Experiencing Bits and Pieces of Japan’s History and Culture In Yahiko Village

The Niigata Prefecture of Japan is popular for providing tourists with various activities and attractions to enjoy throughout the year. It is home to stunning coastal views, mountainous terrain, festive celebrations, castle ruins, and temple/shrine grounds, among other interesting sites.

Foreign travelers who want to mix it up and not limit themselves to the usual trip report guides to Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto, can choose to travel to the Chubu Region to relax along the coast of the Sea of Japan.

The prefecture of Niigata is too big to tackle in one go. A good place to start exploring its many attractions is at Yahiko Village, a charming place that has a little bit of everything.

An Overview of Yahiko Village in Niigata, Japan

Yahiko Village, or Yahiko-mura, is situated in the coastal area of the central Niigata Prefecture. The village has an estimated total area of 25 sq. km., which is inhabited by about 8,150 people. It is part of the Nishikanbara District and is surrounded by the municipalities Nagaoka, Tsubame, and Niigata.

Originally, the site now known as Yahiko Village was once part of an ancient province known as the Echigo Province. This province was developed around the Yahiko Jinja Shrine that was built during the 8th century and rebuilt in 1916. The village of Yahiko, along with other municipalities, were only established during the year 1889. It is the only one that has not merged with other towns or cities up to this day.

The village houses two public schools – an elementary school and a middle school. There is no public high school present within the area but fortunately, its residents can easily access other cities through the following transportation systems that pass Yahiko-mura:


    • JR East Yahiko Line


    • Yahikoyama Ropeway

Must-Visit Places in Yahiko Village, Japan


  • Yahiko Park

The Yahiko Park spans over an area of 160,000 sq. m. It features hills, tunnels, mountain streams, waterfalls, and flower gardens that make it particularly stunning during the summer (June – August) and spring (March – May) seasons. There is also a wooden bridge known as the Kangatsukyo Bridge within the vicinity that many visitors take photos at.

Address: Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura 959-0323, Niigata Prefecture

  • Sakura No Yu Onsen

The Sakura No Yu Onsen offers therapeutic hot springs filled with smooth, colorless spring water. According to locals, the onsen can treat various illnesses including muscle pain, diabetes, poor blood circulation, fatigue, skin diseases, and articular pain.

Address: 1970 Fumoto, Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura 959-0318, Niigata Prefecture

Admission Fee: 1,000 yen per person (for adults); 570 yen per person (for children)

Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM daily

  • Mount Yahiko

Mount Yahiko is situated in the western portion of Niigata, near the Sea of Japan’s coastline. At the base of the mountain, Yahiko Village and Yahiko Jinja Shrine can be located.

Tourists may enjoy various mountain trails that offer panoramic views of the area. The routes feature information boards and panels that offer hikers an overview of the region’s history and culture.

Upon reaching the summit, visitors are provided with a stunning view of the Sado Island and Echigo Plains from a panoramic observation tower. The tower can easily be located by looking for a massive cherry blossom tree, about 12 meters tall.

Address: Iwamuro, Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture

  • Yahiko Jinja Shrine

The Yahiko Jina Shrine was established more than a thousand years ago on the sacred mountain of Yahiko, right at the heart of the Sado Yahiko Quasi-National Park. Its entire complex is measured at 13 hectares. Ancient keyaki and cedar trees surround the shrine grounds.

There are smaller shrines within the area that are dedicated to various Shinto gods. The great-grandson of Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess, is enshrined in the main hall of the Yahiko Jinja Shrine. The old Shinto shrine also houses several artifacts such as calligraphy works and weaponry.

Address: 2898 Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura 959-0323, Niigata Prefecture

Food & Drink

  • Bunsuido Snack Shop

The Bunsuido Snack Shop is a popular dessert place in Yahiko Village. Their best-seller is the panda-yaki, which was awarded first place during the 2010 All Japan Sweet Snack Festival. The panda-yaki is best described to be a pancake sandwich with an edamame bean paste filling.

