Leisure / Hobbies Spots in Niigata Area

  • GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumagunyuzawamachi Yuzawa Chihira 1039-2
    This ski resort is directly linked to the GALA Yuzawa Station. The Cheers gondola rises up to the ski slope’s central area, from which point skiers can choose from any of 17 courses. The snow is of high quality, perfect for everyone from beginners to advanced level skiers, and the ski resort is directly linked to the Shinkansen train line, making it even convenient. In addition, a skiing and snowboarding school officially recognized by SAJ/JSBA has been opened, and instructors with a wealth of experience carefully construct lessons according to their students’ levels. The resort also has a full range of facilities, including hot springs, a lounge and a day-care center.
  • Naeba Ski Resort
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumagunyuzawamachi Mikuni 202
    This resort has close to 20 runs served by 13 gondolas and lifts including Dragondola the world’s longest gondola at 5481 meters. Mt. Naeba is a large ski complex that also includes the Kagura Tashiro Ski Resorts that are connected by gondola. The Naeba Prince Hotel is directly adjacent to the resort grounds. It sees many visitors for the ski resort in the winter and the FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL that is held in the summer.
  • Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai (Sea of Japan)
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Nishifunamichou 5932-445
    An aquarium standing along the coast in Nishifunami Town, Chuo Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture. The Niigata City Aquarium reopened after major renovations in 2013. The aquarium keeps and displays some 20 thousand sea creatures spanning around 500 species. Some of the aquarium’s many highlights include a giant aquarium exhibit modeled after the natural environment of the Sea of Japan, a “marine tunnel” which will make you feel like you’re walking around on the bottom of the ocean, and exhibits introducing the creatures that live in the Shinano River. The aquarium also has popular exhibits presenting waterfront animals such as beavers, river otters, seals, sea otters, and penguins. Exciting dolphin shows are held daily.
  • Echigo Hillside National Government Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nagaokashi Miyamotohigashikatamachi 1950-1
    Occupying an extensive site, Echigo Hillside National Government Park has plenty of fun things to do and experience. This is a nature park where visitors can enjoy the beautiful flowers and scenery (which changes with the seasons), experience life in a Satoyama (traditional community-managed forest) habitat, and learn about the different plants and animals that have evolved in concert with human agricultural activity. Visitors can eat in the Rest House, or enjoy an outdoor barbecue. Echigo Hillside National Government Park is located around 10-minute drive from the Nagaoka Interchange of the Hokuriku Expressway.
  • Pier Bandai
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Bandaijima 2
    Pier Bandai is the largest fresh food market along the Sea of Japan with a seafood center and farmer’s market. Thanks to its cafeterias, kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi), and ramen shops, this is becoming a place to fully appreciate Niigata’s foods. There is also a BBQ area where all the necessary materials are supplied, so guests can borrow a BBQ set (for a fee) and enjoy cooking the food they have just purchased on site. The facility has an excellent location set in the heart of Niigata City.
  • Tokimesse Niigata Convention Center
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Bandaijima 6-1
    This convention center complex is about a 20-minute walk from JR Niigata Station and is comprised of two buildings: the Niigata Convention Center with exhibition halls and meeting rooms and Bandaijima Building with a hotel. From meetings to parties to lodging everything can be conveniently served by this one space. On the fifth floor of the Bandaijima Building is the Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum focusing on modern art and on the 31st floor is the Befco Bakauke Observation Room from which you can the Sea of Japan, Sado Island, and the Gozu Mountain Range.
  • Akakura Onsen Ski Area
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Myoukoushi Akakura Hot spring
    This ski resort offers a complete set of courses that includes beginner runs and a kids area. It has wide slopes and 17 runs spreading out over Mt. Myoko. Guests can ride a lift and moving belt from Akakura Onsen at the base of the mountain to quickly access the slopes. This resort is also popular for its additional night-time business hours and location that is only about 10 minutes away from Myoko Kogen I.C. on the Joshin-etsu Expressway.
  • Atema Highland Resort BELNATIO
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Tokamachishi Tamakawa
    This resort in Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture sits between Joetsu Kokusai Ski Area and Nakasato Kiyotsu Ski Resort. The 510-hectare resort features hot springs and a variety of seasonal activities to try, making it a popular destination. The resort's Atema Onsen hot springs spa features alkaline spring waters thought to have effects including relieving nerve and muscle pain. Guests can enjoy the changing scenery of the four seasons from one of its four bathtubs. In addition to all-season activities like swimming in the resort's indoor pool or enjoying soba noodle-making lessons, guests can enjoy a number of seasonal activities. These include indoor soccer, tennis, and canoeing during the green season, and snow activities like skiing during the winter.
