Niigata is in the North West of Tokyo, along the ocean, 800.000 inhabitants and is a calm prefecture, the area mostly lives from agriculture. It is said that Niigata enjoys the purest water and therefore has the best sake and the best rice in Japan.
I could spend the afternoon with 2 of my colleagues who took the time to show me around and here is what I liked
There is the beautiful Hakusan shrine with a lotus park (hasu in Japanese) around, it reminded me of the south of France when I saw all these pine trees and the blue sky
It was a nice opportunity for me as Hirokawa San took the time to guide me on how to pray at the shrine. Now I know the order between the bows and the claps, the wish and the bow, etc.
What was spectacular was the observatory on the rooftop of the Niigata congress center (up to 3000 people, great site). it gives a view over the city, the access to sea, the river Shinano (longest river in Japan) and in the back Sado Island. so one more thing on my to do list, ferry boats take 2h40mn to reach the island though so not a short trip!
I heard it is a beautiful place and World Heritage will decide this Monday whether the island becomes listed
We finished the day in style with great sashimi and sushis, a lot made of seafood and not only fish, very very good, thank you!!!
Needless to say that along the way, I gathered a few additional new words for my vocabulary.
Did you know that the enblem of the region is the Japanese Ibis bird, named Toki in Japanese, reason why I took the Toki Shinkansen to come to Niigata, now, I will need to investigate the reasons behind every other Shinkansen name!