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Niigata Prefecture

niigata prefecture japan, niigata prefecture yuzawa pics
Niigata Prefecture 新潟県, Niigata-ken is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Honshu on the coast of the Sea of Japan1 The capital is the city of Niigata with which it shares the same name2


  • 1 History
  • 2 Geography
    • 21 Cities
    • 22 Towns and villages
    • 23 Mergers
  • 3 Economy
    • 31 Agriculture, forestry and fishing
    • 32 Mining and manufacturing
  • 4 Demographics
  • 5 Culture
    • 51 Food
    • 52 Niigata in popular culture
  • 6 Tourism and sports
  • 7 Festivals
  • 8 Education
    • 81 Universities
  • 9 Transport
    • 91 Rail
    • 92 Roads
      • 921 Expressways
      • 922 National highways
    • 93 Ports
    • 94 Airports
  • 10 Notable individuals
    • 101 Politics and military
    • 102 Arts and culture
    • 103 Sports
  • 11 See also
  • 12 Notes
  • 13 References
  • 14 External links


See also: Historic Sites of Niigata Prefecture

Until after the Meiji Restoration, the area that is now Niigata Prefecture was divided into Echigo Province on the mainland and Sado Province3 During the Sengoku period, the Nagao clan, who were at times vassals to the Uesugi, ruled a fief in the western part of modern Niigata from Kasugayama Castle The most notable member of the Nagao clan was Nagao Kagetora, later and better known as Uesugi Kenshin He unified the leaders of Echigo Province and became its sole ruler By taking the surname Uesugi, he also became the head of the Uesugi clan and effectively brought their realm under his control

The city of Niigata is now the third largest Japanese city facing the Sea of Japan, after Fukuoka and Kitakyushu It was the first Japanese port on the Sea of Japan to be opened to foreign trade following the opening of Japan by Matthew Perry It has since played an important role in trade with Russia and Korea A freighter from North Korea visits Niigata once a month, in one of the few forms of direct contact between Japan and that country

The Etsuzankai organization, led by the politician Kakuei Tanaka, was highly influential in bringing infrastructure improvements to Niigata Prefecture in the 1960s and 1970s These included the Jōetsu Shinkansen high-speed rail line and the Kanetsu Expressway to Tokyo

On October 23, 2004, the Chūetsu earthquake struck Niigata Prefecture and was measured at Shindo 6+ at Ojiya

On January 9, 2006, a heavy winter storm struck the prefecture and its neighbors At least 71 people died and more than 1,000 were injured Also in 2006, a massive tsunami and earthquake damaged homes and caused casualties in the maritime areas of Niigata Prefecture, especially near Sado Island

On July 16, 2007, another earthquake hit the area

Niigata Prefecture hosts the Fuji Rock Festival, an annual event held at the Naeba ski resort The three-day event, organized by Smash Japan, features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians It is one of the largest outdoor music events in Japan, with more than 100,000 people attending in 2005


Map of Niigata Prefecture Niigata Prefecture in winter from the sky Ten-Ken cliff of Oya-Shirazu, Niigata

Niigata Prefecture stretches about 240 km along the Sea of Japan, from the southwest to the northeast, with a coastal plain between the mountains and the sea It also includes Sado Island Niigata Prefecture could be placed in either the Hokuriku or the Kōshinetsu, both of which are considered parts of the Chūbu region The prefecture is generally divided into four geographical areas: Jōetsu region 上越 in the south, Chūetsu 中越 in the center, Kaetsu 下越 in the north, and Sado Island The mouth of the Shinano River, the longest river in Japan, is located in Niigata Prefecture

As of 1 April 2014, 25% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Bandai-Asahi, Chūbu-Sangaku, Nikkō, and Oze National Parks; Echigo Sanzan-Tadami and Sado-Yahiko-Yoneyama Quasi-National Parks; and thirteen Prefectural Natural Parks4

Reconstruction of a 19th-century peasant farmer's house and rice paddy at the Northern Culture Museum, Niigata


Twenty cities are located in Niigata Prefecture:

