This is the third and last part of the Hokuriku itinerary, if you haven’t read the first two parts, click here for Part 1 and Part 2. Without further ado, let’s start the journey to other parts of Hokuriku region.
9:15AM Depart from Niigata Station to Matsudai Station
11:30AM Matsudai Nohbutai Museum (Sightseeing and Lunch)
12:50PM Bijin Bayashi
2:15PM Hachi & Seizo Tashima Museum of Picture Book Art
3:45PM Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, KINARE
6:00PM Check in Hotel Naspa New Otani (Dinner)
From Niigata Station, in order to get to Matsudai Station, you need to switch to two trains.
As you arrived at the Matsudai Station, you will notice a white building which is the Matsudai Nohbutai Museum. The museum is actually a part of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, an art event exhibition happening in Japan. Some places in the area will take part in the art exhibition to showcase some of the best local and international art displays. In this museum, you will see plenty of fascinating artworks display throughout the area.
Tsumari in Bloom by Yayoi Kusama.
For lunch, you can order Sansai cuisine which contains foods like rice, miso soup, pickles and other types of vegetables on a floor to ceiling window restaurant. You can enjoy your meal while facing the terrace outside. Interestingly, this restaurant is also a part of the museum’s artwork because of its futuristic design.
Café Reflet by Jean-Luc Vilmouth.
Matsudai Nohbutai Museum
Address: 3743-1 Matsudai, Tokamachi-city, Niigata Prefecture
Operating Hours: 10:00AM-5:00PM
Admission Fees: Free (Require an extra charge during special exhibition)
Contact Number: 025-595-6180
From Matsudai Nohbutai Museum, go to Bijin Bayashi, Japan’s famous beech forest. Bijin Bayashi is described as a beautiful forest in Japan due to its unusual trees structure that is shaped like a woman’s figure. Furthermore, this place is very suitable for those who seek a short getaway from the city.
Address: Matsunoyama Matsuguchi, Tokamachi 942-1411, Niigata Prefecture
Admission Fees: Free
Contact Number: 025-596- 3011
Located half an hour away from Bijin Bayashi, Hachi & Seizo Tashima Museum of Picture Book Art is one of the interesting places of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale you will ever visit. The artist, Seizo Tashima transformed the whole place into a walking picture book museum. Before it was changed into a museum, the building was a former elementary school which has been shut down for years. The story behind the museum was inspired from three children named Yuki, Yuta and Kenta who were the last remaining students of the school. All the sculptures in the museum were made from tree nuts and driftwood.
Yuki, Yuta and Kenta.
You will experience the journey of the three children as you step into each room. The artist also created two monsters that lived inside the school, called Doradoraban (dreams destroyer) and Toperatoto (a monster that eats laughter).
You can purchase their merchandise such as postcards and picture books at the souvenir shop. Also, you can go to a small classroom-themed café to quench your thirst after a trip back to memory lane.
Hachi & Seizo Tashima Museum of Picture Book Art
Address: 2310-1 Sanada Kou, Tokamachi-city, Niigata Prefecture
Operating Hours: 10:00AM-5:00PM
Admission Fees: ¥800 (Adults), ¥300 (Children aged 13 and below)
Contact Number: 025-752-0066
Head to Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, KINARE to see a much more modern and tricky illusion artworks. Also, a part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, among the popular artworks you need to see is the Rolling Cylinder made by Carsten Holler and Powerless Structures by Elmgreen and Dragset.
For the Rolling Cylinder, the red, blue and white tunnel will be in a rolling motion the entire time. Visitors have to walk on the steel walkway and the trick is to not tip over.
Rolling Cylinder by Carsten Holler.
Powerless Structures by Elmgreen and Dragset.
Other than artworks, the museum features facilities like a mini library, restaurant and souvenir shop.
Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, KINARE
Address: 71-2 6-1 Hon-cho, Tokamachi-shi, Niigata, 948-0003
Operating Hours: 10:00AM – 5:00PM
Admission Fees: ¥800 (Adults), ¥400 (Children)
Contact Number: 025-761-7767
From Tokamachi, head straight to your accommodation at NASPA New Otani. The hotel is a one of the top ski resorts during winter in Niigata, but, they are still operating as usual throughout the year. Since the hotel is located on top of a hill, you can see the view of Minamiuonuma District very clearly during the daytime.
NASPA New Otani.
Image Source: Booking.com.
For dinner, you will be having shabu-shabu in the hotel’s restaurant. Besides that, during your free time, check out the hotel’s facilities, such as a karaoke room, game corner, souvenir shop as well as private and public hot spring baths.
NASPA New Otani
Address: Yuzawa 2117-9, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata-ken, Japan, 949-6101
Contact Number: (+81)-257-80-6222
9:30AM GALA Yuzawa (Summer Ski Slope)
11:30AM Lunch at Echigo Yuzawa Station
3:00PM Haruna Lake
4:00PM Haruna Shrine
6:00PM Check in Hotel Metropolitan Takasaki
8:00PM Dinner at Ginza, Takasaki Washington Hotel Plaza
Take a taxi to GALA Yuzawa, a famous ski resort during wintertime. Surprisingly, they also organize a few summer activities that visitors can do such as go-karts, mini golf course and ride the ropeway cable car to see a fantastic view of the place.
Yuzawa Kogen Ropeway.
Image Source: Att-Japan.
If you plan to go here during winter, you can rent their ski equipment and join fun snow activities like skiing and snow trekking adventure. You can browse the fees for each lesson here.
Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort
Address: 949-6101 Niigata-ken Minamiuonoma-gun Yuzawa-machi Ooaza Yuzawa Aza Kayabira 1039-2
Operating Hours: 8:00AM – 5:00PM (Winter), 8:00AM – 4:00PM (Summer)
Ropeway Fees (Yuzawa Kogen): ¥2,000 (Adults 13 and above), ¥1,000 (Children aged 12 to 6), Free (Children under the age of 3).