  • Yuzawa Nakazato Snow Resort
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumagunyuzawamachi Tsuchidaru 5044-1
    This ski area is a five-minute drive from Yuzawa Interchange. The slopes, located 1,000 meters above sea level, are accessed by one of the world’s largest ropeways. The ski area has a great variety of courses for all ability levels. These include the expert-level Aoikeshi Course with its maximum slope of 28 degrees, the wide intermediate-level Kisuge Course, the beginner-level Panorama Course that lets people glide down Mt. Omine at a relaxed pace, and Snow Land. The ski area connects directly to Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort and Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Resort at the peak, giving guests even more course options. Visitors can also take a bath Komakusa no Yu, the natural hot springs spa located in the cable car’s lower end station.
  • Niitsu Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Akiha-ku Gawakesawa 109-1
    The Niitsu Art Museum is located within the Hana to Iseki no Furusato Park, near to Niigata Prefectural Botanical Garden and the Furutsu Hachimanyama Kofun historical site. The Museum hold a wide range of exhibitions, including early-modern period Nihonga and Yoga style paintings and sculptures, photography, original drawings used in the production of picture-books, comic books, animation, etc. A child-minding service, using expert professional staff, is available for visitors with young children (over six months old but below school age), although the service must be booked at least three days before visiting the Museum. The Niitsu Art Museum is located around 20-minute drive from the Niitsu Interchange on the Ban-Etsu Expressway.
  • Takada Park (site of the former Takada Castle)
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Jouetsushi Motoshirochou 44-1
    Takada Park was built on the site of what was formerly Takada Castle, a castle built as a residence for Tokugawa Tadateru, the sixth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu; the entire Park has been designated as an official Historic Site by Niigata Prefectural Government. A variety of cultural and sporting facilities are located within Takada Park, including the reconstructed Sanju-yagura (three-tiered tower) of the old Takada Castle, the Castle Museum, the Kobayashi Kokei Memorial Museum of Art, Takada Library, and the Mimei Ogawa Literature Museum (located inside the Library), making the Park a favorite place for local residents to spend their leisure time. With around 4,000 cherry trees, Takada Park is also a popular spot for viewing the cherry blossom in spring. Takada Park is located around eight- minute drive from Takada Station on the Myoko Haneuma Line.
  • Fossa Magna Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Itoigawa City Niigata Prefecture Ichinomiya 1313
    The Fossa Magna Museum opened 1994 is a museum about rocks for learning about our natural environment and resources, as provided by the Earth across ages and geological eras. In the six-room exhibition area, you can see fossils and beautiful ores (jade) of Itoigawa River. Approximately 10 minutes by car via Itoigawa Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway.
  • AKAKURA Kanko Resort Ski Resort
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Myoukoushi Tagiri 216
    This ski resort adjacent to Akakura Onsen is a mere eight minutes from Myoko-Kogen Interchange. Besides being easily accessible, its free parking lot with room for 1,000 cars right next to the slopes means guests can start skiing immediately upon arrival. The resort, Japan’s first officially-designated international ski area, has courses for all ability levels, but an especially good selection of intermediate and expert courses. The Hotel Number 5 lift offers guests a long course around 4,000 meters in length. A free ride park is also located along each course. For small children, we recommend the Chibikko Hiroba (Kid’s Square) located by the parking lot.
  • Northern Culture Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Kounan-ku Soumi 2-15-25
    The Northern Culture Museum utilizes a residence of the Ito family, which was a large scale farming family in Echigo, and its construction was completed in 1889 after some eight years. The large residence has 65 rooms in a property of 8,800 tsubo (29,040 square meters). There are many sightseeing areas such as the Sanrakutei which has a large hall with 100 tatami mats facing a beautiful garden, a tea room, which was also used an office, and a two-storey earthen gate storehouse built around 1885. In the residence, there are displays of artistic crafts and archaeological documents as well. It is also a well-known place for wisteria, and the beautiful wisteria flowers in the courtyard bloom around late April to early May.