Towns and villagesedit

These are the towns and villages in each district:


Main article: List of mergers in Niigata Prefecture


Agriculture, forestry and fishingedit

The major industry in Niigata Prefecture is agriculture Rice is the principal product, and among the prefectures of Japan Niigata is second only to Hokkaidō in rice output The area around Uonuma is known for producing the Koshihikari variety, widely considered to be the highest-quality rice produced in Japan

Rice-related industries are also very important to the prefectural economy Niigata Prefecture is known throughout Japan for its high-quality sake, senbei, mochi, and arare In sake production, the prefecture comes third after Gunma and Kyoto prefectures

The prefecture was also the place of origin of the ornamental carp known as koi

Niigata Prefecture produces the highest volume of azaleas and cut lilies in Japan, and is increasing production of cut flowers and flower bulbs Along with Toyama Prefecture, it produces the highest volume of tulips in the country

Mining and manufacturingedit

Crude oil is produced in Niigata Prefecture, although Japan relies heavily on petroleum imported from other countries Kerosene heaters are also produced for use in the cold Niigata winters

Kinzan, on Sado Island, was an active gold mine until it was closed in 1989

Sanjō and Tsubame produce 9 percent of all the silverware made in Japan The two cities are second after Osaka in the production of scissors, kitchen knives, and wrenches

Niigata Prefecture may have been the first area in Japan to produce knitted textiles, although the earliest products may have been imported from China The nuclear power plant which formerly had highest energy output in the world is located in the tiny village of Kariwa It has been closed since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster5


In the Census of 2003, Niigata ranked as the 14th most populous



Niigata is known for the following regional specialities:

  • Uonuma Koshihikari rice
  • Shoyu soy sauce and Yofu western-style katsudon
  • Shoyu sekihan
  • Noppe stew
  • Wappa-meshi seafood and rice steamed in a bamboo basket
  • Sasa-dango mochi balls filled with red bean paste, seasoned with mugwort and wrapped in bamboo leaves
  • Poppo-yaki steamed bread flavored with brown sugar
  • Hegi-soba soba from the Uonuma and Ojiya areas, which uses a special kind of seaweed
  • "Tsubame-Sanjō ramen" ramen made using thick udon-style noodles
  • Tochio aburage aburaage is called "aburage" in Tochio
  • Kirazu dishes using okara
  • Kakinomoto edible chrysanthemums
  • Kanzuri a special seasoning from Myōkō made by leaving chili peppers exposed on snow, then adding flour, salt and yuzu
  • Yasuda yogurt

Niigata in popular cultureedit

  • Snow Country 1947: a novel by Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata set in Yuzawa
  • "Niigata Snow": a track on the LP Aida, released by Derek Bailey in 1980
  • Kura: a film and TV series 1995 based on the 1993 book by Tomiko Miyao, an award-winning period piece about a Niigata family and its sake brewery
  • Blue 1996: a manga about high school girls, set in Niigata City, adapted as a film in 2001
  • Whiteout: an action film based on a novel published in 1995
  • United States of Tara 2011: a comedy-drama series on Showtime; Kate is about to embark on a trip to teach English in Niigata when a flight attendant tells her that the only thing she will hopefully find in Niigata is "a life lesson and a bullet train back to Tokyo"

Tourism and sportsedit

Naeba ski resort in Yuzawa

Much of the tourism in Niigata centers around skiing, especially in the alpine areas of Myōkō and Yuzawa, and going to onsen Sado Island off the west coast of Niigata is accessible via ferry taking one to two and a half hours from Naoetsu or Niigata City

Professional sports clubs include Albirex Niigata, a J-League Division 1 Soccer Club, and Niigata Albirex BB, a BJ Basketball Japan League team


  • Tokamachi Snow Festival- February
  • Murakami Taisai – July 6–7
  • Iwafune Taisai – October 18–19, in Murakami
  • Niigata Festival – August
  • Niigata General Dancing Event -September 21–25
  • Shirone Kite Festival – June
  • Sanjo Kite Festival – June
  • Nagaoka Festival with fireworks – August
  • Niigata Tanrei Sake-no-Jin - March
  • Echigo-Tsumari Festival - August and September every third year6



