HistoryThe Port of Niigata was established in the 16th century, and the town prospered. In 1858, when the Japan-U.S.A. Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed, Niigata was designated as one of five ports in Japan to conduct trade with the outside world. Niigata's international port was subsequently opened in 1868. In 1889, Niigata was incorporated as a city.
By trainis the terminus of the Joetsu Shinkansen line to Tokyo, costing ¥10,570 each way. Most trains take a little over 2 hours, but there is one morning run which goes from Tokyo and Ōmiya nonstop in 97 minutes. The trip is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Rail Pass.
The Shinkansen is also a fast and cost-effective way to access Niigata from Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe (5 hours from Osaka and ¥22,310, with a change of trains in Tokyo). The Japan Rail Pass is valid with the exception of Nozomi trains running on the first leg to Tokyo. But your Japan Rail pass is valid on the Hikari and Sakura trains between Osaka and Tokyo
From Kanazawa and Toyama there used to be a one-seat service to Niigata, but this has changed with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The fastest way to travel between these areas is to take the Shinkansen's Hakutaka (はくたか) service to Jōetsu-myōkō (上越妙高), and change to a limited express train called the Shirayuki (しらゆき) which operates five times per day. The journey from Kanazawa using this route takes around 3 hours and costs ¥10,130 each way; from Toyama, 2 hours 45 minutes and ¥9,160. If you use a Japan Rail Pass, a small surcharge of ¥450 will have to be paid for the 10km journey between Jōetsu-myōkō and Naoetsu which operates over non-JR tracks.
Trains to and from the north are fewer and farther between. The most convenient service is the Inaho (いなほ) limited express to Sakata (2 hours, ¥5,270), with about half the journeys continuing to Akita (3½ hours, ¥7,210). Local trains also run up and down the Japan Sea coast, but only run every two hours or so toward the northern part of the prefecture. These trains are routinely subject to weather-related delays and cancellations.
The Moonlight Echigo (ムーンライトえちご) was a seasonal train that ran overnight from Shinjuku to Niigata, mainly during periods when the Seishun 18 Ticket is in effect. None of these trains have run since 2014.
Niigata AirportHandles international Korea (Seoul daily on Korean Air), China (Shanghai three times weekly on China Eastern, Harbin (four times weekly on China Southern), and Guam (twice weekly on Continental). There are also frequent domestic flights from Osaka (Itami Airport) (¥25,100 one way), Sapporo (¥28,700 one way), Nagoya (Chubu Airport), and Fukuoka (¥31,700 one way).
Shuttle buses run on a regular schedule from the JR Niigata South Exit directly to airport approximately every 30 minutes (25 minutes, ¥400 one way).
By busNiigata Kotsu runs highway buses to Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo (5½ hours, ¥5,250 one way), Nagoya (7.5 hours, ¥7,800 one way), Sendai (3½ hours, ¥4,500 one way), and overnight to Osaka and Kyoto (8 hours, ¥8,450 each way), as well as to a number of other cities.
Bandai City Bus CenterTicket office windows: 08:30-19:00
- Niigata Kotsu(Japanese Website)
Niigata Station South Exit, Bus Terminal
- Willer Bus +81 50 5805-0383 - English/Korean M-F 10:00-20:00
By boatSado Kisen operates frequent services to Ryotsu on Sado Island. Rapid ferries cost ¥5,960 and cover the distance in one hour, while larger car ferries cost ¥2,060 but take 2½ hours.
Shin-Nihonkai Ferry(06-6348-1120) operates a daily service between Otaru and Niigata (18 hours, from ¥6,200). Service is overnight, and private cabins are available for a higher fare (the base fare buys sleeping space on the floor).
Ferries to Vladivostok appear to be discontinued until further notice, but as of 2018 there are still regular services from Toyama.
Niigata has a bus system that is very good, but also its very easy to walk everywhere, since most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other.
Most major sights in Niigata can be easily accessed by bicycle. Rentals are provided by the city from several locations scattered throughout and rental fees are ¥100 for the first 3 hours and ¥100 for each additional hour. If you plan on keeping the bicycle longer than 4 hours, the trick is to return the bicycle at a nearby rental outlet and check it out again before your first 3 hours are up. In this way, your rental is charged the ¥100 rate each 3 hours. The tourist information office in the Niigata train station can supply you with the necessary maps and show you the closest rental office — about 5 minutes walk. The rental location can also supply you with maps that show you all the rental outlets. ID is needed to rent a bike. Be sure to check the brakes, tire pressure, and how to use the bike lock before you leave the rental outlet.
phone: +81 25-225-6111address: 2-10 Yanagishima - Chuo-kuA museum where you can learn about the history and culture of Niigata. Audio guides available in English, Korean, and Russian.
phone: +81 25-385-2001address: 2-15-25 Somi - Kōnan-kuBuilt as a wealthy family's home in 1885-1887. The museum comprises several buildings, and a few restaurants/cafes. Documents and art collections including paintings and sculptures from former households are on display. It is worth at least a half day visit.
phone: +81 25-240-1511address: 6-1 Bandaijima - Chuo-kuToki Messe is a modern multi-use convention center. The observation deck on the top floor is a tourist spot where you can observe a panoramic view of Niigata City.
phone: +81 250-25-1000address: 598 Kanazu - Akiha-ku
- Tsukioka Carillon Park is a multi-purpose park located next to Tsukioka Hot Springs. The park has a lot to offer for visitors, including the beautiful sound of chimes coming from the Carillon Tower as well as a children’s play area. The Carillon Culture Hall exhibits swords created by National Living Treasure Akitsugu Amata. Visitors can enjoy bathing in hot springs at Houzuki-no-sato Onsen, which is also within the park.
