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About Location

Niigata is the capital and the most populous city of Niigata Prefecture, Japan. It lies on the northwest coast of Honshu, the largest island of Japan, and faces the Sea of Japan and Sado Island.With a long history as a port town, Niigata became a free port following the Meiji Restoration. Niigata's city government was established in 1889. Mergers with nearby municipalities in 2005 allowed the city's population to jump to 810,000. The annexation of the surrounding area has also given the city the greatest rice paddy field acreage in Japan. On April 1, 2007, it became the first government-designated city on the Japan Sea coast of Honshu.People have inhabited the Niigata area since the Jōmon period, though much of the current land was still beneath the sea at the time. According to the Nihonshoki, a fortress was built in the area in AD 647.In the 16th century, a port called Niigata was established at the mouth of the Shinano River, while a port town with the name Nuttari developed at the mouth of the Agano River. The area prospered beneath the rule of Uesugi Kenshin during the Sengoku Period.A system of canals was constructed on the main island of Niigata in the 17th century. During this period, the courses of the Shinano and Agano rivers gradually changed until they poured into the Sea of Japan at the same location. As a result, Niigata prospered as a port town, serving as a port of call for Japanese trade ships traversing the Sea of Japan.

The climate in Niigata City is characterized by its high humidity and strong winds from the Sea of Japan. While many other parts of Niigata Prefecture tend to have heavy snow, Niigata City itself usually receives less due to its low-lying elevation and the shielding effect of Sado Island.However, Niigata City does receive much precipitation, mostly in the form of rainfall. On average, Niigata City has 250 days of precipitation each year, about 170 days of which see rain or snowfall measuring over 1 mm. The rainy season in July brings large amounts of rain, while the winter months, especially November and December, also have much precipitation.In summer, the south wind makes the weather rather hot. Typhoons usually bring strong foehn winds to this area, generally causing somewhat higher temperatures than in other parts of Japan. The weather on the west coast of Honshū tends to be better during the summer months than on the Pacific coast.

How to Reach

By Air

Niigata Airport is located about 6 km north of central Niigata.It handles some international destinations as well as many domestic ones.The domestic destinations available are: Osaka (8 times a day), Sapporo (twice a day), Fukuoka (once a day), Okinawa (once a day), Nagoya (7 times a day) and Sado Island (3 times a day).Niigata Airport's international destinations are Khabarovsk (twice a week), Vladivostok (twice a week), Harbin (4 times a week), Seoul (daily), Shanghai (3 times a week) and Guam (twice a week).

By Train

East Japan Railway Company runs a number of stations in the Niigata urban area.The largest station in Niigata City is Niigata Station.It is centrally located in the Bandai area, one of the two main shopping districts in downtown Niigata.Approximately 37,000 passengers use the station daily.The Joetsu Shinkansen, whose last stop is Niigata Station, provides daily service to Tokyo.The Shin'etsu Line, Hakushin Line, Echigo Line, Uetsu Line, and Ban'etsu West Line are also serviced by Niigata Station. From there you can reach Kanazawa, Toyama, Aomori, Akita, Sakata and Aizuwakamatsu.Niigata Kotsu Dentetsu Line and Kambara Dentetsu trains used to run through the city until the late 1990s; however, they no longer exist.

By Ferry

Niigata also used to be the terminus of the Mangyongbong-92 ferry, one of the direct connections between Japan and North Korea.

Key places to visit
Niigata Prefectural Botanical Garden, Toki Messe, Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium, Niigata Comic Market, Niigata Manga Competition


Places to Visit

Niigata Prefectural Botanical Garden

Is a 19.8 hectares (49 acres) botanical garden and arboretum located at 186 Kanazu, Akiha-ku, Niigata, Niigata, Japan. It is open daily except Mondays; an admission fee is charged.The garden contains a collection of cherry trees, including Prunus x yedoensis, Prunus jamasakura, Prunus subhirtella Miq., and Prunus lannesiana; a conifer arboretum containing some 300 varieties from Europe and North America; another small arboretum, primarily cherry trees and conifers, given by the prefecture's towns and cities; and a collection of aromatic herbs (about 150 species).The garden also contains substantial greenhouses including a large dome (30 meters tall, 42 meters in diameter), with about 550 species total in arid, aquatic, and tropical zones.

Toki Messe

Is a multi-purpose international convention center located in Niigata, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The center was opened on May 1, 2003 and contains a hotel, restaurants, an art museum, conference rooms, and the offices of several international organizations.Since 2004, Toki Messe has been the site of home games for the Niigata Albirex Basketball Team.Toki Messe is the tallest building on the Sea of Japan, and has an observation deck on the 34th floor where one can view the areas in and around Niigata. Depending on the weather, one can also see Sado and Awashima islands.The complex is named after the toki, the official bird of Niigata Prefecture.

Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium

Is an athletic stadium in Niigata, Japan. The stadium's capacity is 42,300.Because of the naming rights by Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., the name of the stadium is Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium from March 11, 2007 until 2009.It is the home field of the J. League club Albirex Niigata.

Niigata Comic Market

Is a bimonthly dōjinshi comic book convention held in Niigata city in Japan. It is currently held at either Toki Messe or the Niigata-shi Sangyou Shinkou Center. It was first held in 1983, and between 7,000 and 10,000 people regularly attend each event. It is the largest dōjinshi comic market held on the Sea of Japan side of Japan.

Niigata Manga Competition

Is a Manga contest held annually in Niigata City every September. It is sponsored by the Niigata Manga Competition planning committee. It is jointly sponsored by the Niigata Comic Market, the city of Niigata, and the Japan Animation and Manga College, a local vocational school in Niigata city. It has been held every year since 1998. It is unique because of the rarity of a local municipal government sponsoring a manga competition.

Right Time to Visit

January - May
September - December


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