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NIIGATA A scenic route to see spectacular urban views and the beauty of nature
  • TOKYO
  • NIIGATA

Theme of the Scenic Route

MYSTICAL VISTAS

TRAVELER

  • Traveled : July 2019 Lo Hang Wai Henry
    Blogger
    Reside in Hong Kong
  • Traveled : July 2019 Gifty
    Travel writer
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: Hong Kong

Ascend to the observation deck and galleria of Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcasting tower, for stunning views of the city of Tokyo from above. Your next destination is the atmospheric ruins of Sado Gold Mine in Niigata Prefecture. A memorial to the ingenuity of past generations, this historic site nestled in an unparalleled natural setting is truly one-of-a-kind.

Hong Kong International Airport

JAL Examine the directions from your country

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    JAL international flight:The flight was on time and the seat was comfortable.
    I watched three movies in total on the return flights, and most of the movies had Chinese subtitles.
    The meals are good, and there is both a USB plug and a power socket.
    If you are willing to pay, passengers can use the on flight Wi-Fi service.

Haneda Airportmore

Haneda Airport

The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day1

TOKYO

TOKYO SKYTREEmore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

TOKYO SKYTREE

TOKYO SKYTREE was listed in the Guinness World Records™ as the tallest tower in the world, standing at a height of 634 m. The Tembo Deck, at an elevation of 350 m, offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Kanto area, and even distant views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day. Tembo Galleria, a further 100 m up at an elevation of 450 m, offers even more expansive 360-degree panoramic views of the Kanto area. Moreover, the tower is lit up beautifully at night, alternating every day between "Iki," a soft blue light, and "Miyabi," a royal purple light. Special lights are also implemented for every season of the year. At the foot of the tower is Tokyo Solamachi®, a commercial facility packed with a wide selection of over 300 shops and restaurants, as well as a planetarium and an aquarium, offering a full day of enjoyment for visitors. The tower is a landmark that Tokyo boasts to the world.

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Lunch at Tempura Tsunahachi:The tempura was delicious and there were several tempura sets to choose from.
    The restaurant is in Skytree, so it is a perfect location for those tourists who are planning to visit Tokyo Skytree.

    Tokyo Skytree:I love to visit Tokyo Skytree, as it is such an iconic piece of architecture in Tokyo.
    I always love to take cityscape photos of Tokyo using Skytree as the background.
    I also love to go to the observation deck as I can see a 360 degree view of Tokyo city from there.
    Besides the sightseeing on the top floor, tourists can do some shopping in the mall, and you can find many original Skytree items.
    Also, there are some floors for restaurants, so there are many types of experiences in Skytree.

  • Gifty

    Tempura lunch at Shinjuku Tsunahachi: The inside of the restaurant was very comfortable. I think that since it was a weekday, lunchtime wasn’t crowded and I was able to sit and relax. In addition to the regular two-seat tables, there are also counter seats where the chef fries tempura right in front of you. That's where I want to sit if I have the opportunity to visit again!

    Tokyo Skytree: At a height of 634 meters, Tokyo Skytree is one of Tokyo's landmarks. If you actually go to the top, you'll have a panoramic view of the city. Unfortunately the weather was bad the day I visited, but on good days you can clearly see Mt. Fuji, so I hope to have chance and get lucky on my second try. There was also a limited exhibition at the observatory, and Hello Kitty was on display when I was there, and she was so cute that I took many photos!

Train (JR)
20 minutes

VR Ninja Dojomore

VR Ninja Dojo

VR Ninja Dojo is a unique ninja experience, giving anyone the chance to train as a ninja and put their new skills to the test. Players dress in full ninja costume and guided by a ninja master, learn a variety of fighting techniques, such as swordplay, shuriken (ninja stars), and ninjutsu (mystical ninja arts).

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    VR Ninja Dojo:It is a unique experience in Japan as it is not common to be able try on a ninja costume. In this store, you can wear a ninja costume. Then you will get real ninja training. Every ninja instructor speaks English so it can be enjoyable for tourists. I was very entertained and had a good time in the dojo with the staff.
    The VR section was very fun and I was fully satisfied. I wished the section to become more familiar with the game could have been longer.

  • Gifty

    VR Ninja Dojo: When you look at the interior decorations and shop staff, you will feel like you have entered the world of the ninja. The interior is pure Japanese. There are props for taking photos, and you can take plenty of Instagram photos while wearing a ninja costume. When the ninja experience starts, the ninja masters will boost the excitement to the max. I was a little embarrassed at first, but got into it and had fun.