  • Niigata University
  • Niigata University of International and Information Studies
  • Niigata Sangyo University Niigata Industrial University
  • Niigata University of Health and Welfare
  • Niigata University of Pharmacy and Applied Life Sciences
  • Niigata Institute of Technology
  • Niigata University of Management
  • Niigata College of Nursing
  • Nippon Dental University
  • Nagaoka University
  • Nagaoka University of Technology
  • Nagaoka Institute of Design
  • International University of Japan
  • Keiwa Gakuen University



  • JR East
    • Jōetsu Shinkansen
    • Hokuriku Shinkansen
    • Shin'etsu Line
    • Hakushin Line
    • Yahiko Line
    • Echigo Line
    • Jōetsu Line
    • Uetsu Line
    • Ban'etsu West Line
    • Tadami Line
    • Iiyama Line
    • Yonesaka Line
  • JR West
    • Hokuriku Shinkansen
    • Ōito Line
  • Hokuetsu Express Hokuhoku Line
  • Echigo Tokimeki Railway
    • Myōkō Haneuma Line
    • Nihonkai Hisui Line



  • Kanetsu Expressway
  • Jōshinetsu Expressway
  • Hokuriku Expressway
  • Ban-etsu Expressway
  • Nihonkai Tōhoku Expressway

National highwaysedit

  • Route 7 Niigata—Shibata—Murakami—Sakata—Akita—Noshiro—Hirosaki—Aomori
  • Route 8 Niigata—Nagaoka—Kashiwazaki—Jōetsu—Toyama—Kanazawa—Tsuruga—Kyoto
  • Route 17 Nagaoka—Ojiya—Minamiuonuma—Takasaki—Nihonbashi of Tokyo
  • Route 18 Jōetsu—Myōkō—Nagano—Karuizawa—Takasaki
  • Route 49 Niigata—Aizuwakamatsu—Kōriyama—Iwaki
  • Route 113 Niigata—Arakawa—Nan'yō—Shiroishi—Sōma
  • Route 116 Niigata—Tsubame—Izumozaki—Kashiwazaki
  • Route 117 Ojiya—Tōkamachi—Iiyama
  • Route 148 Itoigawa—Ōmachi
  • Route 252
  • Route 253
  • Route 289
  • Route 290
  • Route 291
  • Route 292
  • Route 345
  • Route 350 Sado Island
  • Route 351
  • Route 352
  • Route 353
  • Route 402
  • Route 403
  • Route 404
  • Route 405
  • Route 459
  • Route 460


  • Niigata Port – Ferry route to Sado Island, Tsuruga, Akita, Otaru and Tomakomai, with International Container hub port
  • Ryotsu Port – Ferry route to Niigata
  • Ogi Port
  • Naoetsu Port


  • Niigata Airport
  • Sado Airport

Notable individualsedit

Politics and militaryedit

  • Masako, Crown Princess of Japan, former registered domicile Honseki was Murakami
  • Uesugi Kenshin 1530–1578, daimyo in the Sengoku period
  • Naoe Kanetsugu 1559–1620, samurai in the Sengoku period
  • Horibe Yasubei 1670–1703, samurai in the Edo period
  • Hachirō Arita 1884–1965, foreign minister, from Sado Island
  • Maejima Hisoka 1835–1919, founder of the Japanese postal service, from joetsu
  • Masuda Takashi1848–1938, creation of a general trading company, Mitsui Bussan established a newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun from Sado
  • Kita Ikki 1883–1937, nationalist author and intellectual, from Sado Island
  • Sakae Ōsugi1885-1923, anarchist, lived in Shibata
  • Honma Masaharu 1887–1946World War II lieutenant-general executed by the United States by war crimes committed in the Philippines
  • Hitoshi Imamura 1886–1968 World War II General in the Imperial Japanese Army, from Shibata highschool
  • Isoroku Yamamoto 1884–1943, commander of the Japanese Imperial Navy, from Nagaoka
  • Chiang Kai-shek 1887-1975, Chinese political and military leader, served in the Imperial Japanese Army from 1909 to 1911 in Joetsu Takada
  • Ba Maw 1893-1977, Burmese political leader, active during the interwar and World War II, lived in Minamiuonuma Ichiuchi
  • Kakuei Tanaka 1918–1993, prime minister, from Kashiwazaki
  • Hisashi Owada born 1932, diplomat and father of Crown Princess Masako, from Shibata
  • Makiko Tanaka born 1944, first female foreign minister, from Kashiwazaki

