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Joetsu-Myoko and the neighboring Hokushin area are blessed with plenty of nature, historical areas, and fun tourist attractions.
* Slide 4: Courtesy of JR East Niigata Branch Office * Slide 9: Courtesy of Joetsu Tourism Convention Association
Sakura (cherry blossoms) are iconic to Japan and are loved by people around the world. 30 minutes by car from LOTTE ARAI RESORT is Takada Park, which is home to approximately 4,000 cherry blossom trees.
The Takada Castle Park Sakura Festival is held in early April. People from all over Japan as well as the world come to Takada to enjoy and relax under the blossoms. Its main attraction is how the trees are lit up at night, and is one of Japan's three biggest night cherry blossom viewing events.
In addition, the flowers don’t stop after spring. In the summer, gorgeous pink lotus flowers fill the outer moat surrounding the castle. It is a sight you don’t want to miss.
The Echigo Tokimeki Resort “Setsugekka" is a resort train that runs through the Joetsu region of Niigata Prefecture. Enjoy the view of both sea and mountains with just one train ride. Alongside the scenery, you can indulge in both fresh seafood and mountain vegetables.
*For details, inquiries, or reservations regarding “Setsugekka” , please visit the website below.
Takada is a historical castle town, where many elements of its past still remain today. The town houses with the “gangi” (roofed footpaths) are a particular feature to areas such as Joetsu which experience heavy snowfall.
You can visit various shops selling traditional goods as well as visit Japan’s oldest active cinema. There are also many bars and restaurants to be enjoyed.
Across the railroad tracks, west of the entertainment district is Teramachi, where more than 60 old temples gather.
In addition to LOTTE ARAI RESORT own Hoshizora Onsen, there are many other famous hot springs scattered around Myoko. Each hot spring has a unique charm with facilities differing in terms of spring qualities, washing facilities and the design of the hot spring baths.
There are also many natural open-air baths full of ambience, where you can enjoy the untainted mineral waters fresh from the earth.
The neighboring northern part of Nagano Prefecture is also a city full of history and culture that is easily accessible from the hotel.
Nagano is also home to a diverse history of historical figures and religion. Shuinshu Zenkoji temple is one of the most important temples in Japan, and stores the first Amitabha Nyorai Buddhist statue ever to be brought into Japan Then there is the town of Obuse, once home to the famous ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai. Lastly there is also the Nozawa Onsen town that still retains a traditional atmosphere of old Japan. There are so many spots that you will want to see.
A winery that has lasted about 130 years since its establishment, founded by Zenbei Kawakami in 1890 (Meiji 23), who put to hoe in his own garden to create the vineyard. In addition to shopping and tasting, you can also visit the oldest existing wine brewery in Japan and how they use a snow room to control the temperature of the wine during the fermentation process; a technique unique to the Snow Country of Joetsu.
Ukiyo is a long-established restaurant that boasts a magnificent Shoin construction that dates back to the end of the Edo period. It is also designated as a Historical Tangible Cultural Property registered by the country and plays a longstanding role in the history of the castle town of Joetsu-Takada. In Ukiyo, you can enjoy a relaxing traditional meal while feeling the history of the quaint building. Each room has its own unique decorations and garden view. As such, it is truly worth a visit.
Opened in 2018 and about 40 minutes by car from the hotel, Umigatari is a popular aquarium that was built to mimic ecosystems within the Sea of Japan with many fun interactable facilities. It is also home to an entertaining dolphin show, and charming penguins.
After enjoying the aquarium, it is also recommended to take a walk on the beach that spreads out in front of the aquarium.
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.
About an hour drive from the hotel you can reach Jigokudani Yaen-Koen, also known as the Monkey Onsen. Here you can meet wild Japanese macaque monkeys whom, during the winter months, immerse themselves in the wild natural hot springs.
It is very popular location with foreign tourists, and was voted as the Most Visited Place in Japan. If you do not have a car you can still reach the onsen via public transportation.
Between April and November, Kurobe Gorge in Toyama Prefecture is a spot not to be missed.
Kurobe is the largest Gorge in Japan and has is very own Railway cutting though the beautiful landscape. While relaxing on quaint trolley train you can enjoy the overwhelming nature, the dazzling deep valley, and the marvel at the feats of ancestors who cut through the valley.
It takes about an hour and a half to reach Unazuki Onsen by using the Hokuriku Expressway. From hear you can easily walk to the Gorge Railway station.
It actually works. You can ride it. You can see it. This is a railroad theme park at Naoetsu Station, the birthplace of Niigata Prefecture's railroad system. Everyone from the elderly to small children can enjoy the nostalgia of the old days.
KOSHINO Shu*Kura is a sightseeing train operated by JR-EAST. This train is based on the concept of "sake," the pride of Niigata, the local sake kingdom. You can enjoy sake while looking out at the sea.