Northern Culture Museum and Ito Estate
This wealthy landlord’s house and Ito family estate, representative of former Echigo Province (current Niigata), is open to the public as a museum. Documents and art collections including paintings and sculptures from former household heads are on display.
Hakusan Park is a Dutch-style promenade garden neighbouring Hakusan Shrine. This beautiful garden with ponds, artificial hills, trees and flowers has been selected as one of Japan’s best 100 city parks. Visitors can enjoy the garden’s seasonal beauty with its springtime cherry blossoms and summer lotus flowers, autumn leaves and snowy winter scenes.
The Air Gardens, located between the Hakusan Park and the Ryutopia (Niigata City Performing Arts Centre), is designed to represent islands in the water. It is a popular cherry blossom viewing location. When the cherry blossoms are at their best, the illuminated gardens are utterly fantastic. The Air Garden is also a popular spot for families with its children’s playgrounds.
The Enkikan, a former merchant house of the Meiji period partly relocated and reconstructed, has been turned into be a community space for learning traditional cultural activities such as tea ceremony. The building is open to the public and visitors can enjoy a cup of matcha tea (300 yen). The stunning lotus pond is definitely worth a visit!
The Bandai Bridge is a solid stone arch bridge crossing over the Shinano River. Decorations within the granite give the bridge a majestic appearance.
The current bridge is the third incarnation that was reconstructed in 1929 for the city’s modernisation. The Bandai Bridge was designated an Important Cultural Property in July 2004. Following Tokyo’s Nihonbashi Bridge, this was the second bridge on the national highway designated as an Important Cultural Property. The bridge is 306.9 metres long and 22 metres wide and survived the 1964 Niigata Earthquake. It provides an important transportation link for the local citizens.
The bridge has a broad pedestrian walkway and is best viewed from the promenades along the Shinano River. Take a stroll along one of the promenades or board the waterbus to really enjoy the view of this grand bridge!
Toki Messe is a convention centre located at the mouth of the Shinano River meeting the Sea of Japan. Architecturally resembling an ocean liner, the urban building is a highlight of Niigata’s waterfront.
The convention centre consists of a large, well-equipped exhibition hall, a variety of 13 conference rooms and an on-site hotel. It offers the perfect facilities to host conferences and parties including accommodation for guests and attendees.
On the 31st floor of the Bandaijima Building, the Befco Bakauke Observatory Room rises 125 metres above ground level and is the highest building along the Sea of Japan. Visitors can enjoy a 360° panoramic view of Niigata City, along with the Sea of Japan, Sado Island and the Gozu Mountains. Admission to the observatory is free.
The information desk at the convention centre has a wide range of brochures available and is the perfect place to plan your journey around Niigata.
The Sado Gold Mine was the largest gold and silver mine in Japan. It has a 400-year heritage spanning economic ups and downs from its opening in 1601 to its closure in 1989. The industrial remains of the gold mine including tunnels and mining infrastructure are designated both as a national treasure and as part of Japan’s Heritage of Industrial Modernisation. The site is a nominated candidate to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The remains of the gold mine are a popular location for history enthusiasts. The abandoned buildings remind visitors of Hayao Miyazaki's movie “Castle in the Sky”. Visitors can spend all day here to exploring the site’s photogenic scenery.
The gold mine offers two routes that visitors can explore (no reservation is required, each route takes 30 to 40 minutes). These routes are open every day. Large groups or anyone particularly interested in the history of the mine can make a reservation for one of two guided tours. The guided tours are available from April to November and take about 100 minutes. One is available for groups of over 10 people, the other is only for visitors over 13 years.
Onogame is a giant, turtle-shaped monolith standing 167 metres above ground level plunging into the Sea of Japan at the north-western tip of Sado Island. This massive rock has been awarded two stars in the Michelin Green Guide.
Onogame is also known for its landscape of Tobishima liquorices with the surrounding area covered with a carpet of yellow liquorice flowers from late May to early June.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and suitable clothes and follow the walking path to the top of Onogame rock. (The path is subject to closure for safety reasons depending on the weather.)
Enjoy the magnificent view from the top of Onogame and don’t miss the wonderful sight of the rock itself from further along the coastal road.