How to go from Niigata to Tokyo ?
With the Joetsu Shinkansen
The fastest way of returning to Tokyo from Niigata is by Joetsu Shinkansen and takes around 1h40.
The fastest way of returning to Tokyo from Niigata is by Joetsu Shinkansen, the route described below. If you have more time and are prepared to change trains, you could consider the local Banetsu-sei Line that runs inland from Niigata, via Mikawa, and the castle town of Aizu Wakamatsu, to Koriyama on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line.
A famous character train will ride you from Takada Station to Tokamachi Station : the Koshino Shu*Kura.
0 KM - Niigata station
63 KM - 0H22 - Nagaoka station
The Nagaoka Fireworks are the most spectacular of three outstanding firework shows in Niigata Prefecture. They take place from August 2nd to 3rd, along the Shinano River which is located a 20-minute walk from Nagaoka Station.
105 KM - 0H35 - Urasa station
Urasa station is a major hub of Niigata Prefecture. Urasa is also home to enthusiasts of the local naked festival.
134KM - 0H43 - Echigo-Yuzawa station
Yuzawa is one of the largest and the most easily accessed ski areas from Tokyo. Yuzawa is known for deep powder and a long season, with some of its resorts open from mid-November to late May. The Genbi shinkansen from Niigata stops here.
228 KM - 1H17 -Takasaki station
The capital of the daruma doll, a good luck charm representing a famous Zen monk. Daruma dolls are traditionally bought at the beginning of each new year without pupils painted on. A wish is then made and one of the doll’s pupils is painted on. If the wish comes true, the second pupil is also added and the doll is returned to the temple or shrine at the end of the year to be burnt.
In Takasaki, you can take a steam train to explore the Gunma Prefecture.
303 KM - 1H21 - Omiya station
Change here for the local Tobu Noda Line and hop off at Toro Station if you want to visit the Omiya Bonsai Village in Saitama City. This tranquil neighborhood, two train station north of Omiya Station, is home to multiple bonsai nurseries and to a superb bonsai art museum. They welcome walk-in visitors, but do not allow photography. They sell a wide selection of bonsai as well as relevant gardening tools. Nursery owners are generally happy to answer questions and appreciate any interest shown in bonsai. Free, closed on Thursdays.
330 KM - 1H41 - Ueno station
Stop here for a stroll in Ueno Koen, a large public park just next to Ueno Station in central Tokyo. Ueno Park is one of Tokyo’s most popular and lively cherry blossom spots with more than 1 000 cherry trees lining its central pathway.
334 KM -1H47 - Tokyo station
What to see ?
Hoppo Bunka Keikan
Sixty-five rooms, five tea houses, a special art gallery and beautiful gardens; this mansion on the banks of the Agano River is now a museum open to all. The museum is a 40-minute bus ride from Niigata Station, but the traditional garden and the artistically arranged landscape of the garden are worth the trip.
Apr.-Nov. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec.-Mar. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Banetsu West Line
What about having a taste of time travel on the Banetsu West Line? This railway line, operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), runs between Koriyama Station and Niitsu Station in Niigata. The line’s nickname is the Mori to Mizu to Roman no Tetsudo, meaning ‘the water, forest, and nostalgia railway’. Why? Because an old steam locomotive operates between the town of Niitsu and Aizu-Wakamatsu. All seats are reserved so you need to book in advance at any JR travel agency (free if you have the JR Pass). Tickets go on sale one month in advance and are often sold out within a day.
Where to stay ?
Chisun Hotel & Conference Center Niigata チサン ホ テル ＆ コンファレンスセンター 新潟
The best location, directly connected to JR Niigata station.
1-1 Sasaguchi, Chuo-ku, Niigata, 950-0911
Tel: 02 5284 2711/ Click here to visit the website
Where to eat ?
An izakaya praised for its simple and delicious food as well as its wonderful ambiance. Only 2 minutes from the station! From the north exit of the station, turn right onto the main road. Ikanosumi is on the left, past a Lawson store and across the street from Niigata Daiichi Hotel. Open daily, 5 p.m. to midnight.
Tel : 02-5242-0510
Ichigo-ichie Juro 越後一会十郎
This restaurant serves Niigata’s most well-known foods: its tasty rice, fresh fish, and delicious sake. From the station’s Mandai exit, head straight up the main road and turn left at the first traffic light. Take the first right, and the restaurant will be on your right.
Open daily, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Tel : 02-5247-5106/http://www.ideal-co.jp/jyurou.html