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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Iyoboya Hall
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nigata Pref. Murakamishi Shiomachi 13-34
    In this museum in Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture, themed material regarding Murakami’s specialty product salmon, is on display. In the Murakami dialect, “Iyoboya” means salmon. Visitors can see how the salmon were fished in the Miomote River as well as an introduction to Murakami’s history and culture etc. in the museum. Visitors can also see under water from the observation window made in the distributary of the Miomote River. According to the season, you may encounter the scene of salmon swimming upstream or eggs hatching.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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