With many mountains, snow resorts and hot springs, Niigata is one of the most popular winter wonderlands in Japan. The twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) direct flights between Hong Kong and Niigata between October 30, 2019 and March 28, 2020 allows you to save 2 hours of commute time and costs for taking Shinkansen from Tokyo!
The direct flight begins end of October, just in time for the autumn foliage. Here are 3 most popular places for the colors in Niigata:
The 5,481 metres long “Dragondola” is the longest gondola ride in Japan that offers a spectacular view of the golden and scarlet color carpeting the mountains between Naeba and Tashiro ski fields.
Location: Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun
Inquiry: 025-789-4117 (Naeba Ski Resort)
Operates: 9:00 to 16:00 from October 8 to November 6, 2016 (last ride up at 15:00)
Cost (roundtrip): adult ¥2,600, child ¥1,300.
Public transportation: Take JR from Niigata Station to Echigoyuzawa Station (about 50 mins), then switch bus (about 50 minutes).
2) Norther Culture Museum
Converted from the wealthiest landlord’s residence in the Echigo region, Northern Culture Museum was the first private museum in Japan. It is one of the best tourist attractions for not only the beautiful Japanese garden created by a famous garden, but also the well preserved exhibits and traditional Japanese culture.
Address: 2-15-25 Soumi, Konan Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture 950-0205
Opens daily: 09:00~17:00 from April to November, 09:00~16:30 from December to March
Admission: ¥800 for adults, ¥400 for children
Transportation: 10 minutes drive from JR Niitsu Station, or 20 minutes drive from JR Niigata Station
3. The Maple Valley
This 13 hectares park is one of the most famous places to see autumn leaves in Niigata prefecture. Like many other castles and parks, the red Kangetsu Bridge is the highlight of the park where everyone takes Instagrammable photos.
Location: Yahiko Park, Yahiko, Nishikanbara-gun
Inquiries: 0256-94-3154 (Yahiko Tourism Association)
Leaves peak: Late October to mid-November
Night viewing time: 17:00~21:30
Access: Take JR from Niigata Station to Yahoo Station (about 1 hour and 10 minutes)