Arts and cultureedit

  • Zeami Motokiyo1363– 1443, aesthetician, actor, and playwright,exile to Sado Island
  • Ryōkan 1758–1831, Zen Buddhist monk and poet, from Izumozaki
  • Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto, 1874–1950, autobiographer and novelist, Professor of literature and taught Japanese language, culture and history at Columbia University, from Nagaoka
  • Yaichi Aizu 1881–1956, poet, calligrapher and historian, from Niigata City
  • Kokei Kobayashi 1883–1957, Nihonga painter,from Joetsu
  • Mimei Ogawa 1882–1961, author of short stories, children's stories, and fairy tales, from Joetsu
  • Koganei Yoshikiyo 1859–1944, anatomist and anthropologist, from Nagaoka
  • Kyusaku Ogino 1882-1975, doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, Niigata Takeyama Hospital
  • Kinichiro Sakaguchi1897 – 1994, agricultural chemist and microbiologist, from Joetsu
  • Tetsuji Morohashi1883– 1982 chief editor of the Dai Kan-Wa jiten, a comprehensive dictionary of Chinese characters, from Sanjo
  • Tetsuo Harada born 1949 Niitsu-shi, sculptor working in Paris France
  • Tsuchida Bakusen 1887–1936, Japanese painter, from Sado
  • Fubō Hayashi 1900–1935, novelist from Sado Island
  • Inoue Enryō 1858–1919, Buddhist philosopher, from Nagaoka
  • Junzaburō Nishiwaki 1894–1982, Japanese poet and literary critic,from Ojiya
  • Daigaku Horiguchi 1892-1981, poet and translator of French literature, from Nagaoka
  • Makoto Aida born 1965, Artist, from Niigata City
  • Donald Keeneborn 1922, Japanese scholar, historian, teacher, writer and translator of Japanese literature, Honorary Citizen of Kashiwazaki
  • Kodo taiko group, Based in Sado

Acter, Actress, singar

  • Ken Watanabe born 1959, stage, TV and film actor, from Niigata
  • Princess Tenko born 1959, magician, from Joetsu
  • Mina Fujii born 1998, actress
  • Mikie Hara born 1987, gravure idol and actress, from Murakami
  • Fumika Baba born 1995, actress and model,from Niigata City
  • Maya Kobayashi born 1979, journalist and newscaster, from Ojiya
  • Mao Kobayashi actress born 1982, newscaster and former actress, from Ojiya
  • Miyuki Koizumi born 1982, Model
  • Kazuyuki Sekiguchi born 1955, bass player for the rock group Southern All Stars, from Agano
  • Makoto Ogawa born 1987, former member of Morning Musume, actor and model, from Kashiwazaki
  • Kusumi Koharu born 1992, former member of Morning Musume, actor and model, from Washima
  • Hitomi Saito born 1981, former singer of leader of Melon Kinenbi , from Niigata City
  • Suneohair born 1971, singer, from Nagaoka
  • Yasuyuki Okamuraborn 1965, from Niigata Higashi High School
  • Double singer,Japanese R&B singer
  • Negicco Based on Niigata City,Niigata
  • NGT48 Based on Niigata City,Niigata

