Niigata 新潟市 is the capital city of the Niigata Prefecture. It’s on the northwest coast of Honshu and is the gateway to Sado Island.
The city has about 810,000 people so is considered a country town by residents of other major cities in Japan.
However, Niigata still features many of the modern conveniences that you get in Tokyo, just with less people!
So, it isn’t like you are actually going somewhere to eke out a living, like some towns in Australia.
Niigata also gets LOTS of rain. About 270 days of rain and snow a year. So if you’re not into sunlight much, like me, Niigata sounds like a perfect place to escape. (Not sure about snow, though. Having lived most of my life in Sydney, I’m not really sure what snow looks like or what to do with it!)
It would also be the ideal exploring point as Tokyo and other parts of Honshu are a short shinkansen trip away. And if you wish to visit other places faster, a nearby airport services the major cities.
There are two rivers that run through Niigata, known as Shinano and Agano.
This adds to the interestingness of the city, and helps make it much more relaxed than other cities around the world. I could probably compare it to the relaxed atmosphere of the Blue Mountains, but with more buildings.
Local Public School
Local shops and restaurants
I was there to visit my partner’s relatives and took the opportunity to explore various public facilities, department stores, supermarkets, exchange stores and more.
I also took a ferry trip to Sado Island.
Some interesting displays in the backstreets of the city.
I was only there a few days but I fell in love with the city and plan to go back there again next year.