Must-See Scenic Spots Showcasing the Wonders of Nature!


Niigata is chock-full of wondrous locations that have to be seen to be believed. Artwork that changes with the seasons, reflections in rice paddies, color gradients created by fields of grain, and more. Come visit Niigata where spectacular new views can be discovered with each season!

The Beautiful and Photogenic Snowscapes of the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel

The Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel, also called the Tunnel of Light, is a popular photo spot that showcases the peak beauty of Niigata. It’s an art piece created by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, an international art festival held every three years. The tunnel floor is covered by shallow water that wells up from the gorge while stainless steel lines the walls, forming a full circle that reflects the outdoor scenery.

Because the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel incorporates natural landscapes, its beauty is amplified by seasonal colors cycling through the greens of spring and summer to the yellow and red foliage of autumn, and finally the white snowfall of winter.

*The tunnel may be temporarily closed in winter due to heavy snowfall.

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Enjoy Magnificent Views at the Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park!

Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park, located on the border of Niigata and Nagano prefectures, is known for its concentration of volcanic and non-volcanic mountains born through tectonic activity.

Out of all the distinctive mountains in the area, the most famous are Mt. Amakazari, Mt. Hiuchi, and Mt. Myoko. Mt. Amakazari, recognized as part of the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark, is famous for its vast fields of bamboo grass. Its summit commands majestic views of the Sea of Japan, and is adorned by Buddhist stone statues placed by mountain worshippers.

Mt. Hiuchi is known for its array of stunning alpine plants, fiery fall foliage, and the rare rock ptarmigan bird. Mt. Myoko is home to huge lava rocks, and has long been a site of ascetic practices. While a difficult climb for beginners, the exceptional hot springs of the Myoko Highland will help you recover after a day of hiking.

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The Stunning Reflections on Ryugakubo Pond

Ryugakubo Pond, located in Tsunan, is a natural spring nestled deep within a lush forest of broad-leaved trees like beech and oak.

30 tons of water gush out of the spring every minute, totaling a whopping 43,000 tons each day. This means that all the water in the 1.2-hectare pond is replaced every day, keeping it clear and fresh. This beautiful, transparent water reflects the surrounding greenery like a mirror, creating a mystical atmosphere. There’s a fountain to drink the spring water near the pond, so be sure to have a taste to fully appreciate this treasure of Niigata!

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Admire the Patchwork of Nature From Mt. Yamamoto!

Mt. Yamamoto is a 336-meter-high mountain in Ojiya, known as one of the most scenic spots in Niigata. From its summit, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Three Great Mountains of Echigo, the magnificent Shinano River, the lush green Echigo Plain, and more.

The Ikegahara countryside that spreads out from the foot of Mt. Yamamoto also resembles a patchwork of nature. In September, golden fields of ripe rice, paddies turning brown after the harvest, and buckwheat fields blooming with white flowers draw a beautiful geometric pattern across the vast land.

The surrounding area is also prone to fog and, during early autumn mornings, you may be treated to rare phenomena such as seas of clouds, cloud waterfalls, and white rainbows when sunlight reflects off the fog.

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The Snowmelt "Water Mirror" on the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces

The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces in Tokamachi consist of about 200 paddies of various sizes, flaunting scenery that changes not only season to season but also by time of day!

Between April to June, the snowmelt fills the paddies with water, making spring a popular time to visit. The "water mirror" that forms on the surface reflects the surrounding landscape and sunlight brilliantly.

There are two photo spots at the entrance to Hoshitoge to admire the incredible terraces. The area is privately owned, so please enjoy it while being careful not to trespass or interfere with farm work.

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