Sightseeing in Niigata! Established Spots to Hidden Gems Top 10

A prefecture located in the centre of the land along the Sea of Japan – Niigata. An access is also quite easy if you take a bullet train from Tokyo. When it comes to Niigata, you might think of rice and snow, but it actually has a lot more. In this article, I would suggest some places you can experience beautiful nature, hot springs, fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan, rice, sake made from water, traditional sightseeing place and modern spots. I hope you can refer to the article when travelling in Niigata.

Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihon Kai

見出し Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihon Kai
photo by kaedolphin105   /   embedded from Instagram

Renovated in 2013, Mariepia Nihon Kai is one of the biggest aquariums along the Sea of Japan. There are a different kind of displays and exhibitions such as Outdoor Exhibition Niigata Field which duplicate an undeveloped woodland area near a village in Niigata and an aquarium that you can observe local fish to the Sea of Japan.

A dolphin show which is held once a day is especially popular; you can dolphins do the dynamic performance including catching a ball and jumping etc. It definitely makes a unforgettable experience while looking at sea lions or touching starfish and sea cucumber. This is a must-try spot!

Name: Marinepia Nihon Kai
Address: 5932-445, Nishi Funami Town, Chuo Ku, Niigata City, Niigata
Phone: +81-25-222-7500
Time: 9:00am-17:00pm
Close: Third Thu in March / During a New Year’s Holiday
Access: 9 mins drive from Hakusan Station

Map: map to Marinepia Nihon Kai

Niigata Manga Animation Museum

Niigata Manga Animation Museum
photo by yu_bearist   /   embedded from Instagram

Did you know Niigata had produced many famous manga artists and had a number of theme park based on the comics? Niigata Manga Animation Museum is a museum which offers a manga experience-based programme.

Going into a world of manga, you are able to look at the movie showing the making processes of games, mangas, and animes, or you can even experience being a voice actor! It’s great to have a walk too as there’s a statue of the manga character in a shopping arcade nearby.

Name: Niigata Manga Animation Museum
Address: 2-5-7, Yachiyo, Chuo Ku, Niigata City, Niigata
Phone: +81-25-240-4311
Time: (Weekdays)11:00am-19:00pm(Sat/Sun/Pub Holiday)10:00am-19:00pm
Close: New Year’s Day
Access: Approx. 12 mins walk from Niigata Station

Map: map to Niigata Manga Animation Museum

Befco Bakauke Observation Deck

見出し Befco Bakauke Observation Deck
photo by denenlifemind   /   embedded from Instagram

Located 7 minutes away from Niigata Station by car, you can enjoy the view from an observation deck on 31st floor of Toki Messe. You can expect the beautiful 360 degree panoramic view at the height of 125m.

Needless to say, entry is free of charge. It’s nice looking at the sunset in the evening, or enjoying the night view after dinner. You will find the goods of the Bakauke character at the shop too. Try this place once you are in Niigata!

Name: Befco Bakauke Observation Deck
Address: Bandai Jima Building Level 31, 5-1, Bandai Jima Chuo Ku, Niigata City, Niigata
Phone: +81-25-240-1511
Time: (Except for Friday)8:00am-22:00pm(Friday)8:00am-17:00pm
Close: Irregular
Access: 7 mins drive from Niigata Station

Website: Map: map to Befco Bakauke Observation Deck

Nihon Kai Fisherman’s Cape

In a town called Kashiwazaki which has been developed as a post-town by the sea, there’s one of the biggest fish markets in Japan called Nihon Kai Fisherman’s Cape. There’s a variety of fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan in a market and this is a complex facility with hotel.

It’s quite fun just to browse but if you go for shopping, there’s a eat-in section and a restaurant you can sit and taste what you have chosen.

Name: Nihon Kai Fisherman’s Cape
Address: 133-1, Oumigawa, Kashiwazaki City, Niigata
Phone: +81-257-22-4910
Access: Approx. 20 mins walk from Oume Station

Map: map to Nihon Kai Fisherman’s Cape

Aga no Gawa Punting

Aga no Gawa is a river running just near Fukushima prefecture, and is a popular spot for punting. They operate a 50 minute programme between the mid April and the late November and 40 minute programme from the beginning of December until the beginning of April. You can enjoy a different view in each season.

Listening to the unique songs a boatman sings while punting is a great way to enjoy this dynamic view. Also, a steam train runs on some days of the week if you are interested in a train ride. Around this area, there’re more places such as Gozu Onsen and Tsukioka Onsen!

