Niigata is a harbor city with a population of 810,000 facing the Sea of Japan. It is approximately 250 km directly north of Tokyo, and is connected with Tokyo via the Shinkansen and an expressway. Niigata is a rice-growing region famed for the high quality of its rice and sake.
The Port of Niigata was established in the 16th century, and the town prospered. In 1858, when the Japan-U.S.A. Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed, Niigata was designated as one of five ports in Japan to conduct trade with the outside world. Niigata's international port was subsequently opened in 1868. In 1889, Niigata was incorporated as a city.
1 Niigata station is the terminus of the Joetsu Shinkansen line to Tokyo, costing ¥10,570 each way. Most trains take a little over 2 hours, but there is one morning run which goes from Tokyo and Ōmiya nonstop in 97 minutes. The trip is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Rail Pass.
The Shinkansen is also a fast and cost-effective way to access Niigata from Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe (5 hours from Osaka and ¥22,310, with a change of trains in Tokyo). The Japan Rail Pass is valid with the exception of Nozomi trains running on the first leg to Tokyo. But your Japan Rail pass is valid on the Hikari and Sakura trains between Osaka and Tokyo
From Kanazawa and Toyama there used to be a one-seat service to Niigata, but this has changed with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The fastest way to travel between these areas is to take the Shinkansen's Hakutaka (はくたか) service to Jōetsu-myōkō (上越妙高), and change to a limited express train called the Shirayuki (しらゆき) which operates five times per day. The journey from Kanazawa using this route takes around 3 hours and costs ¥10,130 each way; from Toyama, 2 hours 45 minutes and ¥9,160. If you use a Japan Rail Pass, a small surcharge of ¥450 will have to be paid for the 10km journey between Jōetsu-myōkō and Naoetsu which operates over non-JR tracks.
Trains to and from the north are fewer and farther between. The most convenient service is the Inaho (いなほ) limited express to Sakata (2 hours, ¥5,270), with about half the journeys continuing to Akita (3½ hours, ¥7,210). Local trains also run up and down the Japan Sea coast, but only run every two hours or so toward the northern part of the prefecture. These trains are routinely subject to weather-related delays and cancellations.
The Moonlight Echigo (ムーンライトえちご) was a seasonal train that ran overnight from Shinjuku to Niigata, mainly during periods when the Seishun 18 Ticket is in effect. None of these trains have run since 2014.
- 2 Niigata Airport ((新潟空港 Niigata Kūkō, KIJ IATA). Handles international Korea (Seoul daily on Korean Air), China (Shanghai three times weekly on China Eastern, Harbin (four times weekly on China Southern), and Guam (twice weekly on Continental). There are also frequent domestic flights from Osaka (Itami Airport) (¥25,100 one way), Sapporo (¥28,700 one way), Nagoya (Chubu Airport), and Fukuoka (¥31,700 one way).
Shuttle buses run on a regular schedule from the JR Niigata South Exit directly to airport approximately every 30 minutes (25 minutes, ¥400 one way).
Niigata Kotsu runs highway buses to Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo (5½ hours, ¥5,250 one way), Nagoya (7.5 hours, ¥7,800 one way), Sendai (3½ hours, ¥4,500 one way), and overnight to Osaka and Kyoto (8 hours, ¥8,450 each way), as well as to a number of other cities.
Bandai City Bus CenterEdit
Ticket office windows: 08:30-19:00
- Niigata Kotsu(Japanese Website) [dead link]
- Tohoku - Sendai, Yamagata, Koriyama, Aizu-Wakamatsu
- Kanto - Tokyo, Takasaki, Ōmiya
- Chubu - Nagoya, Kanazawa, Nagano, Toyama
- Kansai - Osaka, Kyoto
Niigata Station South Exit, Bus TerminalEdit
- Willer Bus +81 50 5805-0383 - English/Korean M-F 10:00-20:00
Shin-Nihonkai Ferry(06-6348-1120) operates a daily service between Otaru and Niigata (18 hours, from ¥6,200). Service is overnight, and private cabins are available for a higher fare (the base fare buys sleeping space on the floor).
