Leisure / Outdoors Spots in Niigata Area

  • 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.
  • Takada Castle Site Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Joetsu-shi Motoshirocho 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Niigata Science Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Meikeminami 3-1-1
    This large-scale science museum is located in Chuo Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture. Many of the exhibits encourage direct interaction, allowing visitors to have fun as they learn about the natural sciences. The exhibitions from the first through third floors are divided into the four sections with different themes: Niigata Prefecture’s transformation over time, the natural sciences, science in our lives, and the “mystery plaza.” There’s also a moving dinosaur full-scale model, the largest planetarium on the Japan Sea coast, an outdoors exhibition area where you can experience riding in solar cars, and more, providing plenty for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
  • 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.
  • Hakusan Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Ichibamboridorichou Chisaki
    This is a city park located in the Niigata City urban center near the Niigata City Office, Furumachi old town, and a variety of cultural facilities. Hakusan Park was built in 1873 as one of Japan’s first public parks based on the Dajokan Fukoku (Proclamation by the Grand Council of State). Located directly next to the Niigata Hakusan-jinja Shrine, it is used as a place of rest and relaxation by worshippers. Visitors can walk down the “Yasuragitei” embankment along the Shinanogawa River and pass “Ryutopia,” the Niigata City Performing Arts Center that features a rooftop park.
  • 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 Prefectural Museum of Modern Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nagaokashi Senshu 3-278-14
    This is an art museum opened in Nagaoka City, Niigata prefecture in 1993. It collects and exhibits art works from Niigata, Japan and around the world. There is a collection of about 6,000 artworks mainly focusing on the “Taiko Collection” of the current Taiko Bank as well as contemporary art from the Meiji period, 19th century Western art and artworks by Niigata local artists. Aside from the permanent exhibition, collection exhibitions and special exhibitions, as well as workshops where visitors can enjoy art casually, are held at the museum.
  • 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.
  • Snow Peak Headquarters Camping Field
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Sanjo-shi Nakanohara 456
  • Kashiwazaki City Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Kashiwazakishi Midorichou 8-35
    Kashiwazaki City Museum is located a 20-minute walk from Kashiwazaki Station on the JR Shinetsu Main Line in the city of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture. It displays materials related to an extinct Naumann elephant that was unearthed in the city. In the Nature Display Room, visitors can see a permanent display that features actual specimens of insects, plants, and other life forms that live in the area. They can also watch videos about these plants and animals. Another permanent exhibit is found in the Humanities Room, where visitors can learn about local history and folk culture. Another room contains a model of Mt. Yoneyama and its beech forests. There is even a planetarium with programs that shows the stars that are visible from Kashiwazaki on that day, with a theme of healing and solace.
  • Myoko Sunshine Land
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Jouetsushi Nakagou-ku Eguchi 846-1
    This amusement park is located adjacent to Myoko Sunshine Hotel and Myoko Sunshine Golf Club. There are over 20 different types of attractions such as Sky Jet and Go Karting that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. The park is open from April to early November every year, and in April there is Myoko Tenku Sakura, which is a free-entry opening event where visitors can look down upon 1,500 cherry trees from the Ferris wheel.
  • Niigata Prefectural Museum of History
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nagaokashi Sekiharamachi 1 Authority 2247-2
    This large museum, about 10,000 square meters in area, is located in Sekiharamachi, Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture. The permanent exhibitions focus on the Jomon period and introduce the folk culture and history of Niigata. The “Jomonjin no Sekai Corner” teaches about the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the Jomon settlers throughout the seasons. You’ll also find excavation reports and archaeological studies on Jomon culture, models of the covered walkways of Gangi-dori in the snowy Takada region, an explanation of the history of rice-making, and more.
  • Niigata City History Museum (Minatopia)
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Yanagishimachou 2-10
    At this history museum in Chuo Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture, you’ll find materials illuminating the history and folk culture of Niigata, which developed along with the sea. The main building adopts a modern Western design used by the second-generation Niigata city hall. Inside, you’ll find a permanent exhibit with the theme “The local sea and locals’ lives,” along with a theater, planned exhibitions, and more. Onsite, there’s also the Former Niigata Customhouse building in the Meiji period, a National Treasure, and the Former Daishi Bank Sumiyoshi-cho Branch, which was completed in 1927. Visitors are allowed entry.
  • Tokamachi City Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Tokamachishi Nishimotochou 1-382-1
    This museum in Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, houses and displays historical and cultural artifacts from Tokamachi based on the theme of “snow, textiles and the Shinano River”. There are a lot of models, dioramas, and archaeological finds etc. displayed in the museum which introduce in chronological order the history of the Jomon period through to modern times. You can also see artifacts relating to Tokamachi textiles which show the tools that were used and resourcefulness of the people in their daily lives in this region of heavy snow. The flame-style pottery, excavated from the Sasayama site in Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, are the most outstanding items exhibited in the museum and have been designated as National Treasures.
  • Niigata City Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Nishiohatachou 5191-9
    You’ll find this art museum next to Nishiohata Park in Chuo Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture. Its collections and exhibitions focuses on contemporary and modern art as well as the works of artists with ties to Niigata. The building was designed by Kunio Maekawa, a Niigata-born architect, in his latest years. The collection consists of over 4,000 items and includes modern art by Bonnard, Rodin, Piccaso, and more, as well as domestic artists such as Yayoi Kusama. Several exhibits are held every year.

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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