- Shinano River Cruise — You can see the scenery of Niigata City from the waterbus that runs along the Shinano River. There is also an open-air deck where passengers can relax and enjoy the view from the river outside. There are three cruises a day.
address: 397-1 Toyano Chuo-kuBatting Cages
address: 2-1-38 Misakicho Chuo-kuIndoor amusement center with arcade batting cages, bowling, karaoke, squash, mini golf, etc.
address: 1-1-1 Hanazonocho - Chuo-ku
address: 2-2 Bandaijima - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-242-1111address: 1-6-1 Yachiyo - Chuo-kuNiigata Isetan is a department store.
phone: +81 25-242-1111address: 866 Nishibori-dori Gobancho - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-230-3000address: 2307-1 Yamada - Nishi-ku
Currency exchangeYou can exchange foreign currency and sell and buy traveler's checks at airport, big hotels, local bank branches, Japan Post Bank branches and post offices. Some post offices do not provide this service, though, and even if they provide it, the kinds of currency that they can exchange vary between offices.
Daishi Bank - Niigata Airport Branchphone: +81 25-270-1243
Japan Post Bank - Niigata Branchaddress: 2-6-26 Higashi-Odori - Chuo-ku
Japan Post Bank - Niigata Naka Branchaddress: 7bancho Higashiboridori - Chuo-ku
- Uonuma koshihikari rice.
- Shoyu (soy-sauce) and yofu (western-style) katsudon.
- Shoyu sekihan.
- Noppe stew.
- Wappa-han (seafood and rice steamed in a bamboo basket).
- Sasa-dango (mochi pounded rice balls filled with red bean paste, seasoned with mugwort and wrapped in bamboo leaves).
- Po-po-yaki (steamed bread flavored with brown sugar).
- Hegi-soba (soba from the Uonuma and Ojiya areas that uses a special kind of seaweed).
- Tsubame-sanjo ramen (ramen made using thick udon-style noodles).
- Tochio aburage (aburaage is called "aburage" in Tochio).
- Kirazu (dishes using okara).
- Kakinomoto (edible chrysanthemums).
- Kanzuri (a special seasoning from Myōkō made by leaving chili pepper exposed on snow, then adding flour, salt and yuzu).
address: 3-1-13 Yoneyama Chuo-kuSushi and Japanese food restaurant.
address: 1411 Higashiboridori 8 Bancho chuo-ku
phone: +81 70 5453 1075 (Mobile phone)address: 4985 Kifucho Chuou-ku
phone: +81 25-241-7777address: 1-6-31 Hanazono-cho - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-247-9000address: 1-6-13 Akashi - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-227-1045address: 1168-2, Nanaban-cho Kami-okawamae-dori Chuo-ku Niigata-city
phone: +81 25-229-2211address: 1037-1 6ban-cho Higashiboridori - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-229-7111address: 289-2 2ban-cho Higashinakadori - Chuo-ku
Bandai Silver Hotelphone: +81 25-243-3711address: 1-3-30 Bandai - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-240-2111address: 1-1 Sasaguchi - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-242-0611address: 3-3-1 Benten - Chuo-kuA branch of the American hotel chain.
phone: +81 256-82-4125address: 340 Iwamuro-onsen - Nishikan-kuJapanese-style spa hotel.
phone: +81 25-246-6161address: 1-11-25 Higashi-Odori - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-245-3333address: 5-11-20 Bandai - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-240-1888address: 5-1 Bandaijima - Chuo-kuAll rooms are on high floors (22nd-29th floor).
phone: +81 25-224-6111address: 6-53, Kawabata-cho - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 256-82-2001address: 678 Ko, Iwamuro-onsen, Nishi-Kan-kuJapanese-style inn.
phone: +81 25-224-5111address: 7-1574 Nishibori-dori - Chuo-ku,European-style services and cuisine.
JR Information Center
phone: +81 25-241-7914address: 1-1-1 Hanazono-cho - Chuo-ku
phone: +81 25-227-2460 (Medicine), +81 25-227-2937 (Dentistry), +81 25-227-2479 (after-hours and night-time)address: 1-754 Asahimachi-dori - Chuo-ku
address: 463-7 Shumoku - Chuo-ku
- phone: +81 25-228-8888address: 5220-18, NishiOhata-cho - Chuo-ku
- phone: +81 25-255-5555address: 5F, Bandaijima Bldg., 5-1, Bandaijima - Chuo-ku
- phone: +81 25-244-6015address: 12F, Bandaijima Bldg., 5-1, Bandaijima - Chuo-ku