3 days/2 nights based in Iwamuro Onsen [Base! Tohoku]

Area Map 青森県 岩手県 宮城県 秋田県 山形県 福島県 新潟県

Iwamuro Onsen has been used by many people as a base for worshipping at the Yahiko Shrine, which has been a place of worship since ancient times.

The shrine and its surrounding area offer a variety of seasonal attractions such as autumn leaves, cherry blossoms, fireflies, waterfalls, and mountain streams.

Enjoy the delicious food and sake in Niigata Prefecture, a rice-producing region.

START
Day1

Yahiko Shrine

The most famous sacred site in Niigata

Yahiko Shrine
With a history stretching back 2,400 years, the Yahiko Shrine has been worshipped since ancient times. During the New Year celebrations a quarter of a million visitors come here to pray for good fortune and health for the coming year.
A 10-minute walk from JR Yahiko station takes you to the grove of Yahiko Shrine. As the shrine is popular for its sacred energy and exhilarating scenery, an early morning visit is recommended to fully appreciate its spiritual energy.
There is a unique stone known as a fortune-teller on site. Lift the stone while making a wish and if you feel the stone is light, your wish will come true. If the stone feels heavy however, your wish may not come true. Try it out on your visit for a unique experience!
A further 10-minute walk from the main shrine takes you to the base station of the Yahikoyama Ropeway. Take the ropeway up to the top station to visit Okusha – part of the shrine complex – from which a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed.

Mount Yahiko

A sacred mountain as high as the Tokyo Skytree, suitable for hikers of all abilities

Mount Yahiko
Mount Yahiko rises 634 metres above the ground – as high as the Tokyo Skytree – and is a popular location for hikers of all levels. The walking trail starts 15 minutes’ walk from Yahiko station and it takes about 90 minutes to walk to the top of the mountain. The top is also accessible by the Yahikoyama Ropeway or by car via the Yahikoyama Skyline. The mountain trails are well maintained and an easy walk even for children. The mountain ropeway is also available if you would prefer to climb one-way.
At Yahiko Sancho Park located at the top of Mount Yahiko visitors can enjoy a stunning view of the Echigo Plains and the Sea of Japan from the restaurant or the Panorama Tower featuring a 360° rotating observation room. The night view from here has been selected as one of the 100 most beautiful night views in Japan, the view of the Echigo Plains under the starry night sky is spectacular!
The Okusha of Yahiko Shrine located atop Mount Yahiko has been used to worship Mount Yahiko since ancient times. Breathe the fresh air at this shrine and feel its sacred energy.

Yahikoyama Skyline

Take a pleasant drive to the top of Mount Yahiko!

Yahikoyama Skyline
The Yahikoyama Skyline is a 16.8-kilometre driving route leading up to the top of Mount Yahiko. Take a relaxing drive and enjoy a breath-taking view without breaking into a sweat!
At Yahiko Sancho Park located at the top of Mount Yahiko visitors can enjoy a stunning view of the Echigo Plains and the Sea of Japan from the restaurant or the Panorama Tower featuring a 360° rotating observation room.
The park is a popular location for watching the sunset over the Sea of Japan. The night view from here has been selected as one of the 100 most beautiful night views in Japan, the view of the Echigo Plains under the starry night sky is spectacular!

Iwamuro Onsen

Medicinal spring waters and an atmospheric hot spring town

Iwamuro Onsen
Iwamuro Onsen is quiet retreat from Niigata City and a hot spring area with more than 300 years of history. As a base for visitors to nearby Yahiko Shrine it has been used since ancient times by many visitors. It is also the place of origin for the Echigo Geiko, female performers who would entertain guests in a Japanese tatami parlour room.Iwamuro has also been designated as a national hot spring health resort and the qualities of the spring water have been officially endorsed. The waters with their smell of sulphur and slightly cloudy white appearance further enhance the hot spring experience.Iwamuro is just five minutes by car to the Sea of Japan, and visitors can enjoy the finest seafood and local sake that Niigata has to offer.
Day2

Toyanogata Lagoon

Scenic waters reflecting cherry blossoms in spring and home to swans in winter

Toyanogata Lagoon
Located two kilometres from JR Niigata station, Toyonogata Lagoon is known for its spring time cherry blossoms and a flock of swans that live here during winter. This unusual lagoon located in Niigata’s city centre is perfectly harmonised with the surrounding urban area. Toyonogata Park stretches around the lagoon in two sections: the Meike area and the Shumoku area.
The Meike area features an observation deck, a walking path lined with rows of 2,000 cherry blossom trees and Shirabe-no-Komichi, a strolling path for plant and flower lovers. This is also home to the Niigata prefectural library and the Niigata science museum.
The Shumoku area features a seasonal Japanese garden, a snow camellia garden with a wide variety of flowers and a main square, a popular location for performing artists. Visitors can observe swans flapping their wings and flying overhead from the rooftop of the bird watching hut. The largest number of swans stays here during winter. Come and enjoy this unique Niigata experience!

