Top things to do

Cultural in Sado-ga-shima

Earth Celebration

One of Sado's biggest drawcards is this three-day music, dance and arts festival, held during the third week in August. The event features okesa (folk dances), onidaiko (demon drum dances) and tsuburosashi (a phalli…
Music in Naeba

Fuji Rock Festival

The Fuji Rock Festival now ranks among the most prominent music festivals in the world. Big-name acts across a variety of genres – with ample indie, pop and electronica – take the stage over three days. It's a peace…
Arts Centre in Echigo-Yuzawa Onsen

Echigo-Tsumari Art Field

In 2000 this open-air gallery was conceived as a way to bring people back to this rapidly depopulating, though enchantingly beautiful rural area of green fields and historical wooden farmhouses. Spread out over 770 …
Festival in Niigata


Sake aficionados won't want to miss this event, held on the third weekend each March. It's a mammoth bacchanal, highlighting more than 90 varieties of sake from around Niigata. Kampai!
Viewpoint in Niigata

Nippō Media Ship Sora-no-hiroba

Come to the 20th floor of this skyscraper for amazing 360-degree views over the Sea of Japan, Niigata city and the distant mountains.
Historic Site in Aikawa

Sado Kinzan

You'll have to venture up a steep mountain to access this gold mine, which produced large quantities of gold and silver until its demise in 1989. Descend into the chilly depths, where you'll encounter robots that dr…
Market in Niigata

Pia Bandai

Conveniently located on the way to the Sado Kisen ferry terminal, this sprawling complex includes markets and eateries – so you can gawk at the bounty of Niigata's coast and sample it, too. If you're in Niigata with…
Seafood in Ogi & Shukunegi


The speciality here is awabi (abalone), grilled as a steak (at market rate) or, more affordably, barbecued with a sweet soy-sauce marinade and served over rice. Follow the shop-lined road snaking up the hill behind …
Museum in Echigo-Yuzawa Onsen

Yuzawa Town History Museum

This wonderful little museum displays memorabilia from the life of Kawabata Yasunari, the first Japanese recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, in addition to interesting displays about life in snow country th…
Fusion in Niigata

Kanda Grill

Yōshoku (Western-style) cuisine is a treat for homesick Japanophiles. This grill house does a good katsu-don (rice topped with a fried pork cutlet) and hamburg teishoku (set meal that involves hamburgers); try the c…