Recommended Niigata Sightseeing Itinerary 2

Itinerary 2: Murakami Castle Town and Gono-no-Yakata

Located in the northern part of Niigata Prefecture, Murakami Castle Town radiates history and culture and is known for its superb natural scenery. After enjoying a leisurely visit around town on a rental bicycle or on foot, relax at Senami Onsen while enjoying the view of the sun setting over the Sea of Japan. The Northern Culture Museum is in the old Ito family home, a structure typical of Niigata known as a gono,* and has a magnificent garden that can be viewed from the main hall.

*A gono was the home of a wealthy farming family, which lived at the Edo Period. With large landholdings and financial power, such families held great influence over the local area.

Trip Details

Day 1

Tokyo Station

Shinkansen

Joetsu Shinkansen – approximately 2 hours

Joetsu Shinkansen

Joetsu Shinkansen service began in 1982, linking the Pacific seaboard side of Honshu with the coast bordering the Sea of Japan. Departing from Tokyo and traveling past Takasaki, you pass the Echigo and Mikuni Mountain Ranges, which yield a panorama of rice fields before arriving in Niigata, one of the most prominent rice-growing areas of Japan. In 1990, Gala-Yuzawa Station in Niigata Prefecture opened seasonally to provide direct ski resort service, and each winter, the trains are filled with the merry sounds of skiers.

Joetsu Shinkansen
Joetsu Shinkansen

Niigata Station

Trunk Lines

The Inaho limited express or Kirakira Uetsu, approximately 50 minutes

Murakami Station

Bicycle

Rental bicycles – approximately 3 hours

History&Traditions

Machiya (townhouses)

Traditional townhouses remain standing here and there in Murakami, mixed among the newer homes and shops. They are constructed in the architectural style known as "machiya-zukuri." Features of that style can be seen everywhere, and include a tori doma hallway that runs to the back of the house, a tearoom with a traditional fireplace, high ceilings and large black beams and pillars that gleam with a deep luster.

Machiya (townhouses)
Machiya (townhouses)

History&Traditions

Oshagiri Museum

The local museum in Murakami is known as the Oshagiri Museum because three of the floats used in the Murakami Festival, which are known as "Oshagiri," are always on display. The two-story exhibition space includes archival materials, swords, armor and other historical artifacts from the era of the Murakami Domain.

Oshagiri Museum
Oshagiri Museum

History&Traditions Nature

Iyoboya Salmon Museum

"Iyoboya" means "salmon" in the local dialect of Murakami. Located along the Miomote River, the Iyoboya Salmon Museum is the first salmon museum in Japan. In addition to a miniature salmon hatchery, the exhibits include traditional fishing methods and Murakami salmon in an easy-to-understand format. The outdoor salmon park has a beautiful pond, a waterwheel and a grassy park. (An entrance fee is required for the museum.)

Iyoboya Salmon Museum
Iyoboya Salmon Museum

Rental bicycle information

Rental bicycles, convenient for touring the area, are available for a charge. For details, inquire at the Murakami City Tourism Association. (The Murakami City Tourism Association can provide information on where to find the rental bicycles in the city.)

Note: You can also enjoy the Machiya (townhouses) tour on foot.

Murakami Station

Taxi

Taxi or shuttle, approximately 10 minutes

Lodging:
Senami Onsen

Lodging

Senami Onsen

Senami Onsen got its start in 1904 when exploratory oil drilling found hot water. Providing a quantity that is large even for Niigata Prefecture, Senami Onsen boasts a water temperature of approximately 95°C when it comes out of the ground. The best thing about this hot spring is enjoying the wonderful view of the sun setting over the Sea of Japan while relaxing in the hot water. Also enjoy the fresh seafood while there.

Note:Actual scenery may vary.

Senami Onsen
Senami Onsen

Day 2

Senami Onsen

Taxi

Taxi or shuttle, approximately 10 minutes

Murakami Station

Trunk Lines

The Inaho limited express or Kirakira Uetsu, approximately 50 minutes

Kirakira Uetsu

The Kirakira Projection system located on the train provides an introduction to sightseeing places along the train route. While enjoying sake or pleasant conversation, the powerful panoramas of the Sea of Japan make for a memorable trip.
Service interval: Niigata to Sakata in Yamagata Prefecture

Please note the days of operation.

Kirakira Uetsu
Kirakira Uetsu

Niigata Station

Taxi

Taxi – approximately 20 minutes

Northern Culture
Museum

Taxi

Taxi – approximately 20 minutes

History&Traditions

Northern Culture Museum

This museum is housed in a resplendent Japanese-style mansion, the former family residence of the preeminent landowner in the region. Take a peek at the more than 65 rooms where this gono* once lived and stroll around the beautiful Japanese garden. From the cherry blossoms of spring to the richly colored leaves of autumn, you can enjoy nature's splendor year-round.

*A gono was the home of a wealthy farming family, which lived at the Edo Period. With large landholdings and financial power, such families held great influence over the local area.

Seasonal scenery at the Northern Culture Museum
Seasonal scenery at the Northern Culture Museum

Niigata Station

Shinkansen

Joetsu Shinkansen – approximately 2 hours

Tokyo Station

As of August 2016

Shinkansen

Shinkansen

Trunk lines

Trunk lines

Bicycle

Bicycle

Taxi

Taxi

Itinerary Map

Itinerary Map

Timetables and seat reservations

Shinkansen and Limited Express Timetables (Opens in a new window.)

JR East Shinkansen Reservations (Opens in a new window.)