Niigata has a bus system that is very good, but also its very easy to walk everywhere, since most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other.
Most major sights in Niigata can be easily accessed by bicycle. Rentals are provided by the city from several locations scattered throughout and rental fees are ¥100 for the first 3 hours and ¥100 for each additional hour. If you plan on keeping the bicycle longer than 4 hours, the trick is to return the bicycle at a nearby rental outlet and check it out again before your first 3 hours are up. In this way, your rental is charged the ¥100 rate each 3 hours. The tourist information office in the Niigata train station can supply you with the necessary maps and show you the closest rental office — about 5 minutes walk. The rental location can also supply you with maps that show you all the rental outlets. ID is needed to rent a bike. Be sure to check the brakes, tire pressure, and how to use the bike lock before you leave the rental outlet.
- 1 Minatopia - Niigata City History Museum (みなとぴあ新潟市歴史博物館), 2-10 Yanagishima - Chuo-ku, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A museum where you can learn about the history and culture of Niigata. Audio guides available in English, Korean, and Russian. ¥300 adults, ¥200 college or vocational school students, ¥100 elementary, junior high, and high school students.
- 2 Northern Culture Museum (北方文化博物館), 2-15-25 Somi - Kōnan-ku, ☏ . Apr-Nov 08:00-17:00, Dec-Mar 08:00-16:30. Built as a wealthy family's home in 1885-1887. The museum comprises several buildings, and a few restaurants/cafes. Documents and art collections including paintings and sculptures from former households are on display. It is worth at least a half day visit. ¥800 adult, ¥400 children.
- 3 Toki Messe Observation Deck (朱鷺メッセ展望室), 6-1 Bandaijima - Chuo-ku, ☏ . Su-Th 08:00-22:00, F 08:00-17:00, last admission 30 minutes before closing. Toki Messe is a modern multi-use convention center. The observation deck on the top floor is a tourist spot where you can observe a panoramic view of Niigata City. Free.
- 4 The Nakano Residence - Museum of Art Foundation (中野邸美術館), 598 Kanazu - Akiha-ku (from Yashiroda Station (JR Shinnetsu Line): it is approximately 3 minutes by taxi or 15 minutes by foot), ☏ . 09:30-16:00, closed W Dec-Mar Aug. ¥700 adults, ¥500 college or vocational school students, ¥100 elementary, junior high, and high school students.
- Tsukioka Carillon Park is a multi-purpose park located next to Tsukioka Hot Springs. The park has a lot to offer for visitors, including the beautiful sound of chimes coming from the Carillon Tower as well as a children’s play area. The Carillon Culture Hall exhibits swords created by National Living Treasure Akitsugu Amata. Visitors can enjoy bathing in hot springs at Houzuki-no-sato Onsen, which is also within the park.
Niigata has a wonderful shopping area. The Rainbow Tower and ocean are nearby. There is a beautiful theater, ferry rides on the river, several museums, and in winter you can watch the swans come in.
- Shinano River Cruise — You can see the scenery of Niigata City from the waterbus that runs along the Shinano River. There is also an open-air deck where passengers can relax and enjoy the view from the river outside. There are three cruises a day.
- Niigata Sports Dome Toyano (新潟スポーツドーム), 397-1 Toyano Chuo-ku. 11:00-23:00. Batting Cages
- Round 1 - Niigata (ラウンドワン), 2-1-38 Misakicho Chuo-ku. Indoor amusement center with arcade batting cages, bowling, karaoke, squash, mini golf, etc.
- Niigata Station CoCoLo (新潟駅ビルCoCoLo), 1-1-1 Hanazonocho - Chuo-ku (inside JR Niigata station).
- Pier Bandai - Bandaijima Fish Market (ピアBandai 万代島鮮魚センター), 2-2 Bandaijima - Chuo-ku. 06:00-28:00.
