Explore both history and nature with this sightseeing plan! 【Niigata City Part 2】

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Written by Editorial department

This is Part 2 of our two-part series about the lesser-known wonders of Niigata City. In Part 1, we introduced you to the amazing food and port town culture of Niigata City.

Looking out over the Sea of Japan, with the Shinano River—which just so happens to be the longest river in Japan—running through it, Niigata City is a beautiful “city of water.” With so many exciting things to see and do awaiting you, it's not a matter of if you should go, but when!

First, let’s take a look at the heart of the city. As home to numerous nationally designated Important Cultural Properties, the area is brimming with many wondrous structures; you can just feel the history in many of these spots. Of course, there is also an abundance of nature if that's more your thing. By utilizing a combination of busses, rent-a-cycles, the water shuttle, and walking, you should have no problem getting to everywhere you wish to go. So let's take a look at what Niigata City has to offer!

Furumachi Koji Seizosho Kurazashiki-ten

A renovated storehouse that was originally built during the Taisho period (1912-1926 CE) where you can enjoy food and drinks made from Koji mold.

Address:2-3-44 Akashi, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours:11: 00-18: 00
Closed:12/31-1/2

It’s about a 30-minute walk from Furumachi Koji Seizosho Kurazashiki-ten back to Niigata Station. A slow-paced stroll is a great way to take in the cityscape. From the station, you can hop on the City Loop Bus and within 20 minutes you should arrive at the Bandai Bridge and Shinanogawa Yasuragitei Park. After you’ve seen the sights, you might want to head over to Toki Messe via the Shinanogawa Water Shuttle.

Bandai Bridge and Shinanogawa Yasuragitei Park

In the spring, cherry blossoms and tulips bloom in Shinanogawa Yasuragitei Park against the backdrop of Bandai Bridge, the symbol of Niigata City. The landscape of cherry blossom trees, such as Yoshino Cherry and Yaezakura, in full bloom is a breathtaking sight. We suggest you visit the blooming flowers at night when they're magically lit up by bonbori lanterns—it’s like stepping into a Japanese fairytale.

Address:From Ichibanboridori-cho to Kawabata-cho Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Access:Right next to the Bandai City bus stop for the City Loop Bus

Shinanogawa Water Shuttle

The Water Shuttle is a convenient way to tour Niigata. It links Minatopia (the Niigata City History Museum) at the mouth of the Shinanogawa River and Niigata Furusato Mura. There are also boat-boarding areas at Toki Messe, Bandai Bridge (an Important Cultural Property), Bandai City, and in front of the Prefectural Government Office. View the city of Niigata from the water.

Toki Messe

Toki Messe is somewhat of a landmark in Niigata City. The integrated convention facilities offer services, including a full-fledged exhibition hall, meeting rooms, and a hotel. A panoramic view of Niigata City can be seen from the observation room.

Address:6-1 Bandaijima, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Access:Right next to the Water Shuttle Station “Toki Messe”

From Toki Messe you can take the City Loop Bus to the Former Saito Family Summer Villa (and Heaven and Hell Alley). This is where you can encounter Furumachi Geigi (geisha). Watch their dances in awe, take photos with them, or be entertained in a tatami room—it's up to you! When you're done, why not check out Heaven and Hell Alley as well?

Former Saito Family Summer Villa

This villa, which belonged to a wealthy merchant, is one place where visitors can experience Niigata Hanamachi Jaya (a geisha performance). 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:Mondays
Access:Approx. 15 min. by taxi from Niigata Sta.

Jigoku Gokuraku Koji (Heaven and Hell Alley)

The name of this alley originates from the location separating the two sides of the alley; one side has restaurants and the other is a former prison.

Address:Located next to the Former Saito Family Summer Villa

Get back on the City Loop Bus at the Former Saito Family Summer Villa, and head to Hakusan-jinja Shrine. You might want to visit the nearby Kamifurumachi Shopping Street while you’re there, too!

Hakusan-jinja Shrine

This shrine has over 1,000 years of history and is famous for the deity of marriage. In spring, the shrine grounds are bustling with people who come to view the cherry blossoms in full bloom and enjoy the food stalls.

Address:1-1 Ichibanboridori-cho, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Access:Right next to the City Loop Bus Stop at Hakusan Park

Kamifurumachi Shopping Street

Lined with over 100 shops of various kinds, including those selling everyday items and sweets you won't find anywhere else.

A City Loop Bus will bring you from Niigata Station to Hakusan-jinja Shrine in only 20 minutes. Near the station, however, you'll find Bandai City, an area loaded with shopping, restaurants, and more. It's a great place to stop for souvenirs.

Address:A City Loop Bus will bring you from Niigata Station to Hakusan-jinja Shrine in only 20 minutes. Near the station, however, you'll find Bandai City, an area loaded with shopping, restaurants, and more. It's a great place to stop for souvenirs.
Hours:Varies by shop
Closed:Varies by shop
Access:Right next to the City Loop Bus Stop at Hakusan Park

Bandai City

The shopping streets of Bandai have been centralized into a large shopping mall where food, fashion, and entertainment can be enjoyed.

Address:1-6-1 Bandai, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
Hours:Varies by shop
Closed:Varies by shop
Access:Approx. 2 min. by taxi from Niigata Sta.

Niigata City stretches over a vast area of land lining the coast. It has countless nature abundant attractions awaiting your exploration just outside the heart of the city. Fruit picking and hot springs can be enjoyed just about wherever you go, so with that in mind why not head out now?

Northern Culture Museum

A large Echigo landowner spent 8 years building this Japanese home in the Meiji period. There is a 150-year-old wisteria tree in the inner court, and from early to mid-May, clusters of light purple flowers give off a sweet scent. Lights are installed to illuminate the flowers when they are in full bloom, so a different ambience can be enjoyed during the day and at night. In the fall, the garden turns beautiful autumn colors.

Address:2-15-25 Somi, Konan-ku, Niigata City
Hours:Apr.–Nov. 9:00–17:00, Dec.–Mar. 9:00–16:30
Closed:Open every day
Access:Approx. 25 min. by taxi from Niigata Sta.

Cave d’Occi Winery

This winery encompasses a tract of land surrounded by vast vineyards. There is a wine cellar, restaurant, shop, and hot springs (without overnight accommodations) on the premises. Visitors can effortlessly enjoy wine and delicious food here.

Address:1661 Kakudahama, Nishikan-ku, Niigata City
Hours:Shops 10:00–17:00 (Varies by facility)
Closed:Open every day
Access:Approx. 50 min. by taxi from Niigata Sta.

Yumotoya

Open-air baths provide a feeling of sweeping spaciousness. There are two kinds, one made of large logs and one made of rocks, but both make bathers feel closer to nature.

Address:91-1 Iwamuro Onsen, Nishikan-ku, Niigata City
Access:Approx. 10 min. by taxi from Iwamuro Sta.

Niigata City has an unlimited number of phenomenal spots to see, enough to keep you coming back time and time again. We hope to see you soon!