Enjoy-Niigata:::Niigata prefecture tourism guide:::

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Melinda

Damn My Eyes

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

For they are far bigger than my stomach. Unfortunately, that didn't stop me from stuffing my face with everything that came into my line of sight.

I had barely finished reading this week's Talk of the Town in the New Yorker when I realized that I'd already passed through the epic tunnel in Kawabata's contemplative novel Snow Country. So much for savoring the moment, but, before I knew it I was in Yuzawa, a quiet town surrounded by mountains that remain covered in snow until May. It's only 80 minutes away from Tokyo, but it feels a world away.... >> read more...

Onward and Art-ward Ho

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

The train speeds on from Yuzawa north toward Tokamachi. It’s blinding white out, a pristine expanse of snow dotted with buildings done in an approximation of the Tudor style common to ski resort towns. At first glance, this could be somewhere in Northern Europe -- Scandinavia, Switzerland, Austria -- but the gauzy mist rising off the mountains reminds me quickly that we’re still in Japan.... >> read more...

Eye of the Tiger in Niigata

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

My morning yukata is bright blue, covered with pink and white flowers. We arrived in the quaint village of Yahiko after 6:00 yesterday evening, allowing me just enough time to chat with JP and change into slippers before dinner. My room at the Minoya Hotel is small, spare, and charming in a somewhat utilitarian way....>> read more...

Make a Wish

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

The weather in Yahiko yesterday was gloriously warm. After three days in the frozen center of Snow Country, it was nice to be able to walk around without a hat and long underwear. The day began with a tour of Yahiko Jinja, a shirne dedicated to the first emperor. Our guide was a sprightly older  ...>> read more...

The Niigata Hustle

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

Our time in Niigata City was hectic. After our visit to the senbei factory, we rounded out the day with a trip to the Northern Culture Museum, the former residence of the wealthy landowning Itoh family dating from the 1800s. It's a stunning example of traditional Japanese architecture, and, from the looks of things (including but not limited to the 100-tamami-mat wide banquet room, and the special entrance made of 100% keyaki wood), the Itoths were rolling in it. There's also a beautiful garden and a super cool triangular tea house/study, also built in the Japanese style, on the grounds....>> read more...

A Taste of Murakami

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

I'd heard that Murakami was famous for its salmon. Somehow I didn't make the connection between the seaside town in northern Niigata and the succulent Murakami wagyu beef praised by star chefs like Grant Achatz. Nor did I realize that both Miyao Shuzo, producers of the formidable Shimeharitsuru sake,...>> read more...

Quiet Luxury in Shibata

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

My suite at the Tsukioka Onsen resort is a small-scale, modern approximation of the summer homes where samurai once retreated for periods of quiet contemplation. The outer perimeter of the room is a lounge area, equipped with two refrigerators -- one just to chill glasses -- and a small heater to warm oshibori hand towels, with a view of Shibata city and the hotel's carefully manicured garden below...>> read more...

Sake no Jin and One Last Look at Niigata

Mar. 9 ~15, 2010 - Experiencing the Culture of Snowy Regions and Sake Tasting by Melinda

The participants at last week's Niigata Sake no Jin festival could have easily numbered over 80,000 people. As I looked across the crowds, I couldn't help wishing that my sake buddies Etsuko and TedTim,Tony and Robert-Gilles could be there with me. The only thing more fun than going to a monster event like this one is going with friends who are seriously passionate about nihonshu...>> read more...