If you take the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo, you can reach Niigata City in Niigata Prefecture in as little as an hour and a half.
In addition to historical buildings, this is a town where Niigata specialties such as sake and the Kagai culture of Furumachi are gathered. In this article, we'll introduce tips and hacks for your next trip to Niigata, such as the means of transportation from Tokyo to Niigata City, as well as a model course for exploring the city in 2 days and 1 night!
How to get from Tokyo to Niigata? Shinkansen VS Highway Bus
Niigata City is the gateway to sightseeing in Niigata, where Niigata Airport and Shinkansen terminal station Niigata Station is located. There are two main means of public transportation from Tokyo to Niigata Station: Shinkansen and highway buses. Choose the best method according to your departure place and budget!
*The posted information is as of April 2023.
|Boarding place||JR Tokyo Station, JR Ueno Station|
① Arrive and depart from various locations in Tokyo such as JR Ikebukuro Station and Shinjuku Bus Terminal (Niigata Kotsu, Seibu Bus, Echigo Kotsu)
② Arrive and depart at Haneda Airport Garden adjacent to Haneda Airport (Sakura Kotsu)
|Travel time||1 hour 29 minutes at the shortest|
*Depending on the train, some may take around 2 hours.
① [Daytime] 5 hours 17 minutes to 5 hours 47 minutes
② [Night bus] 7 hours 20 minutes
[Unreserved seat regular price] 10,230 yen💡
① [General] 3,200 yen to 7,900 yen
② [General] Starting from 2,500 yen
* Fares vary depending on the season, date of service, and bus used.
If you plan to take the Shinkansen, be sure to purchase the railway pass exclusive to foreign visitors to Japan - the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) (adult: 18,000 yen, child: 9,000 yen). You can ride trains and Shinkansen trains in multiple target areas, including the Joetsu Shinkansen, for five consecutive days (please check the official website for available railway companies and routes). It's a great deal because just by making a round trip from Tokyo to Niigata, you are already using for more value than its price!
Recommended spots in Niigata City for an efficient visit! A 2-day 1-night model course
There are many spots in Niigata City where you can fully enjoy the scenery, history, and food culture. From here, we'll introduce a model course of spots that can be visited on foot or by the Niigata City Loop Bus starting from JR Niigata Station!
👣Walk 🚌Niigata City Loop Bus
DAY 1 START @ JR Niigata Station
↓👣about 15 minutes or 🚌about 4 minutes + 👣 about 7 minutes
Spot.1 Bandai Bridge
↓👣about 5 minutes + 🚌about 15 minutes
Spot.2 Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai (Sea of Japan)
↓🚌about 24 minutes + 👣about 12 minutes
Spot.3 Befco Bakauke Observation Room
GOAL @ Accommodation in Niigata City
DAY 2 START @ Around JR Niigata Station
↓🚌about 29 minutes
Spot.4 Kagai - Furumachi
↓🚌about 24 minutes
Spot.5 Ponshukan Marketplace (Niigata Main Store)
GOAL @ JR Niigata Station
Niigata City Loop Bus
- [One ride] 210 yen for adults, 110 yen for children
- [One-day ticket 💡] 500 yen for adults, 250 yen for children
- One-day ticket sales locations: loop buses, Niigata Transportation Information Center in front of Niigata Station, etc.
- Closed: December 28th to January 3rd
The 1-day pass not only allows you to get on and off as much as you want for the day, but you can also receive admission ticket discounts and other services by presenting the ticket at participating facilities and shops. You can save a lot just by having the ticket.
Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 1: Bandai Bridge
Bandai Bridge is a 15-minute walk from JR Niigata Station and spans the Shinano River, the longest river in Japan.
Completed in 1929 and designated as a national Important Cultural Property in 2004, it is a landmark of Niigata City. The arch bridge with a total length of 306.9m has six arches of different sizes and is constructed with approximately 9,000 granite stones. Let's view the city from the well-maintained sidewalk on the bridge.
Depending on the time of day, you can enjoy various spectacular views, such as the sun setting over the Sea of Japan and the glittering lights at night.
Bandai Bridge (萬代橋 / Bandai-bashi)
- Address: Chuo-ku, Niigata City
- Access: About 15 minutes on foot from JR Niigata Station, or about 8 minutes on foot from "Bandai City" bus stop
Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 2: Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai
After lunch, let's take thea bus to the Sea of Japan side.
Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai, built along the coast, is an aquarium where you can meet about 600 species and 30,000 creatures. Among them, the daily dolphin show is the most popular!
