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Port City Culture

As a major rice producer situated on the Japan Sea at the mouth of Japan’s longest river, Niigata served as an important port of call for cargo ships during the Edo period. Old-style restaurants and traces of authentic geisha culture can still be found here today.

Furumachi Geigi

The Furumachi Geigi (geisha) district in downtown Niigata ranks alongside Kyoto’s Gion district and Tokyo’s Shinbashi geisha area. The geisha scene here was very lively 200 years ago, as seafaring visitors delighted in the lovely dances and treats of geisha society. Some of this culture can still be found here today.

Niigata Geisha Teahouse Plan

Enjoy the Furumachi geisha experience. The plan includes tea, candy, and great photo ops.

City History Museum, Minatopia

Designated an important national cultural property and erected in the “quasi-Western” style popular at the time, the museum’s old customs house (upper picture) is the only one remaining of the five that were built—one in each established port city—following the opening of Japan for trade in 1858. The history museum (lower picture) focuses on the theme of water in relation to the development and advance of Niigata City.

  • Phone
  • Location
    2-10 Yanagishimacho Chuo-ku, Niigata City
  • Hours
    9:30 am to 6 pm (Closes 5 pm Oct through March)
  • Closed Mondays
    (If Monday is a holiday, closes Tuesday instead)
  • Entrance Fee
    Adults 300 yen; University and high school students 200 yen; elementary and middle: 100 yen
    (Entry to old Customs House is free of charge.)

Landowner Culture

Wealthy landowners played a major role in the development of Niigata’s rice culture. The Ito estate museum reminds us of the prosperity of the landowner class in early Niigata.

Northern Culture Museum

The huge 65-room former estate of the Ito landowning clan. Perhaps most interesting is the large (100-tatami-mat) banquet hall, used exclusively for family-related ceremonies. The lovely garden outside the hall has appeared as a location in many Japanese movies.

  • Phone
  • Location
    2-15-25 Somi, Konan-ku, Niigata City
  • Hours
    9 am to 5 pm (Closes 4:30 pm December through March)
  • Open Every Day
  • Admission Fee
    Adults 800 yen; Kids (elementary and middle) 400 yen weekdays and Saturdays (Admission for kids is free on Sundays and holidays.)

Hagama Experience

Try your hand at cooking some tasty Koshihikari rice using a traditional hagama—and then enjoy eating it together with other local dishes. This special admission also allows you to view areas of the museum not otherwise open to the public.

  • Admission fee
    2,386 yen

Niigata Visitors & Convention Bureau

6-894-1 Nishibori Maedori Chuo-ku, Niigata-City
951-8062 Japan
Phone +81-25-223-8181
Fax +81-25-223-9100

Explorer Niigata City
Prices, business hours, and other details shown on this site are subject to change.

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