10 Things to Do in Tokamachi That You Shouldn't Miss

December 27, 2017 Claudia Navarrete

Tōkamachi is a city located in southwest Niigata Prefecture, in the Hokuriku region of Japan. As of 1 June 2016, the city had an estimated population of 54,104 and a population density of 91.6 persons per km².
Restaurants in Tokamachi

Matsunoyama Matsuguchi, Tokamachi 942-1411, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
38%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 91 reviews

Bijinbayashi

Reviewed By OnsenGai - Niigata Prefecture, Japan

A really quiet and peaceful forest. The trees are all of a similar size and well spaced out. There is a little pond with reflections of the trees. Kyororo Natural Science Museum is the other side of the car park so worth doing at the same time.

2. Hoshitoge Rice Terraces

Hoshitoge, Tokamachi 948-0000, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-757-3345
Excellent
33%
Good
54%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 53 reviews

Hoshitoge Rice Terraces

Reviewed By OnsenGai - Niigata Prefecture, Japan

It is a pretty drive up through Matsudai to get to Hoshi-toge rice terraces. There are a couple of recommended spots from which to take photos. Different seasons give you different shots with the green of summer, white of winter, water in the terraces, or autumn colors all being prized photos. It is a lovely view whenever you go. There are a couple of Echigo-Tsumari artworks on the way and some other good rice Terrace viewpoints within a few kilometers of Hoshi-toge.

Yunotani, Uonuma 946-0084, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
25%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 35 reviews

Okutadami

Reviewed By STNguyen - Nagaoka, Japan

Landscape: 4 stars
The Reservoir of the dam is very large (one of the largest in Japan), and covered by big Mountains, so it looks very nature. Visitors can get on a cruise to take a tour around the lake to see the landscape. To go up to this lake, they can take a slope car from the car parking area. The view from the lake down to the valley is very splendid. The best time to visit this place is in the middle of autumn, when all leaves turn to yellow and red. It is beautiful!
Suggested Itinerary:
1~2 hours is enough to visit this dam, but because it is located at a quite remote area, you may stay one night at a hotel in Uonuma before departing for this place in the next morning. There are some hotels with delicious foods and good on-sen (hot-spring) in the area. The road leading to the dam is also very thrilling with very narrow and long tunnels.

4. House of Light

2891 Ueno, Tokamachi 948-0122, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-761-1090
Excellent
55%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 33 reviews

House of Light

Reviewed By Stephanie D - Paris, France

House of light has been built by the great artist James Turrel, to share his passion for sun rise and sun set. 6 months in advance, book the house for you and your friends or family. And the experience begins.
At 4pm, after the House is closed to visitors, you will be explained the how to of the magic roof and the light program. One hour before sun set, one hour before sun rise, you will live the most outstanding art experience, you will discover the sky colors and lights as never seen before. This is pure emotion.
The house is beautiful, the traditional bath, extraordinary. A unique art moment in Japan.

5. Kiyotsu Gorge

Koide, Tokamachi 949-8433, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-763-4800
Excellent
20%
Good
56%
Satisfactory
20%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 60 reviews

Kiyotsu Gorge

Reviewed By Mamapickels

It was a bit of a rainy summer day, but nothing could dampen our mood at kiyotsu gorge. Unfortunately the 353 was closed so we had to go the long way around, coming from yuzawa. But we got to stop at an interesting echigo-tsumari art installation called "mud men" along the way. The scenery is spectacular around here. 600 yen for adults, 300 for kids got you entry into the 750m gorge tunnel with 4 viewing stations. The easy walk is broken up by displays on the local, flora and fauna, some stuffed bears and bird and an ultraviolet light section (not sure what this was for but the kids loved their bright whites!). The gorge itself is stunning from all 4 angles.
For lunch we went into the 1st cute little restaurant on the left as we came back into the tiny township. I think it's called maruyama-so. Super friendly hosts, delicious tempura soba and the best katsu according to my 10 yr old. I would come back just to eat here again. When we left, we were given a coupon voucher to exchange for a gift from 1 of any 6 local shops - we got bottles of tomato juice from directly across the road and watched a woman working on her loom. Really very good day out.

6. Matsudai Nou Stage

3743-1, Matsushiro, Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-595-6180
Excellent
34%
Good
53%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 29 reviews

Matsudai Nou Stage

Reviewed By Nicole W

The 600JPY entrance fee covered both Matsudai Nohbutai and the History Museum nearer the train station.
We first visited the Matsudai Nohbutai Gallery and there was an ongoing exhibition (brochure in the photo)... exhibition name literally translated to “I was once drawing while cultivating a farm land and living with a goat” on their website. The art pieces had animals, human, animal-human e.g. chicken with human face... the impact was a tad too strong and scary for the kiddo so we didn't stay very long there.
Next we visited the Relation—Blackboard Classroom, Relation—Farmer’s Work. It was an interesting classroom which was made almost entirely of chalkboards. You can write all over the place, on the floor, on the wall, on the tables....
Plan to spend some time here, walking around the various art installation surrounding the museum. We regretted timing the hotel shuttle bus too early.