Name: Aga no Gawa Punting
Address: 4131, Shirosaki, Aga Town, Higashi Kagahara Gun, Niigata
Phone: +81-254-99-2121
Access: Approx. 16 mins walk from Sangawa Station

Map: map to Aga no Gawa Punting

Iyahiko Shrine

Iyahiko Shrine is a shrine with a long history and is located at the bottom of Mt.Iyahiko. It is said it will bring you luck on business as one of the best spritual sites in Niigata. Surprisingly, more than 2.5 million people visit this place every year.

テキスト Also, you will find a rear shrined – Goshinbyou at the top of the mountain where you can reach by ropeway. It has a nice view especially on a sunny day!

Name: Echigo Ichimiya Iyahiko Shrine
Address: 2887-2, Iyahiko, Iyahiko Village, Nishi Kabahara Gun, Niigata
Phone: +81-256-94-2001
Access: Approx. 15 mins walk from Iyahiko Station

Map: map to Echigo Ichimiya Iyahiko Shrine

Ponshu Kan

見出し Ponshu Kan
photo by machaki_aloha   /   embedded from Instagram

Located in the southern part of Niigata just in front of the exit of bullet train, Ponshu Kan is a must-visit for all the sake lovers! You can taste such nice sake including wine and plum wine.

Having a nice food in a tipsy mood while having a sake bath which is said to be efficient for skin makes you happy. But just be careful not too drunk and get injured! This is definitely one of the best spots in Niigata.

Name: Ponshu Kan
Address: 2427-3, Yuzawa, Yuzawa Town, Minami Uonuma Gun, Niigata
Phone: +81-25-784-3758
Time: (Apr-mid Dec)9:00am-18:00pm(late Dec-Mar)9:00am-20:00pm
Close: None
Access: Short walk from Echigo Yuzawa Station

Map: map to Ponshu Kan

Myoko Plateau

Myoko Plateau, which is surrounded by rich nature, has been chosen for 100 famous mountains in Japan is a great spot for hikers. Go for 10km Sasagamine round route for 2.5 hour walking!

Sasagamine Farm where you can find lots of cows relaxing on the grass, Udana no Shimizu which is one of Japan’s 100 remarkable waters, and Shimizu ga Ike where fish such as char and rainbow trout swims are the highlights here. You will be entertained every time you visit here as each season has a different face. If you are also interested in falls or a hot spring district, the perfect place is waiting for you!

Name: Myoko Plateau
Address: 291-1, Taguchi, Ooaza, Myoko City, Niigata
Phone: +81-255-86-3911
Access: Short walk from Myoko Plateau

Map: map to Myoko Plateau

Shiseki Sado Kinzan

見出し Shiseki Sado Kinzan
photo by d_yamaguchi888   /   embedded from Instagram

Sado Island is located at the northern part of Niigata as the biggest island in the Sea of Japan, and you will find the varied cityscapes from North to South. It takes 1 to 2 hours each way from Niigata Harbour by ferry to get this island.

2 routes among 4 in total are available with no booking and you can take a walk for 30 – 40 minutes. If you look around, you will find the realistic dolls of coal miners and a rail track of trolley train in an adventurous atmosphere. Niigata is proud of this place!

Name: Shiseki Sado Kinzan
Address: 1305, Aikawa, Shimo Sado City, Niigata
Phone: +81-259-74-2389
Time: (Apr-Oct)8:00am-17:30pm(Nov-Mar)8:30am-17:00pm
Close: None
Access: 1 hour drive from Ryozu Harbour

Map: map to Shiseki Sado Kinzan

Toki no Mori Park

見出し Toki no Mori Parkphoto by suminao   /   embedded from Instagram

When it comes Sado, yes, it’s Toki – Japanese ibis. Toki is designated as a nationally protected species, however, Japanese Toki has become extinct a decade ago. So, Toki in Japan today is from overseas and number of them are increasing gradually as a result of breeding.

If you are interested, feeding time is the best! It is a moment that you can witness an active Toki. It is also a wonderful place to learn about Toki by the displays such as short movies and stuffed specimen etc.

Name: Toki no Mori Park
Address: 383-2, Nagaune, Niibo Village, Sado City, Niigata
Phone: +81-259-22-4123
Time: 8:30am-17:00pm
Close: None(Closed on Mon between Dec and Feb)
Access: Approx. 20 mins drive from Ryozu Harbour

Map: map to Toki no Mori Park

Let’s Fully Enjoy Niigata While Visiting The Recommended Places

How was the article stating all Top 10 recommended places in Niigata? It’s actually quite hard to look around all the places at once since Niigata is huge. However, each spot has a different attraction. Go for a swim in summer and enjoy skiing in winter, or you can even mix the plans and do as much as you can! Niigata is definitely the most recommended area to visit.

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