Admire snow art and experience the culture of snow WONDERLAND

Tetsuo Sekine“Boys with Red Lion Cloths Returned” Photo by Osamu Nakamura

The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is held in Echigo-Tsumari (Tokamachi City /Tsunan Town) every 3 years, showcasing artwork unique to this region. Even after the Triennale ends, approximately 200 pieces of art remain at the venue, which you may visit anytime. In winter, learn about snow country through art at SNOWART. Join special tours, or interact with locals at each exhibition area to learn more about the unique beauty and culture of snow country. Finally, grab this chance to savour regional flavors in the form of local dish “Yukimi-gozen”, a special meal served only in winter.

ECHIGO-TSUMARI ART FIELD 2020 WINTER SNOWART
Website: www.echigo-tsumari.jp/eng/

An unforgettable ride through Silver landscape

The Setsugekka is a special train operated by the Echigo TOKImeki Railway, running between Joetsu-Myoko Station and Itoigawa Station. Its panoramic glass windows offer an unobstructed view of the scenery near Western Niigata. The “all made in NIIGATA” philosophy also means that from the train car to the interior design and bentos provided onboard, every detail painstakingly incorporates unique elements of Niigata. In winter, look out of the train windows for an ethereal snowy landscape, or choose from the other snow country experience courses available for an unforgettable ride.

Echigo TOKImeki Resort Setsugekka
Website: echigo-tokimeki.co.jp/setsugekka/index.html (Japanese)
*Advance reservation by phone is required.

Enjoy nature by feeding migratory swans

Lake Hyoko in Agano City is a stopover for migratory swans in winter. Each year, from early October until March of the following year, thousands of swans will stay over here. Up to 5-6,000 swans visit this man-made lake during peak period. Observe these graceful birds comfortably from the boardwalk and observation facility. The swans are fed thrice a day, so you may be able to spot the swans and ducks gathering for food if you are lucky. Feed is available if youwant to feed the birds yourself.

Lake Hyoko
Swan overwinter period: Oct to Mar of the following year
Access: 30 minutes on foot or 5 minutes by car from Suibara Station on the JR Uetsu Line
Address: 313-1 Suibara, Agano City, Niigata Prefecture
Website: agano-spot.com/english/nature/index.html

Enjoy snowy fun

Niigata boasts over 50 ski resorts with powder snow. Every year, from end Nov to early Dec, ski resorts start opening their doors. Skiing is thrilling, but you may also enjoy the snow through other adventurous activities such as snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Even snow newbies will be able to have fun. Akakura Kanko Ski Resort in Myoko City is one of the oldest international ski resorts in Japan, while Suginohara Ski Resort has a ski distance of 8.5kilometres, the longest in Japan. Are you up for the challenge?

Niigata Winter Season
Website: www.niigata-snow.jp (Japanese)

Myoko Ski Resort Information
Website: myokotourism.com/category/ski/ski-resorts/

Must-see snowscapes

The low rolling hills of Matsunoyama in Tokamachi City house a beech forest with trees that are 90 years old. It is Must-see commonly known as “Beauty Forest” for the willowy appearance of its trees. “Hasagi” is a kind of wooden drying snowscapes rack that remains in use even today in Ojiya City. The desolate beauty of Hasagi on a vast snowy plain, together with the pristine “Beauty Forest” blanketed in snow, are quintessential elements of the Niigata snowscape. For a limited time only, you can ride a hot air balloon and admire these snowscapes from up in the air, while surrounded by the dazzling sight of hundreds of other multi-coloured hot-air balloons.

Tokamachi City Beauty Forest
Website: tokamachishikankou.jp/en/nature/#bijinbayashi

Hasagi of Ikegahara, Ojiya City
Website: www.ojiyakanko.com (Japanese)

Ojiya Balloon Festival
Website: www.ojiyakanko.com/festa_fusen.html (Japanese)