Joetsu City is the birthplace of Kenshin Uesugi, a famous warlord.
Kenshin Usugi of Kasugayma, whom inspired the popular manga Character Kenshin Kogane (from the Manga Ronin Kenshin), was known for his many outstanding achievements and how he never went to battle for his own desires.
You can visit many history sights such as Rinsenji Temple upon Kasugayama where Kenshin he spent his childhood. The remnants of his history are still scattered all over Kasugayama, Joetsu as well as other prefectures.
In Nagano Prefecture, 1 hour by car, you can reach Kawanakajima which is famous for the battle of Kenshin vs Shingen Takeda.