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The long and narrow country of Japan is divided into what are called the 47 prefectures, but are actually 43 prefectures, 2 urban prefectures (Osaka and Kyoto), one territory (Hokkaido), and one metropolis (Tokyo).
Each area has their own unique nature, with their own good characteristics and peculiarities.
Of course, when you talk about sightseeing in Japan, places like Tokyo and Kyoto are famous, but other than that there are plenty of sightseeing areas to go to.
Among those is Niigata prefecture.
Niigata Prefecture is divided into 4 geographical areas, Joetsu, Chuetsu, Kaetsu and Sado region. Niigata prefecture is long and thin, and it has the third-largest area next after Nagano prefecture in Japan.
This time, we would like to introduce the recommended 10 must see places which is surely mentioned in the sightseeing map in Niigata.
1. Senbei Okoku (The Land of Japanese Rice Cracker)uka0310/Flickruka0310/Flickr
“Osenbei (or Senbei)” is Japanese rice cracker made out of the flat Mochi (sticky rice) grilled or burned. Japanese has a custom to eat Senbei as a snack from the ancient time. Here you can see the master grills Senbei and you can also experience to cook Senbei by yourself.
2. Toki no Mori Koen (Japanese crested ibis Forest Park)rhodnite/Flickr
This park is located next to the Japanese crested ibis (Toki in Japanese) conservation center. The Toki is designated as an endangered species. There are the observation building which you can see the Toki closer and the exhibition hall in the park.
3. Sado Kinzan (Sado Gold Mine)
This is the gold mine in Sado island, Niigata.
A part of building is designated as the national important cultural property.
4.Tsubame Onsen (Tsubame Hot Spring)
This hot spring area was open in 1895 and was designated as a national recreation hot spring area in 1972. This hot spring has a characteristic colour of the light milk white.
5. Osake Museum, Ponshu-Kan (Sake Museum in Echigo)Richard, enjoy my life!/Flickr
You can taste and buy 93 kinds of Japanese Sake (Japanese rice wine) made in Niigata.
Moreover, you can also enjoy the one-day hot spring “Sake Buro (Sake bath)” which is made of 12 degrees Sake mixed with water here. We recommend this place especially for Japanese Sake lovers.
6. Takada Jo Ato (Takada Castle Ruin)
Here is the castle ruin in Joetsu city, Niigata.。
This place is designated as a prefectural important cultural property and at this time, the surround is the park and also sightseeing place.
7. Yuzawa Koen Ropeway (Yuzawa park Ropeway)
On the top of mountain, there are space to enjoy restaurants, go-cart and footbath.
In the autumn levers season, you can enjoy the panoramic view of mountains on the ropeway.
8. Yahiko Onsen (Yahiko hot spring)
Here is the hot spring area spread in front of the gate of Yahiko shinto shrine as famous as the spiritual spot.
Yahiko shinto shrine itself is attractive for a sightseeing and there are plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops surroundings.
9. Tsukioka Onsen (Tsukioka Hot Spring)
The colour of hot spring is emerald green and this hot spring has a good effect on the skin.
This hot spring area was opened in the farming village, but is quite attractive and pleasant place. Here it has the large hotel in the top 100 through the country. There is also the old Onsen inn which is the hot spring cure with self-cooking has been running since the opening this hot spring area.
10. Iwamuro Onsen (Iwamuro Hot Spring)
Here is the hot spring area which has an aspect of an entertainment district and also has lots of Geisha (or Geigi, Japanese traditional female entertainer) surroundings.
This hot spring was designated as a national recreation hot spring area in 1963.