VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Niigata, Japan

Niigata - Bandai Bridge, photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Niigata - Bandai Bridge, photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Niigata, Japan

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Whether you’re working from home, sheltering in place or just staying home, if you’re like us, you’re probably dreaming of open skies, sandy beaches, tall mountains, or perfect powdery slopes. Our travel plans may be on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream up where we’ll go next.

Welcome to virtual vacation video series where we can explore destinations from the comfort of our homes.

Join us as we take a short virtual journey to Niigata.


The great thing about this destination is that it is easily accessible from Tokyo via a two-hour ride on a Shinkansen bullet train, which runs at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour.

Niigata City is an elegant port town on the central-northern part of Honshu Island facing the Sea of Japan. The city boasts traditional streets, famed sake breweries and quaint attractions. The nation’s longest Shinano River runs through the middle of the city separating the old traditional district from a sleek modern downtown. Check out the 92-year-old, six-arched Bandai Bridge, a symbol of the city, which spans the river. All of these and more are why Niigata makes for a great, quick getaway.

Some of the must-see spots in Niigata include:

  • Oohata District - This is a calm residential district with historic buildings, gardens, museums, shrines and churches. The Niigata Saitou Villa is a large traditional garden where you can feel a sense of unity between natural and manmade beauty. Niigata Cathedral is a unique Japanese-Romanesque style church with two beautiful towers and magnificent hall built by a Swiss architect in 1927. The furnished pipe organ is one of the nation’s oldest and still in active use.
  • Furumachi District - One of Japan’s historical high-end red-light districts, along with Gion in Kyoto, and Tokyo’s Shimbashi. Even today, you can see many old luxurious restaurants, along with bars and shops in elegant classical buildings on the streets. While strolling in the elegant street, you may come across a geisha or two.
  • Murakami City - About an hour drive from the center of Niigata, Murakami is an impressive castle town filled with beautiful traditional town houses. You may spot salted salmon hanging on the eaves of area homes. It is a local delicacy called “shiohiki-sake.” You can see more than 1,000 of those large salmon hanging from ceiling at the traditional salmon shop Missho Kikkawa.

Oohata district - the Saito Villa



While you're there, don't forget to sample a famous local dish, “wappameshi” steamed rice and various ingredients in a round box made of thin wood. The simple and gentle taste of dish stands out the subtle flavor of each ingredient with the tasty local rice.

I hope you enjoyed a look at Niigata through my travel photos and that it's inspired your next trip. Stay safe and get ready to travel with us in our next video. Thanks for watching!

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web