Simple, Friendly, and Rural Niigata2023.01.31
That's because residents of Niigata are incredibly proud of their land and customs and genuinely want to share these with visitors. And, as for now, Niigata is an under-visited location, meaning you'll discover traditional buildings, crafts, and festivals while meeting warmhearted people on the streets, in the stations, on trains, and just about anywhere.
Interactive, friendly festivals
Here, group and individual travelers experience Niigata's snow-country hospitality and culture. Children of visitors and locals bond while making Japanese-style snowmen, playing in snow caves, and sliding on the free sled hill. Residents at food stalls or igloo-like snow buildings sell local versions of traditional soba, udon, smoked duck, grilled river fish, boar curry, and other Niigata country dishes. Outdoor bars sculptured from snow and ice become gathering areas for free-flowing conversations among visitors and residents. To taste a unique Niigata drink, try sake heated with a piece of grilled river fish inside. You'll impress the locals.
The kindness of Niigata's country folk extends to experiences in Niigata city. Last week, for instance, I decided to buy a bag of pears from a grandmotherly lady selling produce out of a tiny stall on a side street of Honcho Street. I told the older woman I was going to make jam. We exchanged recipes, and suddenly the older woman gave me a box of pears for free. The pears were from her orchard. She said she was glad to meet someone who would appreciate them.
After living in Niigata for many years, I have learned the residents are delighted when visitors show respect and appreciation for their land and customs and that their hearts open wide.
Getting to and around Niigata
Written by Greg Goodmacher
After living in five countries and traveling to about twenty-five countries, I have settled in Japan. Deep snows, refreshing Japanese sake, ancient customs blended with modern technology, regional cuisines, fantastic arts and crafts, unique traditions, and magical festivals combine to create a country that fascinates me so much that I may never return to my home country, the US. Japanese onsens, in particular, have a hold on me. So far, I have bathed in more than six hundred locations between Hokkaido and Okinawa.