Outdoor enthusiasts, get ready for an exhilarating time in the outskirts of Japan as you explore the different charms of Niigata through these fun activities!
Traditional Japanese River Fishing
Try catching a meal with your bare hands using yana (やな, fish trap), a traditional fishing method by using a platform made of bamboo reeds that are laid across a river. Observe how small fishes swim through the gaps, while bigger ones get caught in between the crevices. Grill the fish right away and taste the freshness of Niigata instantly!
Event period: 8 Apr – 7 Nov
Access: 7-minute bus ride from Mikawa Station on JR Banetsusai Line
Address: 2598 Ikazawa, Higashikanbaragun Agamachi
Website: http://hotel.mikawa.com/tourism.html (Japanese)
Shinano River Rafting
\Yuzawa・Uonuma, Tokamachi City/
Take a ride on Japan’s longest river
Sign up for an unforgettable rafting adventure full of shrills, big splashes and thrilling bumps along the longest river in Japan! The river flows through Tokamachi City before feeding into the Sea of Japan in Niigata Prefecture. While you are here, make sure to take a good dip in the river too!
Event period: mid-Apr to 28 Oct
Fee: ￥6000 *Elementary school students), ￥8000 (Middle school students and above)
Address: 4197 Miyanaka, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture
Website: www.tokamachishikankou.jp/sports/other/rafting/ (Japanese)
\Yahiko・Sanjo, Tsubame City/
A peak into a copper artisan’s studio
Well-known for its metal-processing industry, Tsubame City is the birthplace to Gyokusendo, a major copper craftsmanship studio with over 200 years of history. Get a glimpse of how professionals work there, as artists tirelessly hammer and shape copper into elegant cups, vases and kettlesーall by hand.
Hours: 8.30am – 5.30pm, Closed on Sun & PH
Factory Tour: 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3.10pm
Access: 3-minute walk from Tsubame Station on Yahiko Line or 5-minute drive from Tsubame Sanjo Station
Website: www.gyokusendo.com (Japanese)
\Murakami・Shibata Awashimaura Village/
For some seaside fun
With a small population of less than 400 people, Awashima is an island touted as a natural oceanic paradise, offering not just incredibly fresh seafood, but also various fun activities like fishing, water sports, cycling and bird watching. This is the perfect summer getaway, look no further!
Access: Take a boat from Iwafune Port to Awashima Port (55-minute ride by high-speed catamaran Awaline and 90-minute by boat)
Website: https://awa-isle.jp/ (Japanese)
Getting to Niigata:
From Tokyo – the easiest way to get to Niigata is to hop on a Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station. This route only takes 100 minutes and is covered by the JR East Pass. Once you purchase the flexible 5-day JR East Pass (for Nagano, Niigata area), you have a 14-day period to use it.
Do visit Niigata’s official website to find out more!
(This is an online adaptation of a magazine feature from WAttention Singapore Nov/Dec 2018 Vol. 47, in collaboration with Niigata Prefecture)