"NIIGATA CITY" Top 5 Page for this destination Niigata by KevinMichael

Niigata Travel Guide: 150 reviews and 348 photos

A Nice Place to Live

Niigata City is a relatively nice place to live. I've been living here for almost 20 years and my students often tell me that I know things like a Japanese person does. They have a habit of saying from time to time "Yoku ***eru ne". As it is, in many ways, I have experienced many aspects of Japan that many Japanese haven't. For example, I've eaten a wide variety of strange things in Japan that a number my students are yet to try (live squid, horsemeat, jingus khan, shokuyou gaeru (edible bullfrog) etc.). In Aug of 99, my brother and I climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji and I might add, I'll never do it again. But, I did it. And that's what matters, right.

Niigata has almost everything. It has large movie theaters, lots of shopping malls, excellent restaurants (so many that I'll never be able to visit them all), wonderful people, nice places for walking, the comfort of a small town feeling where people know people but, the advantages of a city in that there is a night life.

Personally, I've participated in a variety of cultural ceremonies and I've been on a range of sports teams: baseball, indoor soccer, Judo, and more. For those interested in sports there are gyms, baseball teams to join, martial arts, skiing, hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, and badminton.

For more information on Niigata go to: External Info from enjoyniigata.com

Foreign Population:
According to the Niigata English Journal as of January 2008,
there are 1,091 North & South Koreans, 1,556 Chinese, 141 Americans,
340 Philippines, 30 Canadians, 88 Brazilians, 961 other foreign nationals, and 2 stateless foreigner residents living in Niigata city. Frankly, I think they're way off on that count as I know quite a few of the Canadians here and I can't imagine I know most of them (as the above information would imply).

The Cherry Blossoms of Niigata

April is a good time to enjoy the cheery blossoms in bloom. At this time, the people of Niigata like to come out and sit along the riverside and drink lots of sake (Nihonshu). It`s a good time to have fun with your friends.

The Cherry Tree (Sakura)
(Sakura no hanna wa. Miwa tasu kagiri.) {Cherry flowers are everywhere you look} So goes the famous koto song written about Japan`s cherry blossoms. The cherry tree is one of Japan`s most celebrated trees. These kind of cherry trees don`t bear the kind of cherries we can eat. So the tree is grown purely for its ornamental value. In Niigata, the cherry trees adorn the Shinano River and many of Niigata`s temples.

Snow Country

Historically known as the snow country, one of Niigata's key attractions is for winter sports activities. Niigata Prefecture is known as one of the best locations in Japan for skiing and snowboarding and the like. In Niigata city, we get snow some years but, not as much as we used to.

But, then again we had a ton of it 2 years ago and enough this year, too.

NEW NEWS about my Niigata site:
My Niigata's Restaurant review section is now up-to-date.*

Those restaurants that were once famous but are now OUT OF BUSINESS are still on the site for others who once frequented them or for those former expats who've gone home and may wonder what is going on now in Niigata.

Niigata now has a significant number of American fast food restaurants compared to when I first arrived some 20 years ago. Those are included in my restaurant section as some Americans/Canadians like knowing there is something here from back home. I would even argue for those who come to Japan from abroad, Japan might be easiest for Americans/Canadians to acclamate to since so much of what we are familiar with from home is here (American restaurants/English books and magazines/American videos and thanks to the internet... getting homesick is a little harder for us to do).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Excellent food, natural beautiful countryside, beautiful people, and low crime
  • Cons:Japan`s worst drivers are said to be found here.
  • In a nutshell:It's a much better place to live in than Tokyo,... says me.
  • Last visit to Niigata: Jan 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (104)

Comments (21)

  • salisbury3933's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Nice page. Tons of info for visitors to what is a pretty good city to visit.

  • Apr 23, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Hello Kevin!!! I`m living in Kamo (Niigata). I played in Russia famous team "Star". But now i stadying in Niigata Keieidaigaku. I want to play in Japan team. If it possible, say it to me please!!!))) My phone 08041824244 (Alex) Thank you!!!)))

  • Dec 27, 2009 at 2:11 AM

    I know you posted this in 2002, so just to clarify for the tourists, that Russian Mura (Village) has been closed for quite a few years. Buildings are still there. The Mastodon maybe starting to smell a bit..

  • Jun 23, 2009 at 10:57 PM

    HI!, I have lived in California for 32 years sincce 1978 and was born , grew up in Niigata. unfortunately, I have not enyoyed Sakura viewing in Niigata since I left there in 1972. Thanks for the beautiful pictures of "Sakura"

  • Florida999's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2009 at 8:25 AM

    Looks like a very nice page to me! Nice photos and great comments :)

  • 1courage's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    A very interesting page about a liveable ultra-clean city and an outstanding natural environment! Great job, Kevin!

  • giampiero6's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2008 at 4:51 PM

    This is an excellent page....I'd just keep doing what you're doing! It's phenomenal!

  • SfumatoPants's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2007 at 12:51 AM

    Keep up the good work. It's good to see some more expats making themslelves known there. Other than my buddy Al, I never seem to run into any other foreigners there, except for what seem to be Russian hookers, and that's not by my choice.

  • Zvrlj's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2006 at 2:50 AM

    Great page! We like your photos very much. Greetings from Kragujevac, Serbia I&V

  • Shanica's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2006 at 6:44 AM

    Michael, I have been reading your comments and profile for a year now. It's great you get to experience life in Japan and share us. I'm planning a trip this coming Sept. to Tokyo and hope to see some of the places you mentioned on your pages.

KevinMichael Lives Here!


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