Niigata Prefecture can be found bordering the Sea of Japan, on the Western side of Honshu. It covers a massive 240km of beautiful coastline, and it includes Sado Island. The island itself is also populated, and it has two incredible sets of parallel mountain ranges.
Most of the tourists that visit Niigata Prefecture do so for the winter sports environment, especially in the areas with higher altitudes, such as Myoko and Yuzawa. It is also one of the Prefectures that makes up Japan’s ‘snow country’, meaning that large amounts of snow fall there on a yearly basis.
Yahiko Village in central Niigata Prefecture is considered to be one of the most sacred areas in Japan. The village itself is now renowned for the rice that it produces, as well as the production of edamame, shiitake mushrooms, and sake. It is believed that a god helped establish regional Echigo agriculture in the village. Accessing the top of Mount Yahiko is relatively easy, as there is a ropeway for people who are unable to hike to the top of the mountain.
Sado Island itself is also a commonly frequented tourist destination, as it offers nature, history, and a wide variety of performing arts. Locals also participate in scuba diving regularly, but you could also go paddling in a traditional tub boat. If you are interested in Noh Theatre, then the island should definitely be on your itinerary. It is famous for the art form, and performances are held frequently throughout the middle of the year.
If you would like to learn more about the history of Sado Island, then you should visit the Sado History Museum. It has a variety of documents and artifacts on display.
While you are in Niigata Prefecture you should make sure that you eat Noppei Jiru, or Noppei Soup, a dish that the Prefecture is famous for. It is made out of leftover vegetable parts, and it is frequently eaten at festivals and Buddhist ceremonies.