  • Niigata Senbei Oukoku
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Kita-ku Nizaki 2661
    Senbei Oukoku (“Rice Cracker Kingdom”) is a tourist facility with multiple attractions located on Prefectural Route 27 in Niizaki, Kita Ward Niigata City. There is an experiential activity center where visitors can try their hand at decorating senbei (rice crackers) or making “Baka-uke” senbei, etc., tours of the factory where visitors can see how senbei are made, a senbei tasting area, and a shop selling limited-edition “Baka-uke” senbei, “Baka-uke” branded goods, etc. The café offers a menu that includes “Senbei Soft-serve Ice Cream” (with soft-serve ice cream sandwiched between two senbei crackers), “Baka-uke Croquettes,” which are potato croquettes in the shape of a “Baka-uke” senbei cracker, “Rice Flour Curry Bread,” etc.
  • Maiko Snow Resort
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumashi Maigo 2056-108 Maiko Snow Resort
    This all-season resort is just off the Kita-Kanto Expressway’s Shiozawa Ishiuchi Interchange. The ski slope consists of 26 courses in total, the longest of which, is approximately 6,000 meters. There are three different areas, catering to all levels, from children and beginners to advanced level skiers. Visitors can also enjoy using the Snow Scoots and Snow Motos to explore, or to walk around using snow shoes. There are outdoor leisure facilities for auto camping, glamping and barbequing in the summer. Additionally, visitors can enjoy playing with their dogs at the Dog Field. There is a free shuttle bus from Echigo-Yuzawa Station.
  • Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Resort
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumashi Ishiuchi 1782-2
    This ski resort is a five-minute drive from the Yuzawa Interchange on the Kan-Etsu Expressway or a six-minute drive from the Shiozawa-Ishiuchi Interchange. There is also a shuttle bus from the JR Echigoyuzawa Station that takes around 10-minutes. The first rope-tow started operating at this long-standing ski resort in 1949. Now the ski resort covers 236 hectares with 15 lifts, boasting a difference in elevation of 664 meters, and 4,000 meters in length. With two half-pipes and a snow-park suitable for everyone from beginners to experts this ski-resort is also very popular with snowboarders. They also hold various classes and night time activities.
  • Ikenotaira Hot Spring & Ski Area
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Prefecture Myoko City Ikenohei Onsen 2457-1
    This ski resort is located about five minutes by car from the Joshin-etsu Expressway’s Myoko-kogen Interchange. It has one of the biggest straight runs in the country at the bottom of Mount Myoko, and with its fun-filled park, is a popular ski resort. There are 10 courses on the two slopes, Alpine Brick and the 400 meters wide Kayaba slope, which continue down the mountain side for approximately three kilometers, so even beginners can enjoy gently sliding down them. So intermediate and advanced level skiers can improve their skills, snowboarding is permitted throughout the whole area. Skiers can see a superb view of the Sin-etsu mountain range and Lake Nojiri.
  • New ・ Green Pia Tsunan Ski Area
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Nakauonuma Tsunanmachi Akinari 12300
    This ski resort located in Tsunan Town, Nakauonuma County, Niigata Prefecture is open until March. Located within the massive 330-hectare grounds of New Greenpia Tsunan, the ski resort offers not just ski slopes, but also lodging facilities and both indoor and outdoor sporting facilities. The resort’s five courses suit people of all ability levels, while their bunny slopes and sledding slopes are great for families with children. During the open season, the resort holds a number of events and activities including playing in snow huts, dondo-yaki (the ritual burning of New Year’s decorations), and the Tsunan Snow Festival. Each night during the open season, the resort lights up the sky with floating Chinese lanterns.
  • Teradomari Aquarium
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nagaokashi Teradomarihanatate 9353-158
    Teradomari Aquarium showcases the fish that live in the Sea of Japan. Besides the live specimens in the Aquarium, there are also fascinating displays about other natural creatures, including seabirds such as seagulls and kittiwakes, many different types of seaweed and small fish species, etc. The first to third floors of the Aquarium have approximately 10,000 fish belonging to around 400 different species from all over the world; visitors can watch the fish being fed. Teradomari Aquarium is located around 35-minute walk from the Nakanoshima Mitsuke Interchange of the Hokuriku Expressway.

Niigata Areas

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Found along the northwestern coast of Japan, Niigata prefecture is celebrated for its high-quality rice and breathtaking nature, most notably its spectacular mountains, whose white peaks draw in snow sports lovers from far and wide over the winter months. Hit the slopes at Yuzawa, pick out your favourite modern artist at Echigo Tsumari, or take a ferry over to Sado Island for an extra adventure.

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