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Niigata (prefecture)

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Niigata (prefecture)
Japan niigata map small.png
Flag of Niigata Prefecture.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Niigata
Government Japanese Prefecture
Currency Japanese Yen (¥)
Area 12,582.47 km2
Population 2,371,574(2011 est)
Language Japanese(No official language)
Religion n/a
Electricity 100V/50 or 60Hz (U.S. plug, commonly 2-prong without ground)
Time Zone UTC +9(No DST)

Niigata prefecture (新潟県 Niigata-ken) [1] is on the Japan Sea coast of the central Chubu region of Japan.


Niigata was formerly divided into the provinces of Echigo (越後), on the mainland, and Sado (佐渡), a large island off the coast.

Further reading[edit]

My Mother is a Tractor, by Nicholas Klar. A former English teacher with a witty and informative take on Japanese society. Written from the depths of the Niigata countryside.


Niigata Pref Map

Kaetsu Region(下越地方)

  • Niigata — the prefectural capital.
  • Murakami — castle town which is famous for hotsprings and salmon.
  • Shibata — castle town which is famous for Tsukioka Onsen.

Chuetsu Region(中越地方)

Joetsu Region(上越地方)

  • Joetsu — train hub also featuring the port of Naoetsu
  • Itoigawa — famous for Itoigawa Geopark.
  • Myoko - well known for its onsen and great skiing. Nearby Lake Nojiri is also a popular summer retreat.

Sado Island(佐渡島)

Other destinations[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Niigata Airport handles international flights from Korea (Seoul daily on Korean Air), China (Shanghai and Xian 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 (¥25,100 one way), Sapporo (¥28,700 one way), Fukuoka (¥31,700 one way), and other cities. The prefectural government has produced an airport guide ([2]), which may be useful.

By train[edit]

The Joetsu Shinkansen line connects Niigata to Tokyo in around 2 hours, passing through Yuzawa on the way. Alternatively, the Nagano Shinkansen line connects Nagano to Tokyo also in around 2 hours. From Nagano one can take an express or local train onwards to Myoko and Joetsu in Niigata Prefecture

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

Every year, around the last ten days of July, there is a big fireworks display in Kashiwazaki, which is well-known for the ones which are shot off over the Japan Sea. Moreover, the number of the fireworks shot off there is about 15,000 shots and those are so beautiful.

Do[edit][add listing]

Niigata is the heart of Japan's Snow Country, which means it's a great place for skiing (see above destinations).

Eat[edit][add listing]

Niigata is famed for its koshihikari rice, generally considered one of the best grades in the country.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Thanks to its famous rice and abundance of mountain streams, Niigata produces some of the best sake in the country including famous labels like Kubota (久保田), Koshinokanbai (越乃寒梅) and Hakkaisan (八海山). See also "Japanese sake tourism" article.

Get out[edit]

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