Savor High-grade Sake in Niigata - Kingdom of Local Sake

Two days and one night
Train and Taxi
Sample drinks in a winery with the oldest wine cellar in Japan and then taste famous sakes on the Koshino Shu*Kura sightseeing train that has been designed with the concept of alcohol. Finally, enjoy a tour of a snow storehouse and souvenir shopping at a sake brewery.
10 minutes by taxi from Arai Station on the Echigo TOKImeki Railway


Road Station ARAI

Seafood and mountain food!

There are farmers' markets with fresh vegetables, restaurants, inns and a convenience store. You can purchase Niigata specialties like rice and sake and fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan. The station also offers travel and traffic information.

10 minutes by taxi
15 minutes from Arai Station on the Myoko Haneuma Line: Get off at Takada Station
10 minutes by car from Takada Station


Takada Castle Site Park

Explore one of Japan's largest city parks, with a museum and library to boot!

Takada Castle Site Park stands on the grounds of Takada Castle, which was built as the residence for Tokugawa Ieyasu's sixth son, Matsudaira Tadateru, and is now a designated historical site. The present park was created in 1907 by breaking up many of the earthen mounds and filling in much of the moat.

Covering roughly 50 hectares, Takada Castle Site Park is among the largest urban parks in Japan. It includes cultural facilities like the restored three-story castle turret, a history museum, art museum, and library, along with sports facilities such as an athletics field, baseball field, and grass field, plus a promenade around the outer moat. Other notable features include the residence of renowned Japanese painter Kobayashi Kokei, and the restored Gokuraku Bridge, which connects the Honmaru and Ninomaru areas.

Takada Castle Site Park is also renowned for its seasonal transformations. In spring, it is covered with around 4,000 blooming cherry blossom trees. Combined with the illuminated turret and paper lanterns, the scene is considered one of the three best nighttime cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan. The Takada Castle Site Park Cherry Blossom Viewing Party is held when the cherry blossoms are at their best.

In summer, visitors can witness the entire moat covered in lotus blossoms, heralded as the "best in Asia." The Takada Castle Site Park Lotus Blossom Viewing Party is held in mid-July to late August to celebrate.

15 minutes by taxi


Iwanohara Winery

Japan's Oldest Winery in Operation

The oldest winery in Japan still in operation today. During the harvest (from September to October), you may be able to see the wine brewing. You can enjoy a wine tasting at the shop.

Stay overnight in the environs

Take the Koshino Shu*Kura from Naoetsu Station


Koshino Shu*Kura

A luxury train based around the theme of ‘sake.’

Koshino Shu*Kura is a resort train that serves local Niigata sake! Connecting Joetsumyoko Station and Tokamachi Station, passengers can sample all kinds of sake while enjoying beautiful Sea of Japan views. The train also stops for a few minutes at Omigawa Station, which is known for its stunning ocean vistas beyond the platform.

The drink menu includes five types of carefully selected local sake from Niigata Prefecture. If you purchase a ticket with a meal plan, you can also relish a light meal made from regional ingredients that pairs excellently with the sake. The train also has its own exclusive sake, called the Koshino Shu*Kura Original Daiginjo, which makes for a one-of-a-kind souvenir. It’s brewed using the “yamahai” method of nurturing the lactic acid bacteria that live in the brewery, allowing you to taste the natural goodness of Niigata.

Get off at Tokamachi Station
10 minutes on foot


Museum on Echigo-Tsumari, MonET

The base of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field, full of magnificent works by renowned artists.

The Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art / KINARE was reopened as the Museum on Echigo-Tsumari, MonET on July 22, 2021 with a new permanent collection. The museum features 15 permanent works, including eight additions in 2021, along with a museum store. It also serves as a base for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field.

Permanent Collection: Artists include Asai Yusuke, Leandro Erlich, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Carlos Garaicoa, Ryota Kuwakubo, Koichi Kurita, Nicolas Darrot, Marnix de Nijs, Michiko Nakatani, Kohei Nawa, Carsten Nicolai, Massimo Bartolini feat. Lorenzo Bini, Me, Moriyama Daido, and Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger.

The first-floor corridor also hosts a community space, designed and supervised by Muji, used for various events.

10 minutes on foot to Tokamachi Station
10 minutes on the Hokuetsu Express Hokuhoku Line: Get off at Matsudai Station
3 minutes on foot


NOHBUTAI Snow-Land Agrarian Culture Center, Matsudai

Embark on a journey at this field museum, where visitors can revel in art, culinary delights, and agriculture amidst the lush nature of Echigo-Tsumari.

Themed around the "exchange between urban and rural areas," this comprehensive cultural facility uncovers and shares the region's abundant resources. A 2-km stretch of "satoyama" rural landscape, from Matsudai Nou-butai, the base facility, to Matsudai Castle atop the mountain, showcases approximately 40 art installations. Take a leisurely stroll to immerse yourself in the local nature and culture.

Designed by the Dutch architectural group MVRDV, Matsudai Nou-butai is not only a base facility but a work of art itself, featuring rooms designed by various artists. Explore the Matsudai Nou-butai Field Museum to tour these unique artworks, gaining insights into the satoyama landscape, the enduring farming culture of snow country, and the lifestyles of the local community. Whether on foot, by rented bicycle, or by car, you can explore the area based on the length of your stay and your specific interests.

3 minutes on foot to Matsudai Station
30 minutes on the Hokuetsu Express Hokuhoku Line: Change train at Muikamachi Station
5 minutes by JR: Get off at Itsukamachi Station
10 minutes by taxi


Uonuma no Sato

Experience the serenity of traditional snow country culture.

In the snowy Uonuma Basin, timeless wisdom derived from living in harmony with nature has been passed down over the generations, creating a community that cherishes the beauty of each season.

Uonuma no Sato, nestled in a serene rural village at the base of Mt. Hakkai, was built with the desire to share the essence of the good old-fashioned Uonuma lifestyle and traditions of “snow country” Niigata. Based around the renowned sake brewery Hakkaisan, visitors can explore and unwind at spots like Hakkaisan Yukimuro, which has a cafe, store, and kitchenware shop; Sobaya Nagamori, a soba noodle restaurant; and Satoya, a confectioner.

The Hakkaisan Yukimuro (Snow Chamber) can be entered on free guided tours. The chamber stores approximately 1,000 tons of snow each year, maintaining a temperature of around 4°C. This allows for year-round storage of sake and food while preserving their distinct flavors.