Walking
10 minutes by foot

Experience an Izakaya (Japanese pub) in Kandamore

Experience an Izakaya (Japanese pub) in Kanda

The Kanda-Jimbocho area, the birthplace of the University of Tokyo, is today very popular with students from Meiji University and other colleges. It has a relaxing atmosphere perfect for wandering around.The area is also known for its many bookstores, including old bookstores. There are also tourist attractions such as Yushima Seido, originally a Confucian temple. While walking, it is recommended to eat curry at one of many affordable curry restaurants or soba (Japanese noodles) at famous soba shops. Close to Tokyo Station, Ueno, Ochanomizu and Akihabara, Kanda-Jimbocho is a convenient location for visiting the surrounding area.

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Izakaya experience at Wamiwashu Kokori (izakaya restaurant):It is a small restaurant in a small alley, with a big set for dinner. We went to the second floor and it is not a big space, but it has a party feeling.
    The service was also very good and pleasant.

  • Gifty

    Izakaya experience at Wami Washu Kokori: The storefront has a retro feel, but it's surprisingly modern when you enter! There assortment of five kinds of sashimi was made with some rare fish and it was very fresh. The main course were several small dishes of mainly creative Japanese and Western cuisine, which all pair well with sake if you like to drink. The taichazuke at the end is the restaurant's specialty, and is warming and easy on the stomach. I ate so much I was stuffed! LOL!

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day2

HOKURIKU(NIIGATA)

Tokyo Stationmore

Tokyo Station

October 2012 saw completion of the preservation and renovation work on the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. The red brick facade long loved as the symbol of Tokyo Station has made a comeback, along with the history and grandeur of the original building dating nearly a hundred years back. The occasion also saw the reopening of Tokyo Station Hotel and Tokyo Station Gallery. The former is the only hotel situated within an important cultural property of Japan. The interior is designed in a sophisticated, classical European style to blend with the splendor of the Marunouchi Building exterior.

JR Joetsu Shinkansen

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Shinkansen (Tokyo → Niigata):It was a very rapid trip. The total transportation time was, at the shortest, only around 1.5 hrs. Shinkansen service was, and always is, comfortable and punctual.

  • Gifty

    Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Niigata Prefecture: Tokyo Station is large and crowded, and there are many train lines in this station. However, the signboards are very easy to understand, and even if you are taking the Shinkansen bullet train for the first time, it shouldn't be a problem. The Shinkansen is fairly crowded in the morning, so it is best to reserve seats in advance! If you have no plans, you can get to Niigata in about an hour and a half by taking the Shinkansen, and it was much faster than I imagined.

Niigata Stationmore

Niigata Station

Niigata Station is the transport hub of Niigata City, and in addition to Station Shopping Center CoCoLo, and Ponshu-kan, a sake amusement park, a variety of shops can be found there where visitors can enjoy shopping and dining.

Train (JR)
107 minutes

Bus
15 minutes

Boat
65 minutes

Bus
70 minutes

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Lunch at Shimafumi:I loved this place very much. This restaurant was located beside the sea, so there was a very good ocean view. You can have an outdoor seat looking at the sea, or you may have an indoor seat with a very good indoor environment.
    The food is really well prepared as well.

    Senkakuwan Ageshima Yuen:In this area I can see the bottom of the sea, exquisite with the clean and fresh air.
    We took a boat which had a glass bottom so that we could enjoy the beauty of the sea.
    However, we focused only on feeding the sea gulls and taking a lot of funny pictures.

  • Gifty

    Lunch at Shimafuumi Cafe: Sado Island is surrounded by the sea, and its greatest attraction is that you have a superb view of the ocean that extends endlessly in all directions. You can also see the ocean from the Shimafuumi Cafe. Outside the cafe is a garden with a view of the ocean, which was absolutely fantastic! The cafe had a woodgrain interior that screamed art and was full of taste and thoughtfulness, with food made mainly with ingredients from Sado.

Sado Kinzan Gold Minemore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Sado Kinzan Gold Mine

Enjoy the history of Japan with a visit to Sado Kinzan, a world heritage candidate. Sado Kinzan has been Japan's largest gold and silver mine for 400 years. The "Doyu no Warito", a symbol of Sado Kinzan, is a magnificent V-shaped cravas that divides the center of the mountain. Visitors can also see many remnants of mine tunnels on the walls. After going through the mine tunnels that were used in the past, visitors can experience what the weight of real gold bullion feels like.

