Walk around a Hot Spring District and a City of Water
15 minutes on foot
Sasagawa Nagare Coastline
Sasagawa Nagare is an 11-kilometre stretch of coastline near the city of Murakami, with beautifully contrasting clear blue water and white sandy beaches. Along this stretch of coast the rough waters of the Sea of Japan have created uniquely eroded rocks with submerged peaks and caves, scenery that takes visitors’ breath away. The magnificent view has been designated a place of scenic beauty and a national natural treasure.
A ride on one of the pleasure boats to enjoy the wonderful views of Sasagawa Nagare from the water is a must. Be overwhelmed by the magically shaped rocks resembling objects as varied as spectacles and dinosaurs. Boat rides take 40 minutes and include seagull feeding, the flocks of gulls flying towards the boat are a particular highlight!
Beat the crowds with a morning ride, or enjoy an evening ride for fantastic sunset views. Guarantee a place with the best view by getting in the queue early!
You can also enjoy a stunning sunset view from the Sasagawa Nagare Yuhi Kaikan, a roadside station offering a viewing terrace along with a local produce shop and restaurant.
70 minutes by train from JR Kuwagawa Station: Get off at Shibata Station
25 minutes on foot
Shibata Castle Ruins Park
Shibata Castle Ruins Park is located on the site of the historic Shibata Castle. It has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 castles. The main gate and Ninomaru Sumi Yagura (one of the castle towers) have been designated important cultural properties, and the surrounding moats can be viewed in their original form. The three-storied castle keep has a unique T-shaped roof decorated with three Shachihoko (a tiger-headed carp from Japanese folklore) – unique in all of Japan. The three-storied castle keep belongs to the Japanese Self Defence Forces however a look at the exterior is still well worth the visit. The Namako wall, a traditional Japanese style often seen on the castles in snowy areas, is a must-see.
When the cherry blossoms start to bloom, the castle is illuminated with traditional paper lanterns. Come and enjoy the night view of the castle’s cherry blossoms and lanterns reflecting on the water of the surrounding moat.
The park is a popular place of recreation and relaxation for locals. Visitors can enjoy seasonal beauty throughout the year from springtime cherry blossoms to summer’s lotus flowers blooming on the water, autumnal leaves and snowy winter scenery.
10 minutes by train from JR Shibata Station: Get off at Tsukioka Station
5 minutes by bus
Tsukioka Onsen is famed for its rich sulphuric water with one of the highest sulphur contents of any Onsen in Japan. With exceptionally beautiful emerald green water this hot spring is particularly popular with women as the water is known to promote beautiful skin. The mild alkaline water is smooth on the skin leaving it soft and moist.
During an evening stroll around this hot spring town you will notice the scent of sulphur in the air and may catch a glimpse of a Kimono-clad Geisha dashing under the light of the street lamps. Enjoy a stay at one of the town’s traditional Ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) to really soak up the historic atmosphere.
The town’s charming streets are lined with a variety of traditional shops. Sample a cup of the local Sake, look in on the traditional sweets shops or even try your hand at baking and decorating your own rice crackers. The town also offers unique experiences such as soaking your hands in a special hot spring hand bath, tasting the sulphuric hot spring water or pouring it over the local matchmaking statue to wish for luck in love. Make the most of your Onsen experience with the Yumeguri Tegata Onsen Pass!
5 minutes by bus
30 minutes by train from JR Tsukioka Station: Get off at Toyosaka Station
10 minutes by train
Fukushimagata Lagoon is a vast nature reserve stretching over 193 hectares. It is home to a number of endangered species of animals and plants and is listed on Japan’s 100 greatest natural environments. The park is a paradise for bird and plant lovers.
In spring, the carpet of rapeseed flowers is impressive. Indulge yourself in the vivid yellow colour and scent of the flowers while listening to birds singing. In summer, giant pink lotus flowers are in bloom. The rarely seen Euryale ferox, a massive lotus with two-metre leaves and thorns, can be found here. In winter, the snowy scene of the wetlands with migratory swans is a favourite.
Along with flocks of swans, the greatest concentration of Eastern Taiga Bean geese, a recognised national natural treasure, resides here. Fukushimagata Wetlands is also designated as a wildlife sanctuary for the Japanese white crucian carp.
After a walk around the wetlands learn about these rarely seen animals and plants at the View Fukushikagata museum. The museum offers a café, gift shop and a glass-walled observatory. Enjoy a 360° panoramic view of the Fukushimagata Wetlands and the neighbouring Echigo Plains.
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.
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 (Niigata Convention Centre)
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.