-255-5555 ([email protected], fax: +81 25-255-5506), . edit
- Russian Federation, 12F, Bandaijima Bldg., 5-1, Bandaijima - Chuo-ku, ☎ +81 25-244-6015 (fax: +81 25-244- 6077), . 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.