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Sado Gold Mine:It is believed that the Sado Mine had a major role in financing the Edo government for three hundred years because of the rich amounts of gold and silver mined there. Indeed some people simply called Sado Island “Sado Gold Mine,” so people understand how important this heritage is to this area.
    There are several doll models in the tunnel to simulate daily mining in the tunnel.
    The average temperature inside the tunnels was about 12 degrees Celsius, so it was very comfortable to walk around this popular site, even in summer.

    Dinner: fresh otsukuri, grilled abalone, and sea bream kamameshi made with Sado koshihikari rice: During dinner, we could see a beautiful sunset through the window, and it was romantic. Overall the dinner was very well-prepared.
    The dining area had a very good sea view of Sado Island, looking at the Japan Sea.
    I was surprised by the size of the crab they provided, and it was delicious.

  • Gifty

    Sado Kinzan: I had heard that the Sado Kinzan gold mine was famous before I visited. After actually visiting the Sohdayu Tunnel, I learned that the people back then dug for gold without power and advanced science and technology, and with poor tools. I can’t imagine the effort and time it took! At the Doyu no Warito, you can see the ruins that opened up the mountaintop using human power alone. The people back then were really amazing!

    Dinner (Fresh sashimi × Abalone kama-yaki × Sea bream kama-meshi with Niigata Koshihikari rice): The hotel is very close to the ocean, and the garden, restaurant, and of course the rooms, offer a spectacular view of it. I love eating, so I was excited about the giant abalone and snow crab that was for dinner! This hotel seems to offer freshly-caught fish every day, so you can be confident that it is fresh and delicious! The hotel offers many other types of dishes such as sashimi, sea bream kama-meshi, and seafood. I ate so much that I didn't have room for dessert! LOL!

Day3

Bus
100 minutes

Taraibune (tub boats)more

Taraibune (tub boats)

Taraibune appeared in the Ghibli movie "Spirited Away." It was originally conceived for the purpose of fishing by Ama (woman divers), said to be an improvement from a laundry washbucket to the tub-like boat of today. Visitors can enjoy a unique experience on the clear seas of ​​Sado.

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Taraibune boat:This Sado experience is becoming popular among Hong Kong people.
    The round shaped wooden boat is a traditional Japanese fishing boat found mainly on Sado Island, used for catching abalone and other mollusks.
    It was a fun experience, seeing how the lady moved the boat with a wooden stick.
    She also gave me a chance to hold the paddle for a while.

    Sado Island Taiko Centre (Tatakokan):I enjoyed this experience, and first of all I loved the architecture of this building. The large space and natural light made it a very open area.
    The experience was special as we could try different kinds of drums and the staff told us how they were made.
    We did a short practice session; it was fun and relaxing. It was also a kind of exercise and it actually released some people’s tension.
    The lady who demonstrated the drum was amazing, always smiling, full of energy, and kind.

    Lunch at Yushokudo:I loved this café so much, and I took a lot of pictures of the decorations in the restaurant.
    I think this is the type of restaurant which Hong Kong people like so much. Decent interior decorations in an old wooden building with some vintage furniture.
    I ordered Russian beef stew and it was very delicious.

  • Gifty

    Tarai bune: Because tarai bune boats are made from modified bath tubs, they have a cute shape! On days when there are no waves, the boats seemed very stable, but on the day I was riding, the waves were big and the rocking was intense. The woman who taught me how to ride was about the same age as me, but she was a skilled pro, and I respect her for not getting seasick! LOL!

    Sado Island Taiko Centre (Tatakokan): What impressed me most about the Sado Island Taiko Centre was that it was made entirely of wood. There were large glass windows in the taiko experience room, where you could see a lot of greenery and gentle sunlight filling the room. I was moved by the taiko performances of the drummers in such a calm and natural environment.

    Lunch at Yushokudo: Recently, there are an increasing number of places where kominka old Japanese-style houses have been renovated into restaurants and shops. Yushokudo is one such place with its antique interior that even I could appreciate, even though I don't know anything about curios. I ordered the curry rice, but my traveling companion ordered the seafood pasta and there was a mountain of it that looked so tasty! If I ever come back, I think I'll try the pasta!

Bus
130 minutes

Boat
65 minutes

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Northern Culture Museum:I thought it was a museum full of history, and at the end I was surprised by the beautiful garden.
    The size of this site is huge, and this amazed me; the interior decoration was also pleasing to the eye.
    I loved the garden view the most, and I wished I could have stayed a while longer.

