Boating Experience Straight out of an Animation Movie

Tub Boat
The tub boat ride scene from the famous animation Spirited Away has brought the tradition of taraibune alive again.

The history of using tub boats for fishing (tarai-bune) in Sado Island dates back to 150 years ago. In the past, the islanders used to cut wash tubs or miso barrels in half to make boats for fishing seaweed, shellfish and abalone. Although few people use tub boats for fishing today, tourists are encouraged to sign up for a fun steering course at the ports of Ogi, Yajima and Kyojima or Shukunegi.

Yajima Taiken Koryukan
Access: A 70-minute drive from Ryotsu Port

The Beauty of History in Old Streets

Stroll down these historic streets with a map to rediscover history and relive the glory of the past. Former castle town Murakami City seems frozen in time, with its Machiya-style townhouses and temples. On Kurobei (black fence) Street, historic restaurants sit alongside temples, while the stone ruins of Murakami Castle, and the residences of its samurai defenders show another side of the town. For a different view, head to Nagaoka City where many traditional breweries producing soy sauce, miso and sake remain, some of which still use traditional methods to create delicious flavours even today.

Murakami City
Nagaoka City Settaya District
Website: (Japanese)

A day of adventure right in the middle of nature

Daigenta Canyon, the area stretching from Lake Daigenta to the foot of Mt. Daigenta, is a popular campsite and favorite destination for tourists drawn to its diverse geographic features. The 1.5-kilometre path at Lake Daigenta offers a stunning view of the Oriental Matterhorn—Mt. Daigenta. Canoeing and stand up paddling (SUP) are popular water activities that you simply must try.

Daigenta Canyon Camping Ground
Fee: Please refer to the official website asthe rental fee depends on rental period and items rented
Access: A 20-minute drive from Echigo-Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen. You can also board a bus at the station bound for the campground, which takes about 30 minutes.
Address: 3064-17 Oaza-tsuchitaru, Yuzawa Town, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata Prefecture
Website: (Japanese)

YOC Yuzawa Outdoor Center
Address: Daigenta Canyon Camping Ground, Yuzawa Town, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata Prefecture
Website: (Japanese)

Traverse Niigata’s Autumn Foliage

Each autumn, Niigata’s mountains become resplendent in their foliage-covered beauty. You must visit personally to experience this fleeting yet stunning sight. From Myoko Kogen in the south, continue northwards, before taking the Dragondola or Tashiro Ropeway at Mt. Naeba for a bird’s eye view of the scenery. After that, enjoy a boat ride on Lake Okutadami while admiring the maple leaves, but do remember to stop over at Yahiko Park Momiji-dani Valley for a bewitching view. Lastly, cap off your tour with a trip to Okutainai in the Iide mountain range, for a mesmerizing view of the gorgeous vermillion gorge.

[1] Myoko Kogen Imori Pond

[2] Tashiro Ropeway

[3] Lake Okutadami

[4] Yahiko Park
Website: (Japanese)

[5] Okutainai
Website: (Japanese)

An Island Paradise Waiting for You to Discover

Awashima is a tiny island with a population of less than 400. Nevertheless, it is full of marine resources and charming vistas. The 23-kilometre cycling path takes you on a scenic ride around the entire island, which is a paradise for outdoor activities such as bird watching, horse riding, sunbathing, scuba diving and more. Watching fixed-net fishing, catching octopuses and making traditional dish wappani are also experiences you don’t want to miss in Awashima.

Access: Iwafune Port is a 15-minute drive from Murakami Station on the JR Uetsu Main Line. You can also take a bus from Murakami Station, get off at Iwafunekamioomachi Stop and walk for 10 minutes to the port. The high-speed boat bound for Awashima takes about 55 minutes and the normal boat takes 90 minutes.
Website: (Japanese)


Wappani わっぱ煮

To cook this simple yet flavourful dish, just place the grilled fish, chopped green onion and miso paste in a bowl made out of curved wood, and then add water and heated stones to the bowl.

An art extravaganza Not to be missed


To revitalize the Nishikan Ward of Niigata City, started in 2006, locals and students from Tokyo Musashino Art University have come together to create massive sculptures using rice straw. This art festival has now become a key attraction of the area and is held from end Aug to Oct in Uwasekigata Park. If you do visit Niigata in autumn, be sure not to miss this interesting art festival.

Wara Art Festival
Venue: Uwasekigata Park How to get there: A 10-minute drive from Maki Station on the JR Echigo Line
Address: 1 Matsunoo, Nishikan Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture

Shinano River Rafting Tour

With a total length of 367 kilometres, Shinano River is Japan’s longest river, flowing through the prefectures of Yamanashi, Saitama, Nagano and Niigata before reaching the ocean. The middle reach of the water travels through Tokamachi City, a popular rafting spot offering both adrenalin-pumping stretches as well as calm and relaxing rides. Hop on the rubber boat at designated areas for a cool dip in the clear waters!

Available from mid-April to mid-November. Closed on Thursdays (except in August the facility is open every day)
Fee: ¥6,000 for elementary school students and ¥7,000 onwards for middle
school students and above
Access: A 20-minute drive from Tokamachi Station on the Hokuetsu Express Hokuhoku Line
Address: 4197 Miyanakaonore, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture
Website: (Japanese)
*Reservations must be made two days in advance