Address: 1041-1 Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura, Niigata Prefecture

Average Price: 130 yen per order

Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM from Thursdays to Tuesdays

  • Yamaboshi

Yamaboshiis a specialty restaurant that offers wappameshi, a traditional Niigata rice dish that is made using thin, round wooden containers known as wappa. Various toppings are available but the salmon wappa, oyster wappa, crab wappa, and salmon roe wappa are highly recommended.

Address: Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura 959-0323, Niigata Prefecture

Average Price: 2,000 yen per order

Hours: 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM & 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM from Wednesdays to Mondays

  • Yayoi

Yayoi is a Japanese bar that sells sake made locally in the Niigata Prefecture. It is located in an old farmhouse that was established more than 200 years ago. Karl Bengs, a German Architect who rebuilds old farmhouses to include modern amenities, designed the building. The bar is a short walk away from the Yahiko Jinja Shrine.

Address: 1239-4 Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura, Niigata Prefecture

Average Price: 3,000 yen per order

Hours: 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM from Mondays to Sundays

  • Yoshidaya

Yoshidaya is a traditional Japanese restaurant that dates back nearly a hundred years ago. They specialize in wappameshi; their best ones being salmon roe wappa and salmon wappa. Their musume ika mechi dish, which makes use of deep-fried minced squid, is also highly recommended.

Address: 941-2 Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura 959-0323, Niigata Prefecture

Average Price: 2,000 yen per order

Hours: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM & 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM from Mondays to Sundays

  • Palet D'or Watanabe

Palet D'or Watanabe offers over thirty kinds of dessert inspired by Japanese and Western cuisines. Their Pudding a la Mode, which is a 10-centimeter wide pudding topped with various fruits, is their best-selling item. It is big enough to be shared with friends.

Address: 7374-1 Yahagi, Nishikanbara-gun, Yahiko-mura, Niigata Prefecture

Average Price: 1,000 yen per order

Hours: 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays

Events and Activities

  • Yahiko Velodrome (April – November)


By Monami - Monami's file, CC 表示-継承 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4936436


The Yahiko Velodrome, or Yahiko Keirinjyo, regularly hosts pari-mutuel betting on Keirin, a motor-paced cycle race that is among the four authorized public sports of Japan that allow gambling. The velodrome has a circumference of 400 meters, which requires racers to take five laps around the course to complete a 2,025-meter race.

  • Chrysanthemum Festival (November)

The Yahiko Jinja Shrine annually hoses the Chrysanthemum Festival in the Yahiko Village. The festival is considered to be the biggest exhibition of flowers, featuring about 4,000 beautiful chrysanthemum flowers in full bloom.

Hotel Options in or near Yahiko Village, Japan

  • APA Hotel Niigata – Higanshinakadori

    Address: 289-2 Higashinakadori, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 2,900 yen

  • Country Hotel Niigata

    Address: 1140-1 Honchodori 6 Bancho, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,200 yen

  • Niigata Station Hotel

    Address: 1-2-10, Benten, Chuo-ku, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,000 yen

  • APA Hotel Niigata-Furumachi

    Address: 1037-1 Higashihoridori 6bancho, Chuo-ku, Niigata City, Niigata

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,000 yen

  • Niigata Keihin Hotel

    Address: 1-3-15 Benten, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,600 yen

  • Court Hotel Niigata

    Address: 2-3-35 Benten, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,600 yen

  • Niigata Daiichi Hotel

    Address: 1-3-12 Hanazono, Chuo-ku, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,700 yen

  • Ramada Hotel Niigata

    Address: 1-2-4 Benten, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,700 yen

  • Terminal Art Inn

    Address: 1-15-1 Sasaguchi, Chuo-ku, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,400 yen

  • Niigata Toei Hotel

    Address: 2-1-6 Benten, Chuo-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata

    Starting Price (1 Adult, 1 Night): 3,700 yen

Other Places and Festivals to Visit Near Yahiko Village

Niigata Prefectural Botanical Gardens

The Niigata Prefectural Botanical Gardens, or Niigata Kenritsu Shokubutsuen, features an arboretum, greenhouses, and large dome, among other facilities. These areas house different kinds of plants, trees, and flowers. The entire botanical garden sits on a 19.8-hectare land and features more than 500 different species. There is also a 15-meter tall waterfall within the large dome-style greenhouse.

