The heart of this region, a band of land on the coast of the Sea of Japan is the city of Niigata, the location of the Niigata prefectural government. It also includes the cities of Agano and Murakami.
Niigata City has flourished as a port town since ancient times so there are many historic spots such as the "Northern Culture Museum,” housed in an Edo period (1603-1868) mansion and the Sasagawa Old House, designated as an important cultural property. In the city of Murakami, northeast of the city of Niigata, there is Senami Onsen, which faces the Sea of Japan. It is highly recommended because you can look at the beautiful view of the sea while sitting in the hot springs. Agano has the famous Lake Hyo, where more than 5000 swans and other birds come from autumn to winter every year.
Also, the Niigata area faces the Sea of Japan and there is plenty of fresh seafood. It is also famous for sake production because there is very clean water and locally grown rice so drinking this sake with your meals is recommended.
You can get around this region by car or train. From Tokyo, it takes about 2 hours by Joetsu bullet train to get to Niigata Station. By plane, it takes about 1 hour to fly from Osaka International Airport to Niigata Airport.
Tourism information: Niigata