Niigata Prefecture

Stretched across the coast and facing the Sea of Japan, for Japanese people, Niigata Prefecture is nearly synonymous with its rice industry as not only are the grains grown in Niigata impeccably smooth, but the sake it produces is coveted worldwide. 

Niigata is divided into four main regions, and for many traveling from Tokyo into the Tohoku region, Niigata is their first stop into the northern frontier. While Niigata isn’t actually considered part of Tohoku for historical reasons, it still has much of the northern charm that, when paired with its own local flair, is something truly special.

Skiing, hiking, hot springs, traditional performances, and a thriving arts scene are some of the many reasons that people choose to visit Niigata. And delicious food, stunning scenery, and the warm, friendly people are some of the reasons that people will never forget their time here.

Come make memories that will last a lifetime. Come, visit Niigata.

Top Destinations in

Niigata City

Niigata City is the capital city of Niigata prefecture and sits right at the crossroads of all that is happening and up-and-coming in Niigata.

Sitting right on the coast as a bustling port city, seafood is as fresh as it gets here in Niigata City, and when paired with one of Niigata’s world-famous bottles of sake, you’re in for the meal of a lifetime!

If you’re making a trip deeper into the Tohoku region, Niigata City makes a great first stop on your journey as it is only two hours from Tokyo by shinkansen. And due to its central location, it makes a great base for you to take day trips as you explore the prefecture thoroughly.

Sado Island

Sado Island was once known as Japan’s “Island of Exile,” as historically, those who fell out of grace with the state were banished here in isolation.

However, almost overnight, Sado went from being an island prison to a bustling hotspot when gold was discovered during the Edo period, people from all walks of life flocked to the island to seek their fortune.

After nearly 400 years of continuous mining, Sado decided to turn its attention to healing the environmental damages dealt to the island by the mines, and today, pristine nature, fascinating historical sites, delicious seafood, and rich folk culture await those who venture out to Sado, the Island of Exile.

Yamakoshi Koi Village

Hidden deep within the mountains of Niigata, Yamakoshi Koi Village is believed to be where selective koi breeding in order to create the prized “nishikigoi” first started in Japan over 200 years ago.

The mountainous landscape enveloping Yamakoshi Village is quite harsh with heavy winter snowfalls and rugged, jarring terrain. However, once you traverse through the mountain pass, you’ll see that although rural, Yamakoshi’s secluded location has given birth to a culture unlike anywhere else in Japan.

Besides Koi, Yamakoshi Village is also famous for raising strong bulls that play a significant role in the local spiritual beliefs of the village. In addition, alpacas are raised here as well.