Make an exploration into rural Japan!      PROJECT      CONCEPT
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Samurai Era

Tradition

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Essence

Nature

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Abandoned Places

Ruins

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Health & Wellness

Food & Rest

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Japanese pampas grass Buddhist monk
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Rice Fields & Mt. Gozu Range

Nature

  A Rice field at Sasagami village You might want to draw a picture rather than taking photos by watching this simple beauty of serene rice fields and Mt.Gozu range. There’s a spring water spot near by here, so it’s good to rinse your mouth before you go on a walk around here. In summer, you can enjoy the glow of fireflies around here. It’s not a firefly hatchery, so this place doesn’t swarm with fireflies though. But you can enjoy natural ones flying modestly. I visited some firefly hatchery (usually very crowded) but I prefer the quiet atmosphere of this place. Their subtle glow always reminds me of the sense of…

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One week trip in Niigata & Sado

Journal

Into another world As the Shinkansen left the main train station of Tokyo, heading to Niigata on a two hour long trip, I started to realize I was going to another reality of Japanese culture, one not made of overcrowded streets and fascinating lights. Buildings, noise, all of the big city was leaving me behind, the landscape of the outskirts and flatlands taking its place. As I stepped down from the train in Niigata station, the air entering my lungs was completely fresh and different. The temperature was lower, the place almost empty. Getting out of the train, I faced the quiet life of a city as Niigata revealed itself over the next…

small canyon Mononoke
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Kenryukyo – reminds you of the princess Mononoke world

Nature

Clear Water Runs Through a Mossy Monolith Kenryukyo (剣龍峡) is a small canyon located at the foot of Mt.Gozu. A stream of clear water runs on a slab of rocks and water drops create a pleasant rhythm. Actually, this place is registered as a sightseeing spot of Shibata city, but since it’s not that famous, people seldom come. I go to Mt. Gozu a few times per a week to refresh myself – this place has become one of my best retreats. Like the Princess Mononoke World Surrounded by the deep green forrest, a mystic atmosphere drifts around this place where Kodama  (spirits that inhabit trees) might pop up by chance. The…

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Shitada Onsen – Rankeisou Inn

Food & Rest

Highlights Traditional inn hidden among lush trees along a stream in the mountains Member of the Japan Association of Secluded Hot Spring Inns Luxurious, natural sodium mineral spring baths

Japanese Wisteria
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The Ito House – The temptation of balmy breezes of wisteria.

Featured, Tradition

Highlights Breathtaking views of the “strolling pond” garden from the main drawing room; experience its beauty throughout all four seasons The 150 year-old wisteria vine and its cascading clusters of beautiful, fragrant flowers which bloom each May The impressive Japanese-style residence, with a floor area of 4,000 square meters and 65 rooms

japan cherry blossom
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The Terraced Paddy Fields of Kitaimogawa

Featured, Nature

Highlights A beautiful rural landscape, selected as one of the top one hundred terraced paddy fields. During the last third of April, the light purple dogtooth violets are in full bloom. The riverside scenery along the way and the towering two hundred meter-high cliffs of Yagigahana provide a stunning view.   A beautiful rural landscape, selected as one of the top one hundred terraced paddy fields. This place, where you can view mountains like Mt. Awagatake and Mt. Sumon-dake in the distance and see where the terraced paddy fields stretch into the slopes, is a place which still has the kind of nostalgic pastoral landscapes that might appear in stories…

japan Sun Sinking
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The Evening Sun Sinking into the Sea of Japan

Nature

The Sea of Japan Evening Sun Line If you drive for ten minutes out of Niigata’s city center, from spring through to summer, you can see the beautiful evening sun within the silhouette of Sado Island in the distance, and in autumn, you can see it sinking into the Sea of Japan.  Niigata Prefecture is long from north to south, with an amazing 331.3 kilometers of coastline – combined with Sado Island and Awashima Island, the total length amounts to 635.2 kilometers. Facing that much ocean, Niigata is abounding in spots to view the evening sun from – this coastline is known by the name of “The Sea of Japan…

japan old house
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Meguro House – Experience the rustic beauty of a sunken hearth and thatch roof.

Tradition

Highlights A splendid and painstakingly preserved thatch roof Countless examples of inlay woodwork that make you nostalgic for the aesthetic sense of the carpenters of that time A sunken fireplace that remains in use, where even now a fire is kept burning every day Meguro House was the government-provided residence of the Meguro family, who served as warimoto-shouya – under the command of gundai and daikan (various Edo-period officials), they controlled dozens of village headmen, allocated annual tributes, and conveyed orders. The building is made with a hip roof (called yosemune-dzukuri), with high ceilings and pillars and beams made of thick wood, a structure that can support heavy snow. Since…

japan drive seaside
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Rental Cars – the best way to explore rural Japan

Column

A rental car is very convenient for travelling around the Niigata Prefecture In the Niigata Prefecture, unlike the Tokyo area, the main forms of public transportation are rail and bus systems, rather than the subway. However, as there are fewer railway lines than in the Tokyo area, a rental car is very convenient for travelling around the Niigata Prefecture.   Car Rental Companies Around Niigata Station Nippon Rent-A-Car, Niigata Shinkansen (Bullet Train) Entrance Office http://www.nipponrentacar.co.jp/english/index.html (Depending on the day of the week, English-speaking staff are available) 1-7 Yoneyama 1-choume, Chūō Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture 025-243-7666   Toyota Rent a Car https://rent.toyota.co.jp/eng/ (English website) 1-1-9 Yoneyama, Chūō Ward, Niigata City,…

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