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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Flowers, sake, ski resorts and centuries-old ruins on the mountaintop

Joetsu City is known for its culinary delights of sake and rice, but there is more to discover. Takada Park boasts some of the country's finest cherry blossoms, and the castle ruins atop Mt. Kasuga speak of the city's fascinating history.

Don't Miss

  • The evening cherry blossom-viewing festival at Takada Park every April
  • The impressive samurai march at the annual Kenshinko Festival in August
  • Panoramic views of the city from Mt. Kasuga

How to Get There

The Joestu area is best accessed by train or car.

From Tokyo, you can reach Joetsu in two hours via shinkansen. Get off at Joetsumyoko Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, then take the local train (Shinetsu Honsen) to Takada or Naoetsu.

By car, the city is easily accessible by the Joetsu or Joetsu Takada Interchange on the Hokuriku and Joshinetsu Expressways.

Quick Facts

Joetsu was once home to Uesugi Kenshin, one of Japan's most powerful feudal lords

The Nadachi River boasts the highest number of migrating salmon in Niigata

Castle ruins and samurai fights on top of Mt Kasuga

The most important landmark in the area is undoubtedly the castle ruins located high up on Mt. Kasuga. This was once the fortress of Uesugi Kenshin, a powerful 16th century feudal lord, renowned for his fearsome skills in the martial arts. You can visit Uesugi's grave in Rinsen-ji Temple.

After a gentle hike up Mt. Kasuga, you'll reach the top and be rewarded with a panoramic view of Joetsu City.

Head to Kasugayama Shrine near the base of the mountain for some post-hike tranquility.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the city's samurai actors, who hold dramatic sword fights in front of the shrine.

To see hundreds of modern samurai marching as they once did in ancient Japan, be sure to check out the annual Kenshin Festival which is held at Kasuga in late August.

Mystical lunar cherry blossoms and more

Located 15 minutes away from Mt. Kasuga is Takada Par. Over 100,000 visitors flock here every year to see 4,000 cherry blossoms bloom under magical pink and purple lights from early to mid-April.

In summer, the lake of Takada Park is covered in bright green and pink lotus flowers, a perfect excuse for another colorful local festival.

Remembrance and reflection

The port of Naoetsu near central Joetsu once housed a prisoner of war camp, where many Australian soldiers lost their lives during World War II.

A visit to the Peace Memorial Park and accompanying museum allows you to dig into the city's emotional history, as well as its current international ties. Beautiful yet sobering, the park is well worth a visit, to see the friendship formed between two completely different countries and their efforts to commemorate a shared history.

After the Peace Memorial Park, visit nearby Naoetsu Beach, where you can wade in the beautifully clear waters and check out the iconic statue of a mermaid.

Internationally renowned sake

Being in the heart of rice country makes Joetsu a thriving hub for sake breweries. Among them, Katafune Sake Brewery — the winner of the International Wine Challenge 2015 — is definitely worth a visit. It's a family-owned brand and you need to call ahead to schedule a brewery visit. Although the brewery is small, the warm welcome will make you feel right at home.

Snowy heights

Between the cities of Joetsu and Tokamachi lies the Cupid Valley ski resort, in an area known as 'Yukudaruma Kogen' or 'Snowman Heights'. The Kanayasan resort is also close to Joetsu, and is easily accessible from the city in case you want to spend a few hours on the slopes.

Further afield

We recommend setting aside a couple of days to explore Joetsu and other nearby sights.

To the south is Myoko, where adventurers can explore Mt. Myoko, Naena-taki Waterfall, Tsubame Onsen and numerous ski resorts such as Ikenotaira and Akakura Onsen Ski Resorts.

To the east there is charming Tokamachi, where the striking Hoshitoge terraced rice paddies, Bijin-bayashi Forest and Kiyotsukyou Gorge are located.

Northwards you will find Kashiwazaki, a great little beach town perfect for those looking for an unfussy, simple getaway, undisturbed by flocks of tourists. Sightseeing spots of note include Lovers' Point and Akasakayama Park.

Seasonal festivals

Joetsu locals love a chance to party, so look out for these festivals in the surrounding areas:

Early to mid-April: Nighttime cherry blossom-viewing in Takada Park, Joetsu

Mid-July to mid-August: Sacred Lotus Festival in Takada Park, Joetsu

July 26: Annual fireworks festival at Kashiwazaki Central Beach, Minatomachi Seaside Park area

The fourth weekend in August: Kenshinko Festival in Kasugayama, Joetsu

Late October to late November: Nighttime autumn leaves-viewing in Akasakayama Park, Kashiwazaki

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