Check out the famous port town and home of Koshihikari rice! 【Niigata City Part 1】

Last update :
Written by Editorial department

It may interest you to know that Niigata City has much more to offer than the hot springs it’s often associated with. This time, we’ve prepared a two-part series of articles to introduce you to some of its lesser-known wonders.

The first thing many people think of when they hear the word “Niigata” is delicious food. It is, after all, the hometown of leading rice brand, Koshihikari. Niigata City is blessed with plentiful resources from the Sea of Japan and fertile soil nurtured by its two large rivers, the Shinano River and the Agano River, making it the perfect location for growing an abundant variety of food. It is for this reason that the area has been long known to have a strong food-oriented culture.

Niigata produces a great number of well-renowned specialty products, such as some of the country's best sake and miso made from rice, delicious seafood products, and succulent fruits. They pride themselves in their aromatic and sweet Echigo Hime strawberries and their soft and juicy Le Lectier pears, both of which are hard to come by outside the prefecture. You'll have to head to Niigata if you want to see what all the fuss is about!

We’ve compiled a list of 3 restaurants we think will give you the best taste of Niigata’s food culture. Further details can be found on the GURUNAVI website listed below.

Marui

Superb sushi primarily prepared with local fish from Niigata: 3,240 yen (tax incl.) for 10 pieces.

Address:8-1411 Higashibori-dori, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours:11:30-14:00, 17:00-22:30
Closed:Open every day

Ichiya Ekinan Hikkomijian

There are always more than 30 different deep-fried skewers on the menu featuring food from both the mountains and sea in Niigata that pair perfectly with sake.

Address:1-19-10 Tenshin, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours:17:30-24:00
Closed:No scheduled holidays

Seafood Barbecue, Issei, Niigata-ten

Irresistible rice bowls overflowing with ikura (salmon roe)!

Address:Hokuyu Building 2 1F, 1-5-30 Higashi-dori, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours:
Mon.-Thu. 17:00-24:00
Fri., Sat., day before holiday 17:00-1:00
Sun., holidays 17:00-24:00
Closed:Open every day

Niigata City is brimming with exciting things to see and do. The Niigata Port, dating back to 1869, was the first harbor on the Sea of Japan open to international trade; its port town atmosphere is still in full effect today. Particularly popular with tourists, however, is the Furumachi Geigi. Niigata City is one of the three greatest geisha districts in Japan, next to Kyoto's Gion and Tokyo's Shinbashi. We urge you to observe the refined beauty of a geisha's performances first hand!

Here's a list of our 3 favourite spots to have an exciting cultural experience in Niigata!

Furumachi Geigi

Hanamachi (geisha quarters) came into being in Niigata as a result of it becoming a bustling and prosperous city as the largest port of call along the Sea of Japan for kitamaebune ships. Niigata Furumachi Geigi (geisha) welcomed those visitors with entertainment. Niigata Hanamachi Jaya offers visitors the opportunity to experience the dances and games of Niigata Furumachi Geigi in a historic building that was once a merchant’s villa.

Former Saito Family Summer Villa

This villa, which belonged to a wealthy merchant, is one place where visitors can experience Niigata Hanamachi Chaya. The new greenery in summer and breathtaking colors in autumn found in the Japanese garden are a must see.

Address:576 Nishiohata-cho, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours:9:30-17:00
Closed:Mon.
Access:Approx. 15 min. by taxi from Niigata Sta.

Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery

Staff will carefully explain how Japanese sake is brewed as they guide visitors around the premises. Simply strolling through the quaint brewery that was built around the end of the 19th century gives a sense of tradition that has been passed down through generations.

Address:1-1 Kagamigaoka, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours: 9:00–16:00 *Tours are given once an hour; there are 7 tours a day. There are no tours at 12:00. Tours last approx. 40 min.
Closed:Open every day
Access:Approx. 7 min. by taxi from Niigata Sta.

Visitors can try all types of sake for free (excluding limited-edition sake and certain products).

Ponshukan

Sake from all 90 breweries in Niigata prefecture can be tasted at this sake museum located in Niigata Station. Sake from 5 breweries can be tasted for 500 yen, so don’t miss the chance to try some interesting kinds of sake. There is also a wide variety of sake available to purchase as souvenirs, as well as other specialty products from Niigata.

Address:CoCoLo Nishikan 3F Niigata Sta., 1-96-47 Hanazono, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours:9:00-21:00
Closed:Open every day
Access:Within the Niigata Station Building

Niigata City is easily accessible from a number of other major cities. Only 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo via the Joetsu Shinkansen, it makes either a great day-trip or a pleasant overnight getaway. You can also fly into Niigata Airport from other domestic airports, such as Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, and Fukuoka, or internationally from Seoul, Harbin, or Shanghai.