In the Marine Tunnel that passes under an aquarium tank, you can feel as if you are taking a walk inside the sea.
Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai (新潟市水族館マリンピア日本海)
- Address: 5932-445 Nishifunami-cho, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
- Opening hours: 9:00 - 17:00
- Closed: December 29th to January 1st, the first Thursday in March and the following day
- Fee: 1,500 yen for adults, 600 yen for elementary and junior high school students, 200 yen for toddlers, free for infants
- Access: Short walk from Suizokukan-mae bus stop
- Official site: https://www.marinepia.or.jp/mlg/en/
Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 3: Befco Bakauke Observation Room (Toki Messe 31F)
After dinner, head to Befco Bakauke Observation Room and immerse yourself in the night view of the cityscape and the Sea of Japan!
From the observatory, which is about 125 meters above the ground, you can enjoy a night view that has been selected as one of the "Top 100 Night Views" and "Japan's Night View Heritage", with the Bandai Bridge as the main highlight. The sight of the lights of the city reflecting off the surface of the Shinano River is simply magical. One of the charms is that you can enter for free.
The What's NiiGATA monument near Toki Messe is one of the city's best Instagrammable spots. Taking a commemorative photo that will be a memory of your trip here.
Befco Bakauke Observation Deck (Befcoばかうけ展望室)
- Address: Toki Messe 31F, 5-1 Bandai-jima, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
- Opening hours: 8:00 - 22:00 (Last entry 21:30)
*Fridays 8:00 - 17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
- Access: About 15 minutes on foot from "Bandai City" bus stop
- Official site: https://www.hotelnikkoniigata.jp/observatory/
Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 4: Kagai - Furumachi & The Niigata Saito Villa
On the second day, head to the Kagai - Furumachi area where you can experience the traditional culture of Niigata.
Furumachi once prospered as a Kagai (geisha quarter). Along with Gion in Kyoto and Shimbashi in Tokyo, Furumachi Geigi (geisha) is known as one of "Japan's Top Three Geigi". Many buildings from the late Meiji to early Showa period still remain in the Furumachi area.
If you make a request when making a reservation, the restaurant will arrange a geisha that fits your budget. Watching dances and sitting in the Zashiki tatami rooms while enjoying kaiseki cuisine is exceptional!
If you want to take a walk in a Japanese garden, we recommend the Niigata Saito Villa, which is a national Place of Scenic Beauty within walking distance. The highlights are the strolling garden and modern Japanese architecture on the 4,500-square-meter site.
The Kagai - Furumachi (花街・古町)
- Address: Furumachi, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
- Access: A short walk from the "Furumachi Kagai Iriguchi" bus stop
Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 5: Ponshukan Marketplace (Niigata Main Store)
At the end of the trip, let's enjoy Japanese sake at Ponshukan Marketplace (Niigata Main Store) directly connected to JR Niigata Station. You can buy various specialty products in the store, while enjoying sake from Niigata Prefecture at Kikizake Bansho.
Pay 500 yen at the reception, then drink and compare up to 5 cups of sake from brands such as "Echigozakura" and "Hakkaisan Daiginjo". Simply by inserting a coin and pressing a button, local sake is then poured from the machine.
You can buy sweets, traditional seasonings, soba noodles, rice, and other souvenirs representing Niigata here in one place too, so it's very convenient!
Ponshukan Niigata Main Store (ぽんしゅ館 新潟驛店)
- Address: CoCoLo Niigata West Building 3F, 1-96-47 Hanazono, Chuo-ku, Niigata City
- Business hours: 9:00 - 21:00 (Kikizake Bansho 9:30 - 20:30 *Last entry 20:15)
- Access: Directly connected to JR Niigata Station West Exit ticket gate passageway
- Official site: https://www.ponshukan.com/en/
- *Those under the age of 20 and children cannot enter the Kikizake Bansho.
*Drinking and driving is prohibited, underage drinking is prohibited
Niigata City offers a fulfilling sightseeing experience even if you only have two days and one night. There are still many more places to see in Niigata! Find your favorite from the spots introduced by FUN! JAPAN.
- How to get from Tokyo to Niigata? Shinkansen VS Highway Bus
- Recommended spots in Niigata City for an efficient visit! A 2-day 1-night model course
- Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 1: Bandai Bridge
- Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 2: Niigata City Aquarium Marinepia Nihonkai
- Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 3: Befco Bakauke Observation Room (Toki Messe 31F)
- Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 4: Kagai - Furumachi & The Niigata Saito Villa
- Niigata City Model Course Recommended Spot 5: Ponshukan Marketplace (Niigata Main Store)