by Buddy Lindsey


Note/Disclaimer: This is a post that is meant to give a quick overview of some of Niigata and not full detail of everything. Niigata is much like a state in the US with a rich past, present, and future to come. I can’t possibly cover everything and getting the tip of everything would be a book.

Name: Niigata
Island: Honshū
Population: 2,444,108
Capital: Niigata
Major Cities: Agano, Gosen, Itoigawa, Jōetsu, Kamo, Kashiwazaki, Minamiuonuma, Mitsuke, Murakami, Myōkō, Nagaoka, Ojiya, Sado, Sanjō, Shibata, Tainai, Tōkamachi, Tsubame, Uonuma


People have inhabited the Niigata area since the Jōmon period. Niigata prefecture was originally Echigo Province and Sado Province until the Meiji Restoration after the Han System was done away with and the two combined or merged as is the common terminology. A fortress was built in the area in AD 647; however, the area did not rise in importance until the 16th century when a port was built there.  The city of Niigata is the most important city currently situated on the Sea of Japan. Trade with Russia and Korea was done through this port and was one of the first Sea of Japan ports opened to foreign trade. Niigata prospered as a port town and became one of the five ports that were open for international trade in the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1868.In 1965 the Agano River running through Niigata was polluted with methylmercury from the chemical plant of the Showa Electrical Company. Upwards of 690 people exhibited symptoms of Minamata disease and the outbreak became known as Niigata Minamata disease.


The primary and historically most important source of income in Niigata Prefecture is rice farming, with Niigata as the second ranking producer after Hokkaido of rice in Japan. Other rice industries including the sake, arare, senbei, and mocha industries are well known in Niigata, with Niigata sake ranking third in the country for production after Kyoto and Gunma. Additionally, Koi were originated in Niigata and are still bred and sold from here.

In addition agricultural industry, Niigata is well known for its crude oil sources, with multiple companies that produce kerosene heaters here as well. Metal manufacturing is also prominent with Tsubame and Sanjo especially providing a lot of the silverware used in Japan, along with wrenches and scissors.


There is a lot of humidity in the winter that helps to bring good snow and is probably why it is the first place to have skiing in Japan. On the downside during the summer it gets hotter than other parts of Japan and the humidity just makes it feed worse.

Average annual Temperature is 14.7 C
Average High Temp 30.2
Average Low Temp 0.0

Interesting Facts

In 1885, Niigata was the most populous prefecture, beating out even Tokyo and Osaka prefecture. However, according to the 2003 census Niigata ranks as the 14th most populous.
Joetsu is the home to Japan’s first vineyard.
Nagaoka was home to the first drive-through restaurant in Japan.
Shirone in Niigata City was the first place to grow Western pears in Japan.
Joetsu is the original birthplace of the Japanese postal service.
Snow skiing was first introduced into Japan in the Joetsu region.
In July 2007, another earthquake, measuring 6.9 on Richter scale rocked Niigata prefecture

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