Roast Your Own Giant Decorated Rice Cracker

Hand-roast your own 25 cm-wide senbei rice cracker

Roast Your Own Giant Decorated Rice Cracker
Kuriyama Beika is the company behind the famous Bakauke brand rice crackers. Here, you can try your hand at hand-roasting your own aromatic senbei. Senbei is a type of cracker made using grain flour.Decorate a giant, 25 cm-wide senbei using soy sauce, then roast it and let it dry. Your handmade senbei will be the only one of its kind in the world. You can put your senbei in a special box to take home.

Bandai Bridge

Niigata's iconic bridge standing majestically over the Shinano River

Bandai Bridge
The Bandai Bridge is a solid stone arch bridge crossing over the Shinano River. Decorations within the granite give the bridge a majestic appearance.
The current bridge is the third incarnation that was reconstructed in 1929 for the city’s modernisation. The Bandai Bridge was designated an Important Cultural Property in July 2004. Following Tokyo’s Nihonbashi Bridge, this was the second bridge on the national highway designated as an Important Cultural Property. The bridge is 306.9 metres long and 22 metres wide and survived the 1964 Niigata Earthquake. It provides an important transportation link for the local citizens.
The bridge has a broad pedestrian walkway and is best viewed from the promenades along the Shinano River. Take a stroll along one of the promenades or board the waterbus to really enjoy the view of this grand bridge!

Hakusan Park

The iconic park of Niigata, the city of clear water

Hakusan Park
Hakusan Park is a Dutch-style promenade garden neighbouring Hakusan Shrine. This beautiful garden with ponds, artificial hills, trees and flowers has been selected as one of Japan’s best 100 city parks. Visitors can enjoy the garden’s seasonal beauty with its springtime cherry blossoms and summer lotus flowers, autumn leaves and snowy winter scenes.
The Air Gardens, located between the Hakusan Park and the Ryutopia (Niigata City Performing Arts Centre), is designed to represent islands in the water. It is a popular cherry blossom viewing location. When the cherry blossoms are at their best, the illuminated gardens are utterly fantastic. The Air Garden is also a popular spot for families with its children’s playgrounds.
The Enkikan, a former merchant house of the Meiji period partly relocated and reconstructed, has been turned into be a community space for learning traditional cultural activities such as tea ceremony. The building is open to the public and visitors can enjoy a cup of matcha tea (300 yen). The stunning lotus pond is definitely worth a visit!

Iwamuro Onsen

Medicinal spring waters and an atmospheric hot spring town

Iwamuro Onsen
Iwamuro Onsen is quiet retreat from Niigata City and a hot spring area with more than 300 years of history. As a base for visitors to nearby Yahiko Shrine it has been used since ancient times by many visitors. It is also the place of origin for the Echigo Geiko, female performers who would entertain guests in a Japanese tatami parlour room.Iwamuro has also been designated as a national hot spring health resort and the qualities of the spring water have been officially endorsed. The waters with their smell of sulphur and slightly cloudy white appearance further enhance the hot spring experience.Iwamuro is just five minutes by car to the Sea of Japan, and visitors can enjoy the finest seafood and local sake that Niigata has to offer.
Day3

Create hammered patterns on a copper beer cup

Come and enjoy metal crafts in Tsubame, a city with a 400-year history in metalworking. Get hands-on craftsmanship experience! Find perfect gifts to bring back from your trip.

Create hammered patterns on a copper beer cup
Tsuiki (hammered) copperware, one of Tsubame City’s traditional metalworking products, is made by hammering a single copper plate with a hammer and raising the edges. At the Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum, you can learn about the copperware production process, and also try creating hammered patterns, one of the steps of making tsuiki copperware.Make your own original beer cup or sake cup by hammering the surface with a hammer to create a hammered pattern. The hammered pattern makes the inside of the beer cup uneven, which leads to better foam and creamy beer! A full range of other hands-on activities are also available.
GOAL
  • Yahiko Shrine
  • Mount Yahiko
  • Yahikoyama Skyline
  • Iwamuro Onsen
  • Toyanogata Lagoon
  • Roast Your Own Giant Decorated Rice Cracker
  • Bandai Bridge
  • Hakusan Park
  • Iwamuro Onsen
  • Create hammered patterns on a copper beer cup

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