Address: 186 Akihaku Kanazu, Niigata 956-0845, Niigata Prefecture

Admission Fee: 600 yen per person (for adults); 300 yen per person (for children)

Hours: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays

Big Swan Stadium

The Big Swan Stadium refers to the Niigata Stadium which can accommodate up to 42,300 people at a time. It was among the stadia used for the 2002 FIFA World Cup and serves as the home ground of Albirex Niigata, a Japanese football club association. 

During the home fixture of Albirex Niigata against Omiya Ardija, the football club association of Saitama, Japan, the stadium was filled with 42,223 fans, which is the highest attendance record of the stadium up to this day. 

Address: 67-12 Seigoro, Niigata, Niigata Prefecture

Senbei Okoku

作者 s.abe (s.abe photo) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) または CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], ウィキメディア・コモンズ経由で

The Senbei Okoku is operated by the Kuriyama Beika Group and allows guests to watch how artisans create senbei (rice crackers). For an additional fee, guests may also make their own senbei. There is also a souvenir shop within the vicinity which sells bakauke, a popular kind of senbei that comes in a thin, banana shape.

Around three thousand rice crackers are produced at Senbei Okoku on a daily basis. Including other facilities under the Kuriyama Beika Group that produce senbei, an estimated total of 4 million crackers is produced per day.

Address: 2661 Niizaki, Kita-ku, Niigata, Niigata Prefecture

Admission Fee: 1,500 yen for extra-large senbei making; 1,800 yen for art senbei making; 1,200 yen for added bakauke flavor

Iwamuro Onsen

The Iwamuro Onsen is believed to help treat illnesses such as fatigue, skin disease, gout, nerve pain, and cold sensitivity. The area is surrounded by various hotels that offer exceptional services and hospitality.

According to locals, the hot spring serves as the birthplace of geishas, Japanese girl entertainers. As such, tourists can expect to see several women clothed in traditional Japanese attire and makeup roaming around the vicinity. 

Address: Iwamuro Onsen, Nishikan-ku, Niigata 953-0104, Niigata Prefecture

Tsukioka Onsen

The Tsukioka Onsen is a popular hot spring that is believed to carry beautifying waters. Supposedly, the sulfur content of the hot spring aids in relieving pain and treating ailments such as rheumatism, nerve pain, and high blood pressure.

Address: 546 Tsukioka, Shibata 959-2334, Niigata Prefecture

Toki Messe

By HIRO (HIRO) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Toki Messe is also known as the Niigata Convention Center. However, it offers more than just conference and exhibition halls. The large complex also features a hotel, an art museum, and office spaces.

It is considered to be the tallest building in the region. Visitors may enjoy stunning panoramic views of Niigata City at the observation deck located on the 31st floor. On clear days, the islands of Awashima and Sado can also be seen from the observation deck.

Address: 6-1 Bandaijima Chuo-ku, Niigata 950-0078, Niigata Prefecture

Niigata Festival

The Niigata Festival spans over a period of three days, usually during the month of August. The festival features several float parades, dance processions with 20,000 participants, and firework displays.

Niigata Comic Market

The Niigata Comic Market, or better known as Gataket, is a bimonthly convention held in Niigata city which focuses on comic books. Each event is attended by 7,000 – 10,000 people. It is considered to be the largest comic market of the region.

Other comic markets associated with the Niigata Comic Market include: 

  • Gataket Special – where cosplay is not allowed

  • Cosplay Gataket – where cosplay is required

  • Gataket & Okaket – a version of the Niigata Comic Market held in Nagaoka

Niigata Manga Competition

The Niigata Manga Competitions, or Niigata Manga Taisho, is an annual contest held in the city of Niigata during the month of September. It started in 1998 and continues to be a unique event in the sense that the local government sponsors the competition. The contest is also sponsored by Niigata Comic Market and Niigata City’s local vocational school known as Japan Animation and Manga College.

Nagaoka Aki Matsuri

The Nagaoka Aki Matsuri is held annually during the autumn season to show gratitude to the gods for a successful harvest and to pray for safety and good health.