- Niigata Isetan, 1-6-1 Yachiyo - Chuo-ku, ☏ . M-F 10:00-19:30, Sa Su holidays 10:00-21:00, restaurant area 11:00-20:00 (last call 20:30). Niigata Isetan is a department store.
- Niigata Mitsukoshi, 866 Nishibori-dori Gobancho - Chuo-ku, ☏ . 10:00-19:00, restaurant area 11:00-19:00 (last call 18:30).
- Niigata Furusato Village - Bazzar Hall (新潟ふるさと村), 2307-1 Yamada - Nishi-ku, ☏ . 09:30-18:00.
You can exchange foreign currency and sell and buy traveler's checks at airport, big hotels, local bank branches, Japan Post Bank branches and post offices. Some post offices do not provide this service, though, and even if they provide it, the kinds of currency that they can exchange vary between offices.
- Daishi Bank - Niigata Airport Branch (inside Niigata Airport), ☏ . M-F 09:00-12:00, 13:00-15:00.
- Japan Post Bank - Niigata Branch (新潟中央郵便局), 2-6-26 Higashi-Odori - Chuo-ku (5 minutes walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit). M-F 09:00-16:00.
- Japan Post Bank - Niigata Naka Branch (新潟中郵便局), 7bancho Higashiboridori - Chuo-ku (about 5 minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit). M-F 09:00-16:00.
Like many areas in Japan, Niigata area is well known for its rice. Like many areas in Japan, some locals claim it's the best rice in Japan. It's known for the following specialties:
- Uonuma koshihikari rice.
- Shoyu (soy-sauce) and yofu (western-style) katsudon.
- Shoyu sekihan.
- Noppe stew.
- Wappa-han (seafood and rice steamed in a bamboo basket).
- Sasa-dango (mochi pounded rice balls filled with red bean paste, seasoned with mugwort and wrapped in bamboo leaves).
- Po-po-yaki (steamed bread flavored with brown sugar).
- Hegi-soba (soba from the Uonuma and Ojiya areas that uses a special kind of seaweed).
- Tsubame-sanjo ramen (ramen made using thick udon-style noodles).
- Tochio aburage (aburaage is called "aburage" in Tochio).
- Kirazu (dishes using okara).
- Kakinomoto (edible chrysanthemums).
- Kanzuri (a special seasoning from Myōkō made by leaving chili pepper exposed on snow, then adding flour, salt and yuzu).
- Sushi Kappo - Marui (鮨・割烹 丸伊), 1411 Higashiboridori 8 Bancho chuo-ku.
Along with hundreds of izakaya and other Japanese bars, there are a number of foreigner-run bars in the city. These include Rocks [dead link] (70s-90s rock music bar), Hot Spot, Northern Lights Canadian bar and Shame.
- FuuFuu B&B Style (風々), 4985 Kifucho Chuou-ku (Take bus from terminal 2 heading to Tukefunecyou, get off at okoshichibancyou(2) chome,3 minutes from bus stop.), ☏ (Mobile phone). ¥2600 private room, ¥2000 shared room.
- Niigata Terminal Hotel (新潟ターミナルホテル), 1-6-31 Hanazono-cho - Chuo-ku, ☏ . Rooms from ¥4515 single, ¥7350 double..
- Super Hotel Niigata (スーパーホテル新潟), 1-6-13 Akashi - Chuo-ku (7 minute walk from JR Niigata Station Bandai Exit), ☏ . Singles from ¥4580, twin from ¥8800.
- Toyoko-inn Niigata Furumachi (東横イン新潟古町), 1168-2, Nanaban-cho Kami-okawamae-dori Chuo-ku Niigata-city (free shuttle bus transportation from JR Niigata station (Bandai exit, in front of police station)), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 10:00. From ¥4,980 single, ¥7,980 double or twin.
- APA Hotel Niigata-Furumachi (アパホテル新潟古町), 1037-1 6ban-cho Higashiboridori - Chuo-ku (about 5 minutes by car from JR Niigata station), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. From ¥7,000 single, ¥13,000 single/twin.
