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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Yuzawa Ichigo Mura Strawberry Farm
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumagunyuzawamachi Kandatsu 750-1
    This all-weather pick-your-own strawberry farm, Uonuma's first, is a five-minute drive from Yuzawa Interchange. Open from January to the end of June, people of all ages can enjoy picking strawberries rain, snow, or shine. Guests can pick sweet and juicy Echigohime strawberries (a variety exclusive to Niigata Prefecture) raised with great attention to their watering and cultivation in the farm's three big greenhouses. The farm is wheelchair accessible, as the strawberries can be picked without bending over and the greenhouses were built with wide passages. Visitors can choose to either take home their strawberries or enjoy the all-you-can-eat option. The farm also has a rest area where you can eat your strawberries.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ikutopia Food and Flowers
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Seigorou 336
    Ikutopia is found right next to Toyanogata Lake. It's the perfect relaxation spot with both food and flowers allowing you to relax while enjoying the beautiful scenery and wild birds. There are lots of hands on experiences to try for everyone from children to adults. In the Dietary-Horticulture Center, Children's Creation Center, and Animal Petting Center you can learn all about Niigata's fauna and flora, check out children's works of art, and even pet alpaca and bunny-rabbits. At the KiraKira Restaurant and Market you can buy and eat fresh foods as well as check out the changing seasonal plants and flowers in the large KiraKira Garden.
  • Japan Outdoor Service
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Tokamachi-shi Miyanaka Ki 4197 Daini Parking Rafting BASE
  • Sado Island’s Ogi Folk Museum, Sengokubune Exhibition Hall
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Shukunegi 270-2
    This museum is located in a wooden schoolhouse built in 1920 that has been preserved as-is. Inside the building which still bears the vestiges of its days as a schoolhouse are displays for a collection of over 30,000 folk materials that have been designated as important tangible folk-cultural properties, including tools and equipment for shipbuilders. During the Hakusan Maru Matsuri festival held every summer, the Hakusan Maru, Japan’s first fully-restored sengokubune (wooden freight ship) that is on display in the museum, is pulled out under human power and an impressive large white sail that is 155 tatami mats in size is raised.
  • Sado Hangamura Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Aikawakomeyamachi 38-2
    This is a private art museum on Kyomachi-dori Street that richly preserves Sado Kinzan’s history. The elegant building with its red-tiled roof occupies the old Aikawa Court House. Works by the late woodblock print artist and founder of Hangamura Shinichi Takahashi as well as by Hangamura artists are displayed. Visitors would do well to note that the museum is closed from December to February.
  • Ogishiroyama Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Ogimachi
    This park is on a former castle hill. The grounds within its old ramparts and foundation have a variety of trees and flowers and locals often come here to relax. About 3,000 camellia bloom from winter to spring, when 500 cherry trees, satsuki azaleas, and other trees and shrubs flower. In summer the park hosts the Earth Celebration, Sado's biggest event, with three days of concerts, markets, workshops, experience programs, and more.
  • Okozu Bunsui Sakura Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Tsubameshi Gosengoku 4026-3
    This park is on the banks of the Nishikawa River in Tsubame City, Niigata Prefecture. A huge stone weir that controls the flow of the river is visible from the park. Some of that water is diverted into the park, and there are water facilities that children can play in. There is also playground equipment like swings and slides, and there are nice spots for a rest like an arbor and benches. There are over 600 flowering cherry and other trees that are lit up at night during peak season. The Bunsui Kimono Parade is held during the Tsubame Cherry Blossom Festival on the third Sunday in April.
  • Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, KINARE
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Tokamachishi Honchou 6-71-2
    This museum was founded to promote the region around Tokamachi. It's the main venue for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, an intentional art festival held once every three years in Echigo-Tsumari. The building itself was designed by Hiroshi Hara, one of Japan's leading architects. The cubic building has a pond set in its square atrium. During periods other than the art festival, it has a permanent exhibition with various artwork on display. There is also a museum shop and a cafe restaurant fashioned on a Spanish Bar.
  • 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.
  • Niigata Prefectural Toyanogata Park (Meike and Shumoku)
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Meikeminami 3-1-3 / Kangi 451
    To reach Niigata Prefectural Toyonaga Park, visitors should board the bus bound for Meike-Atago from Niigata Station, get off at the Yakyuujo-Kagakukan Mae bus stop about 15 minutes later, and walk about eight minutes. The park is a prefectural park that extends along the shores of Toyanogata Lagoon and consists of two areas. The Meike area contains a lookout where visitors can view the entire lagoon at once and a promenade lined with cherry trees where visitors can stroll and look at the trees and other plants. The Shumokuchiku area contains a main open plaza, a Japanese garden that changes with the four seasons, and a rest house and other facilities. The park also sponsors a number of observation events, such as guided walks and bird watching sessions, and seasonal experiential events in which visitors can try their hands at various crafts.

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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