View of the snow mountain range from a gondola during Winter in Niigata, Japan
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Cruise to Niigata, Japan

Niigata is the place to go to experience Japan's natural bounty. With four seasons of dramatic beauty — with a full month of cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in summer, golden hues in autumn and snow-capped mountains in winter —this port city on the Sea of Japan is a nature lover's dream. Cruise to Niigata and head to Bandai Pier, where you can sample the most famed white fish in Japan from the local vendors. Explore the Niigata's opulent history at the tatami-clad Northern Culture Museum. Indulge your inner geek at the interactive Niigata Manga and Animation Museum. Or take the cable car to the summit of Yuzawa — you can ski here in winter and take in panoramic views year-round.
National Language Japanese
Currency Accepted Japanese Yen (JPY)

Things To Do in Niigata

Two geisha girls walking on a road during Autumn in Niigata, Japan

Niigata, Japan Geisha Girls Autumn

Geisha in the Gardens

Geisha in the Gardens

Niigata's Saito Villa was the summer house of a wealthy merchant family in the 20th century. Walk through the tatami-floored rooms, catching glimpses of the artful private garden. Be mesmerized by a geisha dance and play traditional geisha games. One of the games is like a geisha version of rock paper scissors: You play three times, and the loser turns around while the winner beats a drum.

Sake being poured in a shop in Niigata, Japan

Niigata, Japan Pouring Sake

Sake Sipping

Sake Sipping

Niigata is famous for its rice, so you'll find a treasure trove of sake breweries. Tour Imayotsukasa Brewery where they still make sake the old-fashioned way. Next, nibble miso-pickles while sipping sweet sake at Minemura Brewery, and choose from 92 sake brands at Ponshu-kan Sake Tasting Corner.

Cherry blossoms at the Hakusan Park in the city of Niigata, Japan

Niigata, Japan Hakusan Park

Don't Be Koi

Head to Hakusan Park, the first park public park Japan ever built in 1873. You'll find two large ponds teaming with koi fish, a 1,000-year-old shrine dedicated to marriage, impressive autumn leaves in the middle of the city and a bounty of pale-pink cherry blossoms in the spring.

Japanese katsu curry, curry rice with pork cullet

Niigata, Japan Katsu Curry

Local Cuisine

Visit the Niigata Furusato Bazaar Hall to find every specialty in one place. Grab a bowl of tarekatsu donbori, a fried pork cutlet over rice with a salty-sweet sauce. Tuck into a 10-piece Kiwami sushi platter of the fresh daily fish, and try hegi soba, the local type of slippery noodles made from seaweed during your cruise.

Close up of geta, traditional wood clogs, in Niigata, Japan

Niigata, Japan Wood Clog Geta

Shopping

The Furumachi neighborhood started off as a Geisha district, but now it's buzzing with commercial shops. Respectfully step into one of the many revered kimono stores, lined with delicately patterned fabric. Cruise to Niigata and take home intricate jeweled hair ornaments, or try on a pair of traditional geta shoes worn with Yukata.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Many attractions are near Niigata Station, making it the perfect base for your explorations.
2 Taxi's wait in designated spots outside train stations, but you can hail them within the city.
3 Niigata is warm in the summer and snowy in the winter, be sure to pack appropriate clothing.

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