Wanting to Discover the Unknown Japan? The Joetsu-Myoko region is located in southern Niigata prefecture, bordering Nagano prefecture to the east. Lying 300 kilometres northwest from Tokyo, Niigata Prefectures face the Japan Sea. Visitors can travel in less than two hours from Tokyo on the new Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) to our station, JoetsuMyoko. Here you can find the best that Japan has to offer – food, skiing, culture, mountains and sea.
Discover the Unknown Japan
Situated in the south of Niigata Prefecture, Joetsu-Myoko is a place to discover the unknown Japan, where nostalgic scenery depicted in songs like Furusato and Oborozukiyo can still be found. Amidst the region’s rich natural landscape, a unique history and culture, sense of tradition and kindness has flourished. With elegant streets lined with temples, deep forests and snowy highlands, plus specialty produce each season, the area is full of charming attractions.
Many rice fields were developed in the area during the Edo Period by the lord based at Takada Castle. Those rice fields still form a large part of the Joetsu-Myoko countryside and produce the famous koshihikari rice. This is regarded as the best rice in all of Japan – and as a result, it’s best sake (rice wine) too. Everywhere visitors can always enjoy fresh vegetables direct from the local fields or the freshest seafood direct from the Japan Sea.
Outdoors & Sightseeing
In spring, 4,000 cherry trees bloom in Takada Park beneath Takada castle where visitors can enjoy hanami. It is one of the most famous areas in Japan for people gather to view cherry blossoms, drink and eat. In summer, the local beaches are popular with people travelling from as far away as Nagano. Joetsu-Myoko is the birthplace of skiing in Japan and you can enjoy winter sports in the Myoko mountains. There are numerous relaxing hot springs in the area plus also plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling and much more!
From ancient times there had been strong provincial government in the area and has been the center of Echigo state politics before the Meiji Reformation. Takada castle was established in early Edo period. In the Sengoku Period in medieval times, Kenshin Uesugi, who was one of Japan’s strongest military commanders, was based in Kasugayama castle. Even after several hundred years, he is still the local hero with locals celebrating his spirit of “gi”, or justice. He now celebrated in the annual Kenshin Festival in Joetsu each summer.
About Joetsu City
In Joetsu one can enjoy beautiful views throughout the four seasons – the Cherry Blossom Viewing Festival attracting over one million people in spring, the Lotus Festival and seaside sunsets in summer, colored leaves in fall, and a blanket of snow in winter. Old townhouses still remain along Gangi-dori, which have been been in place since the Edo period. These were developed by town people for the purpose of securing passages to their properties in the winter season. These Gangi-roof streets are the longest in Japan and have a total length of 16 kilometres. Visit Joetsu and enjoy the many attractions of the four seasons.
About Myoko City & Myoko Kogen
Myoko is a diverse rural city. In the western area (the former Arai City) are the government, cultural and business centres. The eastern most parts (incorporating the former township of Myoko Kogen) are real mountain ski towns, snuggled in at the base of one of Japan’s most beautiful mountains.
In winter it’s not difficult to find the profound silence that comes with the heavy snows. The billowing steam of onsen (hot springs), ready to warm you after a day in the snow. Delicious local soba noodles and sasazushi (a unique style of sushi using local bamboo leaves), as well as other Japanese, Western and Chinese cuisine. Fine saké painstakingly made by local artisan brewers the old-fashioned way. The friendly faces of passers-by, greeting you with a hearty ohayo gozaimasu! Sublime sunrises illuminating Mt. Myoko, the beauty of neighbouring Lake Nojiri, so close it seems that you could reach out and touch it when you’re on the ski slopes; even the Sea of Japan, seen off in the distance from the higher ski runs. Come to the beautiful ski slopes, and let Myoko welcome you with its warm, rustic hospitality.
Getting to JoetsuMyoko
Access to the Joetsu-Myoko region from Tokyo and other major Japanese cities is straightforward. The Hokuriku shinkansen between Tokyo and JoetsuMyoko Station is the most straightforward but you can also ride the rustic trains from Hakuba, Nagano, Nozawa Onsen, Niigata or other places. See here for more details on getting to JoetsuMyoko.
Come and discover the unknown Japan in Joetsu-Myoko!