Niigata sightseeing needs to be at the top of your bucket list if you’re a nature lover! Niigata is the fifth largest prefecture in Japan. Known for its scenic mountains and beautiful rice fields, it is situated on the Sea of Japan.

Here you’ll enjoy the many magnificent nature spots such as Kiyotsu Gorge and the rice paddy terraces. Known for being snowy, it is very popular with skiers in winter.

Niigata is also known for producing some of the best sake in Japan, many of which you can try at the local restaurants.

What Kind of Place is Niigata?

Niigata is a large city of about 2.22 million, located about two hours from Tokyo via Shinkansen.

The most convenient way to get to the main Niigata sightseeing spots is to take the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Niigata Station. If traveling from Niigata Airport, take the bus to Niigata Station (about 25 minutes).

Niigata City, the prefecture center, is home to many modern commercial facilities and historic buildings, including a museum opened to preserve an old mansion built in 1887.

There are plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops, making it an ideal area for food and shopping. The suburbs are dotted with markets that handle fresh seafood, as well as superb scenic views spots with beautiful natural landscapes.

There is also a remote island nearby called Sado Island, where you can enjoy even more unique sightseeing spots including the Kanayama Ruins and the “tarai-bune” (tub-boat).

How to Get to Niigata

The Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train is the most convenient way to get from Tokyo Station to Niigata Station, the gateway to sightseeing in Niigata. From Niigata Airport, it takes about 25 minutes to get to Niigata Station by bus.

Most areas in Niigata Prefecture can be reached by train from Niigata Station, but many tourist spots require a cab or bus to get there from the nearest station, so check the accessibility beforehand. Rental cars can be found in the area around Niigata Station.

To get to Sado Island, take a bus from Niigata Station to Niigata Port, and then take a boat to Ryotsu Port. Buses or cabs are recommended for transportation around the island. Okesa Kanko Taxi, a cab company on the island, has Wi-Fi in its vehicles and offers smartphone payment for fares.

1. See the breathtaking Kiyotsu Gorge

Kiyotsu Gorge is known as one of Japan’s Three Great Canyons, along with Kurobe Gorge in Toyama and Osugi Valley in Mie Prefecture. In 1941, it was also selected as the most beautiful scenic spot in Niigata. The huge V-shaped canyon expresses the beaut…

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