≪Yuzawa, Uonuma area≫ A Photogenic Journey
●10 minutes on foot from the west exit of Echigo-Yuzawa Station
Yuzawa Kogen Ropeway/Alpine Plant Garden, Alp no Sato
Yuzawa Kogen Ropeway is just 10 minutes away on foot from Echigo-Yuzawa Station and you can reach the alpine flower park, Alp-no-Sato, at the top of the mountain within 7 minutes. At Alp-no-Sato, you can view highland flora among other natural phenomena.
Kiyotsu Gorge / Tunnel of Light
Kiyotsu Gorge, which is located in Joshinetsukogen National Park, is trending on social media as a photogenic spot. The rough surface of the massive stone walls and the clear water of the Kiyotsu River that runs in between them create a spectacular view. You won’t want to miss Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel, which was given a second life as the Tunnel of Light, an artwork created by Ma Yansong and MAD Architects. Within the tunnel are observation decks with cleverly placed lights and mirrors, which artificially enhance the natural beauty of Kiyotsu Gorge. The most prominent is the Panorama Station, where the whole interior wall is covered with mirrors and the ground covered with water. This well-calculated setup allows the scenery outside to be reflected in all surfaces of the tunnel, resulting in strange yet beautiful pictures of people completely surrounded by the beauty of Kiyotsu Gorge.
Nestled on a 3-hectare hillside in Matsunoyama Matsuguchi, this beech forest boasts century-old trees that lend a unique beauty to the landscape. Known as the "Beautiful Forest," its name echoes the elegance of the standing trees. In the late Taisho era (1912-1926), the entire forest was felled for charcoal production, leaving the mountain bare. However, the following year witnessed a spectacular rebirth as beech trees sprouted and flourished, shaping the mountain's present appearance. This forest is also a thriving habitat for various wild birds.
Throughout the seasons, the beautiful beech forest unveils different expressions:
In spring, young leaves emerge against lingering snow, signaling the arrival of the season.
Summer invites you to experience a cool breeze amid vibrant greenery, with temperatures reportedly 2°C lower than the surrounding areas.
Autumn transforms the forest into a palette of yellows and oranges, enchanting visitors as if stepping into a living painting.
Winter blankets the area in a "silver world," where sunlight sparkles on the snow on sunny days.
You can enjoy the hot spring of Matsunoyama Onsen which is one of Japan's three major medicines with source sourcing. You can enjoy the local taste unique to Satoyama using local ingredients.
Hoshitoge Rice Terraces
There are many rice terraces in Tokamachi. If you only have time to see one, we recommend the Hoshitouge Rice Terraces. If you visit early in the morning, you may be able to see the sea of clouds drifting into the valley. In summer the whole landscape turns shades of bright green, and in winter, the rice terrace is covered with snow. You can enjoy various beautiful landscapes depending on the season and time.
NOHBUTAI Snow-Land Agrarian Culture Center, Matsudai
Matsudai "Nou-butai" is a cultural facility which has gallery, restaurant and more. The building itself is a work of art from the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale. Spreading through the area around Satoyama, this area is called the Satoyama Field Museum, and its interior and exterior spaces host artwork by numerous artists. You can also enjoy a walk through the area.
Hachi & Seizo Tashima Museum of Picture Book Art
The Hachi & Seizo Tashima Museum of Picture Book Art is located in a former elementary school nestled in the quaint village of Hachi in the mountain-surrounded Tokamachi. It was transformed by locals together with renowned picture book author Seizo Tashima, bringing to life the tale of the last students and the friendly "obake" ghosts living in the school through the picture book "Gakko wa Karappo ni Naranai" (The School Will Never Be Empty). The entire school building is designed to be an interactive three-dimensional picture book, captivating visitors with its magical story.
Intriguing classrooms like the Hachi Cafe and Kusamura's Room, as well as a museum shop offer plenty of fun for families. Explore and encounter whimsical characters like Topelatoto, who eats laughter; Doradravan, the dream crusher; and other ghosts hiding in the school walls.
Opening Season: Late April - Late November
*Specific dates vary each year. Refer to the official website for details.
Museum on Echigo-Tsumari, MonET
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.
Ponshukan Echigo Yuzawa stocks a passionately curated selection of souvenirs, including Niigata's renowned soba noodles, delectable delicacies from the Sea of Japan, Niigata's famous dried fish, and the prized Minamiuonuma "koshihikari" rice.
A must-try is the “Bakudan Onigiri” (Bomb Rice Ball) served at Yukinto within the store. These jumbo-sized rice balls are made from the famed koshihikari rice and come with a choice of 15 tantalizing fillings, spanning from classics like pickled plums, salted kelp, and salmon to heartier options like stewed pork cubes.
After eating, savor sake at the tasting area, which features a collection of signature brands from each of Niigata's sake breweries. Pay 500 yen at the counter, and you’ll receive an "ochoko" (small sake cup) and five tokens, from which you can select your preferred local sake from the machines. Finally, there's also a unique sake-infused hot spring, allowing you to unwind while relishing the subtle aromas of sake.