Niigata

Restaurant Guide in Niigata

Niigata prefecture is situated on the Sea of Japan’s coast in Honshu (the main island of Japan). Its north side is called “Joetsu,” the central area that includes the city of Nagaoka is called “Chuetsu,” and the southern part with the city of Niigata, where the prefectural office is located, is called “Kaetsu.” Sado Island, which is known as the habitat for

the Japanese crested ibis that is designated as a special natural treasure, is part of Niigata prefecture. The mountainous region is known to be one of the heaviest snowfall areas in the world, and there are many ski resorts such as Naeba and Myoko kogen where visitors can also enjoy hot springs. Rice farming has been flourishing in the flat land area with the highest production output in Japan for Koshihikari brand rice. Niigata is especially famous as a production region for the highest brand rice, Koshikari rice of Uonuma. Also, processed foods using rice, like rice rich biscuits and crackers as well as local sake brewed from high quality rice are also well-known. Fishing is also thriving, and visitors can taste the highly craved “rosy seabass” here. As for manufacturing industries, the cities of Tsubame and Sanjo produce 90 percent of the domestic share for metal tableware, and automobile and motorcycles manufacturing in the city of Nagaoka also occupies 90 percent of the domestic production share. Niigata is also well-known for textile and fabric industries. Niigata boasts the largest production output of knitted textiles but is also known for traditional hand-crafted textiles such as shiozawa tsumugi silk and ojiya chijimi hemp cloth, both of which are designated as intangible cultural assets. As for food, hegisoba is Niigata’s local specialty, which was invented in Uonuma region. Unlike other types of soba, seaweed called funori is used to keep the dough together. There is also a western style yakisoba (fried noodles) with a sauce called “Italian.” It was invented by a coffee shop owner and began to spread locally in the 1960's. This local specialty has penetrated so deeply into local people's lives that it is called the soul food of Niigawa residents.

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