Culture / Tour 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Niigata Prefectural Botanical Garden
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Akiha-ku Kanadu 186
    This botanical garden, which contains about 100,000 plants on its expansive grounds, opened in 1998 and is located in Akiha Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture. Of the three dome-shaped greenhouses, the popular “tropical plant dome” is the largest in the country. Its jungle-like interior houses 4,000 specimens from 550 species, including rare baobab plants and Victoria amazonica. The must-see “Hana to Midori no Stage” has eight exhibitions held throughout the year along with the seasons. The garden features a walkway, allowing you to enjoy the peony garden, azalea garden, herb garden, and more as you stroll.
  • The Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nigatashi Chuou-ku Bandaijima 5-1 Toki Messe within the Manijima building 5F
    You’ll find this art museum on the fifth floor of the Toki Messe Bandaijima Building in Chuo Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture. It is a branch of the Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art in Nagaoka City. Together, both buildings have a combine total of over 6,000 items, including works by artists with ties to Niigata as well as postwar modern art and art from other parts of Asia. There are no permanent exhibitions; about five or six exhibitions are held each year, rotating between planned exhibitions and collection showcases. There’s also a shop where you can purchase illustrated books of the collections and other museum goods.
  • 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.
  • Ojiya City Nishikigoi no Sato
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Odiyashi Jounai 1-8-22
    Located in 1 Chome, Jonai, Ojiya City, Ojiya Nishikigoi no Sato is a facility where visitors can view beautiful Nishikigoi (varicolored carp, also known as “golden carp”). Around 45% of all Nishikigoi produced in Niigata Prefecture are bred in Ojiya; these “swimming treasures” have become a famous local specialty, and are highly regarded both in Japan and overseas. Visitors can view Nishikigoi in the park area, and can also see specially-selected specimens in the viewing ponds. There are displays that enabled visitors to learn more about Nishikigoi, and visitors can also feed the Nishikigoi in the viewing ponds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Snow Country Botanical Gardens Homaru
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Nagaokashi Miyamotomachi 3
    This botanical garden is located in 3 Chome, Miyamoto-machi, Nagaoka City. The garden focuses mainly on natural vegetation that does not include foreign plants, horticultural plants or seaside plants. It covers over 35 hectares of foothill land, and visitors can view the various plants that grow here and change with the seasons. There are also facilities such as an open lawn area, an observatory and a free rest area.
  • Agano Togo Yoshida Memorial Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Agano Yasuda 1725-1
    This museum was established to honor the achievements of pioneering Japanese historical geographer Togo Yoshida. Standing on the site where Yoshida was born, this so-called “open museum” may be freely used by local residents as a learning space. Yoshida spent 13 years in self-study compiling his “Dai Nihon Chimei Jisho” (“A Dictionary of Japanese Place Names”). The museum is a fascinating destination not only for students of geography but also those engaged in local development projects. The only museum in the country focusing on understanding and compiling the achievements of Yoshida, whose influence continues to reverberate today, the facility serves as a source of information and a place where one can learn more about local areas.
  • Aikawa Folk Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Sado-shi Aikawasakashitamachi 20
    A museum where visitors can learn about the Aikawa Area, location of the Sado Gold Mine, a model mine which contributed to the modernization of Japanese industry. Opened in 1956, museum exhibits include minerals from the mine and information on local Sado folk customs. The museum’s elegant building was once used as the Sado branch of the Bureau of Imperial Estates, which managed imperial assets under the Meiji Constitution. Look for the imperial chrysanthemum crests found everywhere on the structure. The museum displays archeological materials concerning the mine and the Sado magistrate’s office, implements used by Aikawa “yujo” ladies of the night as well as works of art featuring them, and folk custom materials from a town which developed along with the mine.
  • Hokkoku Kaido Tsumairi Kaikan
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Santo-gun Izumozakimachi Amaze 166
    “Tsumairi” is a Japanese architectural style in which the entrance is placed on one of the sides, or “tsuma.” During the Edo period, buildings were taxed based on the width of their frontage, resulting in large numbers of these long, narrow tsumairi houses standing side by side. Echigo once boasted the highest population density in the country, and Izumozaki flourished as a post station town on the old Hokkoku Highway. This facility, standing on a piece of flat ground sandwiched between a small hill and the Sea of Japan, reproduces the traditional layout of a tsumairi home and serves as a rest area for tourists and as a community gathering space. Inside, visitors can learn more about traditional architecture and its historical background, as well as tourist destinations in Izumozaki. Many tourists stop here to take a break in between exploring the town.

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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