    Dinner (BBQ at MIZBERING) :We had a barbeque dinner at the Mizbering Waterfront and this was an amazing experience.
    This area has such a great atmosphere, with the beautiful Shinano River, cool temperatures, and of course the wonderful dinning setting and sunset viewing, all with the professional camping equipment from Snow Peak.
    I think this was a good spot for romantic couples, or to hold small parties with a group of friends.
    If I were living in Niigata, I think I would always come here, sitting at the waterfront area, grabbing a drink, and relaxing for the evening.

  • Gifty

    Northern Culture Museum: The museum covers a vast area, and while listening to explanations of the displays on my tour, I became interested in the life of the family in old Japan and was filled with curiosity. I was able to spend the entire day hanging around and enjoying the beautiful garden. The most interesting thing was the introduction of a stone that possessed “reiki,” or spiritual energy. I can't explain it, but when I passed by it, I suddenly felt like my body was full of energy!

    BBQ dinner at Mizbering: The most memorable and impressive dinner of all my itineraries! When the sky gradually turns pink, watching the people lying in the grass as a cool breeze blows, makes you feel as if you have entered the romantic and invigorating world of Japanese TV dramas! There wasn't much in terms of volume for the barbecue set, but the quality outweighed quantity and everything was delicious. In Hong Kong, having a BBQ at an open-air park is normal, but there is no place quite like this on the riverside, so I'm jealous that the people of Niigata have this kind of opportunity.

Day4

Taxi
10 minutes

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Lunch at Marui:The sushi was delicious. The restaurant was totally full and I think this is one of the most famous or most popular sushi restaurants in Niigata city.
    Don’t forget to make a reservation. And make sure to allow yourself more time to finish the whole set as prepping the food needs some time.

  • Gifty

    Toki Messe observation deck: You can enjoy a different perspective if you look down on the city from someplace high. The observation deck at Toki Messe on the 31st floor is no exception, and if you go to the top, you'll see how far away the place you went a few days ago actually is and how close Niigata is to the Sea of Japan. The best thing about this wonderful place is that it is free. I want to take in the view again the next time I come to Niigata!

    Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai: I love aquariums, so I felt so relaxed when I saw all the sea creatures swimming freely in the water! I saw small fish with their babies and shrimp raised separately, and thought the aquarium was very considerate in taking steps to reduce the risk of fish being sucked into circulating water pipes. There were also cute otters whose movements were so adorable that I could not take my eyes off him!

    Lunch at Marui: When I visited at lunchtime, the restaurant was full and thought it must be a popular sushi restaurant for Niigata residents, too! Items such as kobachi small dishes, sashimi, tempura, and sushi make up a set lunch and it all looks like it is made once you place your order. The portions are also large, so it's a good spot for lunch! The customer service is also very polite, and it is a great sushi restaurant in a Japanese style interior!

Gotokuya Jube Photoshoot(Geisha Style)more

Gotokuya Jube Photoshoot(Geisha Style)

Dress up in "Geisha Style" just like in an "ukiyo-e" painting. Wear a luxurious traditional Japanese kimono, and have your hair done in a style of extreme extravagance to experience the ultimate in feminine beauty. A photo session against an exotic backdrop in the studio will be a unique and exciting highlight of your trip to Niigata.

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Gotokuya Jube:Because I generally do not cosplay, I was embarrassed when I tried.
    I think the makeup process was very professional, the details were well thought out, and the costumes were finely made.
    The photographer tried her best to assist me in posing, which was very helpful. We could get three high resolution pictures from her after the experience.

  • Gifty

    Gotokuya Jube: The Oiran courtesan experience wasn't easy and it took more than an hour just to put on makeup. Unlike photo studios in places such as Kyoto and Asakusa, the staff at Gotokuya Jube choose the makeup, hairstyle, and hair ornaments that best suits the shape and parts of your face. Dressed in a kimono of your choice, your “narikiri” style is complete, and when you look at the photos taken in the photo studio, you'll feel that is a completely different person (LOL)! But this experience will be a lifelong memory, so I have no regrets!

Bus
15 minutes

Genbi Shinkansen (art viewing, countryside tour & light dining train excursion)more

Genbi Shinkansen (art viewing, countryside tour & light dining train excursion)

Enjoy contemporary art with the world's fastest art appreciation experience. Along with the contemporary art created by the artists featured on each vehicle for this train, the train features a café that serves Tsubame Coffee, a popular beverage from Tsubame-Sanjo, and desserts made from carefully selected local ingredients under the supervision of Chef Romi Igarashi from romi-unie. Travelers can discover a variety of panoramic attractions along the route from the train windows.