- APA Hotel Niigata-Higashinakadori (アパホテル新潟東中通), 289-2 2ban-cho Higashinakadori - Chuo-ku (about 5 minutes by car from JR Niigata station), ☏ , email@example.com. Rooms from ¥6000 single, ¥11000 twin..
- Bandai Silver Hotel (万代シルバーホテル), 1-3-30 Bandai - Chuo-ku (10 minutes walk or 3 minutes drive from JR Niigata station.), ☏ . Rooms from ¥7800 single, ¥7500 twin.
- Chisun Hotel & Conference Center Niigata (チサンホテル＆コンファレンスセンター新潟), 1-1 Sasaguchi - Chuo-ku (direct links with the JR Niigata station South Exit), ☏ , ChisunHotel-Niigata@SolareHotels.com. Rooms from ¥8600 single, ¥12600 double,¥15000 twin.
- Comfort Hotel Niigata (コンフォートホテル新潟駅前), 3-3-1 Benten - Chuo-ku, ☏ . A branch of the American hotel chain.
- Hotel Ohashi Yakata-no-Yu (ほてる大橋 館の湯), 340 Iwamuro-onsen - Nishikan-ku, ☏ . Japanese-style spa hotel.
- Sunroute Hotel Niigata (サンルートホテル新潟), 1-11-25 Higashi-Odori - Chuo-ku (3 minutes walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☏ . Rooms from ¥8000 single, ¥12800 double,¥13800 twin.
- ANA Crowne Plaza Niigata (ANAクラウンプラザホテル新潟), 5-11-20 Bandai - Chuo-ku (10 minutes walk from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms from ¥10972 single, ¥18480 twin, ¥18480 double,¥49500 suite.
- Hotel Nikko Niigata (ホテル日航新潟), 5-1 Bandaijima - Chuo-ku (About 10 minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☏ . All rooms are on high floors (22nd-29th floor). Rooms from ¥11550 single, ¥18480 twin, ¥18480 double,¥46200 suite.
- Hotel Okura Niigata (ホテルオークラ新潟), 6-53, Kawabata-cho - Chuo-ku (5 minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☏ , email@example.com. Rooms from ¥10395 single, ¥23100 twin, ¥28875 double, ¥57750 suite.
- Iwamuro spa Takashimaya (高志の宿 高島屋), 678 Ko, Iwamuro-onsen, Nishi-Kan-ku, ☏ . Japanese-style inn. From ¥39,900 for 2 with dinner & breakfast.
- The Italia-Ken(Niigata) (ホテルイタリア軒), 7-1574 Nishibori-dori - Chuo-ku, (About 8 minutes by car from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. European-style services and cuisine. From ¥12,000 single, ¥18,000 double or twin.
- JR Information Center (Niigata Station, East Exit). 10:00-18:50.
- Niigata Station Bandai Entrance Tourism Information Center, 1-1-1 Hanazono-cho - Chuo-ku, ☏ , fax: . 09:00-18:00.
- Niigata University Medical and Dental (新潟大学医歯学総合病院), 1-754 Asahimachi-dori - Chuo-ku (About 15 minutes by taxi from JR Niigata station Bandai Exit), ☏ (Medicine), (Dentistry), (after-hours and night-time).
- Niigata City General Hospital (新潟市民病院), 463-7 Shumoku - Chuo-ku (About 15 minutes by taxi from JR Niigata station South Exit).
|Routes through Niigata|
|END ←||N S||→ Tsubame-Sanjo → Tokyo|
|END ←||N S||→ Sanjo → Nagano|
|Akita ← Shibata ←||N S||→ END|
|END ←||W E||→ Yasuda → Aizu-Wakamatsu → Koriyama|
|END ←||N S||→ Sanjo-Tsubame → Nagaoka → Toyama|
|Murakami ← Shibata ←||N S||→ END|