Friday, December 25, 2009

Niigata


Of Interest: shopping, walkable river
Lodging: yes, but cheaper downtown
Internet Access: free in the station from 11 to 7
Tourist Office: outside the station, city information only
There are good restrooms in the malls attached to the station.

The area around the station is a major shopping area. The Shinano River is a 10-15 minute walk away. Downtown Niigata is another 15-20 minutes by foot. Downtown is very nice with lots of covered sidewalks. One of the arcades leads to the oldest park in Japan. An arcade the opposite direction leads to a street of temples.

These kinds of arcades are common in towns along the inland sea that borders Honshu to the north and west. The arcades make walking possible as these are the wettest parts of Japan. In particular, Niigata Prefecture is known for heavy snowfalls.

If you are visiting, I recommend getting a hotel downtown as they are cheaper than the ones near the station.

Niigata is the terminal station for the Joetsu Shinkansen which takes two to two and a half hours to get here. There are also there are also four express trains daily to Kanazawa. Multiple trains travel within Niigata Prefecture. Shibata is 25 minutes north by local train. Most trains head south. Nagaoka, a major transfer point, is 25 minutes by Shinkansen and and hour and fifteen minutes by regular train. The trip to Yoshida is 45 minutes.

To head north out of Niigata, go to Niitsu and change trains.

Note: Some platforms only have signs in kana, the Japanese phonetic script.

2 comments:

gerardinebaugh said...

I enjoy reading your descriptions. This part had me wondering, what kind of temples?:
"An arcade the opposite direction leads to a street of temples"
Great post!

AsianTrains said...

In Japan, the word "temple" is used to refer to Buddhist places of worship while "shrines" are Shinto. Each temple on that street will be associated with a slightly different form of Buddhism.