Winters in Niigata’s snow country are notoriously harsh, but they certainly have their own beauty and charm. What once were rice fields during summer and autumn make way for wide open snow areas, and sidewalks turn into snow corridors.
Spend some time walking around this part of Japan in winter and you’re likely to see sights like garden sheds that are completely inaccessible due to meters of snow, or heavily boarded up shrines and temples in order to prevent damage. Some particularly lovely views can be found by the banks of the Uono River winding through the area, with the mountains in the background.
Winters are tough out here, but the people are tougher - and even though it’s cold you’ll feel the warmth exuding from their friendliness.
Minamiuonuma, in Niigata’s snow country, can be conveniently accessed from Tokyo via the Joetsu Shinkansen. Hop off at Urasa, which is approximately a 90 minute journey from Tokyo Station.
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