Pop culture, manga, voice actor

  • Yoshifumi Kondō 1950–1998, animator, from Gosen
  • Hiroyuki Yamaga born 1962, anime director and producer, and a founding member of the animation studio Gainax, from Niigata City
  • Daisuke Hirakawa born 1973, voice actor
  • Ryō Hirohashi born 1977, voice actress, from Nagaoka
  • Yoko Ishida born 1973, singer, from Niigata City
  • Rumi Kasahara born 1970, voice actress, from Itoigawa
  • Makoto Kobayashi born 1958, manga artist, from Niigata City
  • Közi born 1972, rock musician
  • Haruo Minami 1923–2001, enka singer, from Nagaoka
  • Hitomi Nabatame born 1976, voice actress, from Sado Island
  • Tatsuyuki Nagai born 1976, anime director
  • Kazuto Nakazawa born 1968, animator
  • Kiriko Nananan born 1972, manga artist, from Tsubame
  • Yukari Nozawa born 1957, actor and voice actor
  • Takeshi Obata born 1969, manga artist, from Niigata City
  • Etsushi Ogawa born 1969, manga artist
  • Ikue Otani born 1965, voice actress, from Kashiwazaki
  • Ango Sakaguchi 1906–1955, novelist and essayist, from Niigata City
  • Daisuke Sakaguchi born 1973, voice actor, from Kashiwazaki
  • Shuichi Shigeno born 1958, manga artist, from Tōkamachi
  • Bin Shimada born 1954, voice actor, from Niigata City
  • Kunio Shimizu born 1936, playwright from Niigata
  • Motoei Shinzawa born 1958, manga artist, from Kashiwazaki
  • Yōko Sōmi born 1965, voice actress
  • Rumiko Takahashi born 1957, manga artist, from Niigata City
  • Kazuya Tsurumaki born 1966, animator, from Gosen
  • Hajime Watanabe born 1957, animator
  • Nobuhiro Watsuki born 1970, manga artist, from Nagaoka
  • Hiroki Yagami born 1967, manga artist, from Kashiwazaki
  • Akiko Yajima born 1967, voice actress, from Kashiwazaki
  • Kimio Yanagisawa born 1948, manga artist, from Gosen
  • Keiko Yokozawa born 1952, voice actress, from Niigata City


  • Shiro Saigo1866 – 1922, Judo, lived in agaTsugawa, lived in1869-1882
  • Haguroyama Masaji 1914–1969, sumo wrestler from Nakanokuchi who was yokozuna for 12 years and three months; an all-time record
  • Shohei Baba 1938–1999, professional wrestler, from Sanjō
  • Sawao Kato born 1946, winner of 12 Olympic medals in gymnastics
  • Killer Khan born 1947, professional wrestler, from Tsubame
  • Ayumu Hirano born 1998, snowboarder, from Murakami
  • Ayana Onozuka born 1988, freestyle skier, from Minamiuonuma
  • Kentaro Minagawa born 1977, alpine skier, from Yuzawa
  • Junko Hoshino born 1989, freestyle skier, from Nagaoka
  • Reruhi Shimizu born 1993, ski jumper, from Myoko
  • Mai Nakamura born 1979,swimer, from Nagaoka
  • Gōtoku Sakai born 1991,footballer2015– Hamburger SV, from Sanjo
  • Yujiro Takahashi born 1981, professional wrestler from Niigata City

See alsoedit

  • Niigata Minamata disease


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric 2005 "Niigata-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p 711, p 711, at Google Books
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Niigata" at p 711, p 711, at Google Books
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p 780, p 780, at Google Books
  4. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" PDF Ministry of the Environment 1 April 2014 Retrieved 14 February 2015 
  5. ^ "Japanese Anti-nuclear Candidate Wins Election at Site of World's Biggest Atomic Power Station" The Guardian Reuters 17 October 2016 Retrieved 17 October 2016 
  6. ^ http://wwwechigo-tsumarijp/eng/about/triennale_2015/


  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth 2005 Japan encyclopedia Cambridge: Harvard University Press ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128

External linksedit

  • Official Niigata Prefecture website requires Macromedia Flash plugin
  • Niigata JET Japan Education and Teaching Programme Website
  • Enjoy Niigata Niigata prefecture tourism guide

Coordinates: 37°37′N 138°52′E / 37617°N 138867°E / 37617; 138867

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