Takada Castle

Joetsu Region

Joetsu Region
Niigata Prefecture

Joetsu Region

Historically, Joetsu was the center of political power and trade in the old Echigo Province, which today is better known as Niigata Prefecture.  During the Nara period, both land and sea trade routes from Tohoku to Kyushu were established to transport goods such as fish, and the area was once the main base of the Uesugi Clan before they moved to Yonezawa.

Post-Meiji Revolution, in 1911, Joetsu became the first place in Japan to be introduced to skiing when Austria sent a delegation to teach skiing to Japan for strategic military purposes.

Today, Joetsu is renowned as a must-visit ski destination in the winter and a hiking paradise in the warmer months. As 70% of the region is mountainous and with some of the highest snowfall averages in the country, for the nature-lover, Joetsu cannot be missed!

Cities in the Joetsu Region
Joetsu Castle


Discover the fascinating world of Japan’s feudal history in Joetsu city, the capital of the Joetsu region. 

Once home to Uesugi Kenshin, a powerful feudal lord, Joetsu is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and delicious cuisine. Explore the historic ruins of Uesugi’s fortress atop Mt. Kasuga and get a glimpse of traditional life through local breweries and rice paddies. Catch the annual Kenshin Festival in August, where samurai enthusiasts can experience a battle reenactment by hundreds of brave samurai warriors

Itoigawa Coast


Itoigawa is a charming coastal city known for its stunning natural scenery and rich cultural heritage.

The Itoigawa Coast is also known as the Jade Coast – renowned for the small, translucent jade pebbles that can be discovered by beachcombers along the shoreline. In the summer, the swimming beach becomes a hub of activity as both locals and tourists head to the refreshing waters of the Sea of Japan to beat the heat. Don’t miss the beautiful sunsets and sweeping ocean views, reaching as far as Sado Island on a clear day.



Mt. Myoko, an active volcano, towers over the city and is one of Japan’s oldest ski resort areas.

Often recording the highest snowfall in Japan, the mountain offers five different ski resorts and numerous onsen for post-ski relaxation. After hitting the slopes, for the ultimate onsen experience, check out Tsubame Onsen – located in the middle of the lush Myoko forests, the outdoor springs are filled with naturally milky-white mineral water from the mountains.