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    Genbi Shinkansen:The Genbi Shinkansen is an art-oriented train service from Niigata station to Echigo-Yuzawa station, and it is only available on holidays.
    I always love visiting art related tourist locations, so the installation in the train really impressed me.
    It is actually a moving art museum, and people should feel very relaxed sitting and enjoying the artwork.
    I noticed one special thing in that there was lots of free space in the free seating area on the art cars, so passengers can sit in a very comfortable way.
    Because it is a sightseeing train, I could enjoy the scenery, but I (shame on me) was too focused on the artwork.

  • Gifty

    Ponshukan: Having a drink by a ticket machine is a new method, so you can enjoy a tipple without worrying about others watching and choose a sake that suits your palate. Ponshukan also sells plum wine, so it is a perfect place for beginners like me who like something sweet!

    Genbi Shinkansen: You can appreciate the works of various artists in the Genbi Shinkansen, which brings art up close and personal! For the first 30 minutes, you can walk slowly from the front to the back of the train to look at the art, and then have a coffee or dessert at the cafe in the train and arrive at your destination right on schedule! Compared to reserved seats, the sofa seats are much better than in other cars, and you can enjoy an unforgettable journey in a relaxed atmosphere unlike ordinary trains!

Walking
1 minutes by foot

Echigo-Yuzawa Stationmore

Echigo-Yuzawa Station

CoCoLo Yuzawa Gangi Dori opened in December 2009. "Gangi Dori" is a street with a nostalgic atmosphere where the townscape from the early Showa Period has been recreated with houses lining covered alleys ("gangi"). The shops sell a wide variety of local souvenirs, including "sasadango (dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaf)," which is a specialty confectionary of Niigata Prefecture.
The station building also has a lot more to offer, including the "Tabearuki Yokocho," a street lined with restaurants, a tourist information center, the Visitor Center with a rent-a-car counter, and the Ponshu-kan selling numerous kinds of sake.

JR Joetsu Shinkansen

Tokyo Station

  • Lo Hang Wai Henry

    This is a well-planned itinerary, I had a one day visit in Tokyo near Tokyo Station, and I also spent three days in Niigata.
    I think this is efficient as some tourists may want to spend their holidays in both locations. The JR Shinkansen to Niigata started from Tokyo station, so it was a smart choice to visit this area. Tokyo Skytree, VR Ninja Dojo, and Sensoji Temple are good highlights for sightseeing, culture, shopping, and adventure in Tokyo.
    My last time visiting Niigata was in winter, so I was happy to discover the other side of Niigata Prefecture.
    Overall I think Niigata is a good travel location with great variety of experiences for tourists involving artistic, cultural, historical, and fun experiences with nice food.

  • Gifty

    The view of the ocean surrounding Sado and the fresh seafood are superb, making it the perfect place to have a fun and comfortable vacation for those who want to get away from the usual urban living and rapid pace of life. Niigata is more wonderful than you can imagine and I recommend that you visit. I would like to go again. Tokyo's extensive transportation network makes it a very convenient jumping off point to all other cities in Japan. If you take the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station, you can be in Niigata in 90 minutes. I recommend this tour because you can enjoy sightseeing spots in Tokyo and Niigata during a short stay of only a few days!

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

The locations are well-planned. This is the second time I have visited Niigata and I saw a different side of the prefecture. On this tour we can visit the seaside, nice cafés, and historical sites while having interesting experiences with wooden boats and cosplay. For tourists from Hong Kong, Tokyo always offers new experiences and is a popular entry point when traveling to Niigata Prefecture. Therefore, having a one-two day trip in Tokyo and seeing new spots before or after the Niigata tour would be a good decision.

Lo Hang Wai Henry
Blogger
Reside in Hong Kong
  • Hobby

    Travel , Photography

  • Number of visits to Japan

    30+

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

Tokyo is a vibrant, modern city where you can eat, drink, have fun and never get bored! One of its best attributes is that the extensive transportation network in the city is convenient for going anywhere in Japan. I went to Tokyo Skytree, a landmark of Tokyo, and also went to Senso-ji, a landmark of the old town, going to Niigata. Many people associate Niigata with skiing, but it offers many fun places worth visiting in the summer. Niigata City also has good transportation, shopping, and cafes, and its nice balance of greenery and scenery of the Shinanogawa River should make you forget the daily stresses of life!

Gifty
Travel writer
Reside in Tokyo
Home country: Hong Kong
  • Hobby

    Travel, photography, discovering foodie spots

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    4 years

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