Contact Number: 025-785-6543
Head to Echigo-Yuzawa Station to go back to Takasaki Station. While waiting for the train, have lunch at Restaurant Kojimaya, known for their Niigata-style Hegi-soba noodles.
Hegi-soba noodles with tempura.
Echigo Tokamachi Kojimaya Echigo Yuzawa
Address: 2427-1 Yuzawa, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata Prefecture
Operating Hours: 11:00AM – 7:30PM
Contact Number: +81 25-785-2081
From Takasaki Station, take a taxi to Lake Haruna which will take around 1 hour to arrive. Haruna Lake is actually located close to Mount Haruna which is considered as one of the famous mountains in Gunma besides Mount Akagi and Mount Myogi. You can ride a ropeway car to get a panoramic view of the area. Among the activities, you can do here are boating and fishing.
In addition, you can ride the swan boats here for 30 minutes to enjoy the beautiful Lake Haruna. Also, you can go on a horse-drawn carriage where it will take you on a leisure trip from Lake Haruna to the town.
Address: Harunakomachi, Takasaki 370-3348, Gunma Prefecture
Operating Hours: 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Admission Fees: Ropeway car: ¥440 (One way trip), ¥840 (Round trip), Swan Boat Ride: ¥700 – ¥1,500, Horse Carriage: ¥1,000 (Adults), ¥800 (Children)
Contact Number: 027-374-5111
After that, go to Haruna Shrine situated on top of a hill in a forest. You have to walk for 20 minutes before you reached the top. Nonetheless, the walking journey will not be tiresome because you will see many cultural features along the steps. Inside, keep your eyes out for the Seven Gods statues which are Bishamonten, Jurojin, Hotei, Fukurokuju, Ebisu, Benzaiten & Daikokuten.
Zuishinmon Gate to guard the evils from entering the shrine.
As you make your way to the top, you will notice a pagoda that was built in 1869 and a washing place for people to wash their mouth and hands before entering the shrine. In front of the main shrine is a Kaguraden Hall that used to be a place to perform cultural shows for the former rulers.
Address: 849 Harunasanmachi, Takasaki, Gunma
Operating Hours: 7:00AM – 5:00PM
Admission Fees: Free
Contact Number: +81-27-374-9050
For accommodation, stay at Hotel Metropolitan Takasaki where it is close to the Takasaki Station.
Hotel Metropolitan Takasaki.
Image Source: JR Hotel Group.
Hotel Metropolitan Takasaki
Address: 222 Yashima-cho, Takasaki, Gunma 370-0849
Contact Number: 81-27-325-3311
At night, you can go to Ginza Restaurant located inside Takasaki Washington Hotel Plaza to eat Halal shabu-shabu. Please make sure you call the restaurant for table reservation.
Takasaki Washington Hotel Plaza
Address: 70 Yashimacho, La Merce Bldg. 12F, Takasaki 370-0849, Gunma Prefecture
Operating Hours: 11:30AM – 2:00PM, 5:30PM – 9:00PM
Contact Number: +81 27-324-2603
9:30AM Depart to Jomo-kogen Station
11:00AM Harada Farm
12:30PM Tanbara Lavender Park (Lunch)
3:00PM Depart to Tokyo Station
Depart to Jomo-Kogen Station from your hotel and go to Harada Farm for some fruit picking activities. You are required to book a reservation for this activity and every month, there will be different fruits ready for picking. For instance, in July, the available fruits are peaches and blueberries.
When you are done with fruit picking, head to the store to purchase fruit snacks. One of the famous confectionaries is Baum Kuchen cake, however, for Muslims, you are advised not to purchase the cake as it contains alcohol. Other than snacks, they also sell fruits and vegetables.
Address: 1294 Yokozukamachi,Numata-shi,Gunma
Operating Hours: 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Admission Fees: Varies each season
Contact Number: 0135-32-2280
Your last trip to the Hokuriku region is Tambara Lavender Park. During winter, this park turns into a ski resort, but when it’s summer, you will see colourful flowers blanketed the field from top to bottom. Before you explore the field, have lunch at their restaurant where they will serve buffet. However, you need to ask the staff which food contains no pork and lard.
Tambara Lavender Park’s restaurant.
You can take a chairlift ride to the top of the hill if you don’t want to walk. You will see many kinds of flowers planted there such as lavenders, sunflowers and hydrangeas. Besides that, you will see an observation deck, animals-shaped trees and many interesting structures.
Hill of Colours.
Other than that, you have to try their lavender ice cream. The ice-cream smells and tastes like lavender and it comes in three different flavours such as lavender, lavender mixed with vanilla and lavender cremia.
Before you head back to Tokyo, don’t forget to purchase lavender products like fragrance, hand creams, snacks and more at their souvenir shop.
Tambara Lavender Park
Address: Tambara Kogen, Numata-shi, Gunma
Operating Hours: 8:30AM – 5:00PM
Contact Number: +81-92-687-6730 (English Helpline)
Admission Fees: ¥800 – ¥1,200 (Adults), ¥300 – ¥500 (Children aged 13 and above), Free (Children aged 12 and below)
Chairlift Fees: Round-trip: ¥800 (Adults), ¥600 (Children aged 13 and above), Free (Children aged 12 and below).
One-way: ¥500 (Adults), ¥350 (Children aged 13 and above), Free (Children aged 12 and below)
Go to Jomo-Kogen Station and depart to Tokyo Station. Your trip will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Before that, you can buy bento box to eat in train.
There you have it, the full seven days itinerary to Hokuriku region for Muslim travellers. We hope you will find the information useful according to your needs.