Introduction to Niigata
Rich nature and diverse food culture: many facets of Niigata
Niigata prefecture covers an area of 12,584 km2 and boasts a population of 2.2 million as of October 2021. In 2007, the prefectural capital, also called Niigata, became the first government ordinance-designated city situated on the Sea of Japan side of Honshu. With a long history as a seaport, Niigata city now serves an important role as a transportation hub to the rest of Japan through an international airport and seaport, Shinkansen high-speed rail system, and express-way network.
It takes about two hours by Shinkansen, bullet train from Tokyo, the capital of Japan, to Niigata.
Niigata prefecture is a major tourist destination that attracts a multitude of winter sports lovers thanks to some of the heaviest snowfalls in Japan. The prefecture is also renowned for hot springs dotted all over the region, especially those in the Echigo Yuzawa area, which the famous Japanese novelist Yasunari Kawabata employed for the setting of “Snow Country,” the novel that won him the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The annual Nagaoka Fireworks Festival and Fuji Rock Festival are also proudly held in Niigata Prefecture, and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is one of the largest art festivals in the world as well as the pioneer of regional art festivals taking place across Japan.
Many Japanese people associate the name Niigata with the area’s abundant rice production. Niigata is a famous production district of rice wine and rice confectionery, which use the prefecture’s quality yield as the main ingredient.
While Niigata develops as a commercial and tourist city, its rich natural surroundings and safe environment secure it as a superior setting for university life.