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Niigata City

Niigata city is the capital of Niigata Prefecture and is one of the largest port cities one the Sea of Japan coast.

Niigata City

Niigata city is known as the “city of water” for its northwest part facing the Sea of Japan with the Shinano River running through the center. The Shinano River is the longest river in Japan and the city was built at the mouth. When Uesugi Kenshin ruled the area the city thrived as a port town. In the 17th century a system of canals was constructed that allowed the transportation of goods. In this case when the Agano and Shinano rivers gradually changed to emptying out into the Sea of Japan the transportation of goods became easier. Niigata became the port city that all Japanese trade ships stopped at when traveling the sea. In 1858, Niigata became one of the first ports to be open for international trade under the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. The opening to foreign ships was restricted to shallow waters, but it eventually opened in 1869. In 1886, the first Bandai Bridge was built over the Shinano River in order to connect Niigata and Nuttari.

The construction of Niigata Station was completed in 1950. Five years later a fire broke out and destroyed much of the downtown area. Eventually the city recovered and in 1964 the old canals that were built were filled in to make more roads. Then in 1982, the Joetsu Shinkansen line from Niigata to Omiya was completed. An added service was extended to Ueno in 1985 and then to Tokyo in 1991. Some notable places in Niigata to take note of are the Hakusan Park and shrine, Bandai City Rainbow Tower, Minato Inari Shrine, and Niigata Race Course. At the Hakusan Park and shrine there is the Niigata Festival, which is held from August 7-9. On the last day of the festival there is a fireworks show that happens over the Shinano River. In addition to the fireworks display there is the Folk Dancing Parade that happens at the Bandai Bridge and has over 20,000 participants.