7. Jyoetsu International Ski Area

112-1 Kabanosawa, Minamiuonuma 949-6431, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-782-1028
Excellent
19%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
29%
Poor
8%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 131 reviews

Jyoetsu International Ski Area

Reviewed By Philipstravels - Perth, Australia

We didn't use any of the runs, just some novice snowboarding in the large practice area, extremely crowded spot. Hotel was a huge money making factory, endless day trippers, food expensive and WOW $7 for a small cup of luke warm cocoa, could have got 5 hot cans from the machine for that price.

8. Echigo Tsumari Koryukan Kinare

6-1 Honcho, Tokamachi 948-0003, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-752-0117
Excellent
15%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
45%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 58 reviews

Echigo Tsumari Koryukan Kinare

Reviewed By Andy M - Canberra, Australia

I've fallen in love with Japanese modern art. I like the fact that it is accessible and there's none of the snootiness that you too often see in Western galleries. Echigo Tsumari Koryukan Kinare is a great example of Cool Japan. In fact, the whole area is one big Artscape.
The major point is that, summer or winter, this gallery has great hands-on seasonal exhibits that everyone can get into. (We have visited during both seasons, and our kids loved it both times as much as we did). The permanent exhibition is a bit thin, but there's still enough that's interesting to be worth the trip upstairs. And there's a nice little gift shop.
The entry prices are very reasonable, there's a range of cheap and tasty food options too. Staff are friendly and helpful, and get into the exhibits as much as the visitors. You get the feeling that this is exactly what a gallery should be: a cultural focal point for the entire community.
Recommended for more than one visit.

9. Joetsu Kokusai Playland

Kabanosawa, Minamiuonuma 949-6431, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-782-1141
Excellent
20%
Good
58%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 43 reviews

Joetsu Kokusai Playland

Reviewed By Mamapickels

Despite the hefty price tag we enjoyed a good day at this water play land. The kids would loved to have spent much more time on the go-carts but you only get one go with your day pass. They managed to amuse themselves on the train, the merry-go-round, the 2 half pipe rides and the fabulous 'wild river' - pity the queues were so long - although the constant water spray kept you cool while waiting, and the non slip surface was appreciated! But actual spent most time on the 'balloon slide' - a bouncy castle mini zoom slide - great fun. The bottom pool is shallow, crowded and very slippery, but there are plenty of other places to hang out. Easy parking and way overpriced shelters available - take your own little tent like the locals do.

10. Tokamachi Snow Festival

Around Jogaoka Pure Land and Tokamachi City, Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
36%
Good
59%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 19 reviews

Tokamachi Snow Festival

A winter festival of Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, which is known as one of Japan's leading heavy snowfall areas. It began in 1950 with the local residents' concept of "enjoy the snow, as a friend of the snow." The main event is the residents' handmade "artworks made of snow." The collection of huge artistic works makes a big impression on the viewer. In addition, "festival plazas" in almost 30 locations in the city and surrounding villages, you can enjoy such things as regional cuisine, snow tea ceremony, and snow slides. And the "Snow Carnival," live music and shows held on a huge stage made of snow, is not to be missed.

Reviewed By deemacvee - Sydney

We attended the Tokamachi Snow Festival last weekend after skiing at Shiga Kogen. A couple of buses and 3 trains taking 4 hours got us there. Not far as the crow flies but some big Mountains to skirt around. We knew we were in the right place as soon as we arrived with lots of activity and publicity at the train station and one of the many snow/ice venues right outside.
Our accommodation was roughly half way between the station and the main stage venue, which was very convenient. We enjoyed walking around the various sights in the afternoon, snacking and sipping on the odd sake and amazake.
As the afternoon wore on, we popped back to our quaint lodgings above a Pizza restaurant to load up with our thermals and warmest clothes, then headed up to the main ice stage.
It became apparent that this was going to be a big event as throngs of others joined the procession, finally arriving in an area which must have contained 5 to 10 thousand people in front of a huge ice stage. We did not know who was on the program and were expecting some local taiko drumming, etc. but the line up was much more impressive, hence attracting the huge crowd. While I can't remember the performers' names, they were well known in Japan and first rate, including a girl group, a boy band, a talented lady billed as an "Australian" (but more Japanese than Shintaro - She was fantastic - We'll claim her!), and an..... opera singer of indeterminable gender, but big, brash and bloody fabulous who sang some amazing duets with the "Aussie" girl and brought the house down with his/her rendition of Nessum Dorma.
As all this was building to a crescendo and the fireworks were blasting off above the stage, the snow started falling in big flakes and was still pelting down when we left the next morning. Glad we donned the extra thermals and packed a hip flask. We still froze but it was a good excuse to be dancing and moving in the crowd.
It was a toss-up between having a night in Tokyo before flying out (which we have had many - always good) or a gamble on the Tokamachi snow festival. We picked the right option. What a way to finish an other great trip to Japan! Loved it! Recommended. Book your accommodation for next year early or you will miss out.

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