Outside of a few main attractions, Nagaoka does not have anything unique to offer to a visitor. There is a gigantic public park, the Echigo Hillside Park, which is nice; a lovely cherry tree park, which is great in spring; and a decent aquarium. Other than these it's mostly a bunch of historical shrines closely connected to the city and the prefecture, museums and memorials dedicated to the city's history. An unexpected find is the city's museum dedicated to the damage in WWII from the Allied firebombing efforts. If anything else is a surprise at all, it's the utterly random dude ranch and alpaca farm a little way out of the city. What an unexpected sight! Also outside the town is a sweet little confectionary workshop that actually sells you Japanese confection making tools and also the technical knowhow on using them. During winter, it snows quite heavily, so the city becomes a destination for skiers. While nightlife spots and shopping opportunities exist, they are nothing to write home about. Finally, the city has a number of hot springs and natural mineral baths, almost all of which are tied up to a hotel or another.
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What to Do in and around Nagaoka
Enjoy 14 best Nagaoka attractions and points of interest to choose from!
#1 of 14 Things to do in Nagaoka | Added 170 times in trip plans
越後長岡丘陵公園, Japan, 〒940-2043 Niigata Prefecture, Nagaoka, 宮本東方町字三ツ又1950番1 (EchigoNagaoka hill Park, Japan, Yubinbango940-2043 Niigata Prefecture, Nagaoka, Miyamototoho-cho three-pronged 1950 No. 1)
09:30 am - 05:00 pm
This massive hillside park has everything. Here's a quick summary of its facilities.
The playground facilities include wooden structures, bounce pits, musical fountain, amphitheatre, a burnt grass sculpture, a grass, a huge grass lawn. There is a rock garden laid out to mirror the milky way; multiple flower viewing gardens and promenades; a barbeque area, atrium, and rest house; there is a conference centre; and a six different high landscaped from where you have scenic views (this includes a stylish 3-floor high observatory with a model of an elm forest inside).
It's more than a local family favourite hangout though. Throughout the year, major events are either celebrated or take place in the park: Tulip Festival, Rose Festival, Summer Nights Illuminations, Cosmos Festival, Autumn rose Festival, Winter Illumination, Winter Festival, Hellebore Festival and the Hepatica Festival.
#2 of 14 Things to do in Nagaoka | Added 146 times in trip plans
1 Chome-4-1 Gofukumachi, Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture 940-0056, Japan
10:00 am - 05:00 pm
During WWII, Isoroku Yamamoto was the Japanese Marshal Admiral and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet, and in charge of major offensives such as Pearl Harbour. This museum traces his life, his achievements, his beliefs and his stances on the war in seven exhibits. Various memorabilia from his life, including letters, portraits, a part of the plane he was killed in, his favourite Japanese doll and his passport all exhibited here.
#3 of 14 Things to do in Nagaoka | Added 146 times in trip plans
シティホールプラザアオーレ長岡, Japan, 〒940-0062 新潟県長岡市大手通１丁目４－１０ (City Hall Plaza A Ore Nagaoka,
Japan, Yubinbango940-0062 Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture Otedori 1-chome, 4-10)
09:30 am - 08:00 pm
City halls tend to be grand looking but boring places, stately buildings where the governing is done and from where civilians usually stay away. Notso here. When constructing Ao-re, the architect KengoKuma had a very definitive aim in mind: to create a meeting place for citizens in an warm and inviting ambience. To this end, rather than use traditional brick and mortar, they made used of local cedar to create an unusual checkered interior wall, a frontal garden extending from inside the building to the street outside. Moreover, he put the city council chamber on the ground floor, so the people could better connect with their government. You will rarely find a civic structure more beautiful, more elegant. 1.2 million people visit it every year… just to hang out.
You are greeted into this museum by eight beautiful garden sculptures outdoors. Inside, the museum has a lovely collection of art dating from the Taiko period, which is the expanded upon by collections of modern Japanese art from the 20th century, particularly the works of BakusenTsuchida and Misao Yokoyama. Additionally, the museum also collects western style artwork that bears close resemblance to Japanese styles or has japanese influences. Forms of art represented include paintings, sculpture, woodblock prints, artifacts and photographs. These are divided into sections of 'World Art', 'Japanese Art', and 'Niigata Art'.
#6 of 14 Things to do in Nagaoka | Added 122 times in trip plans
52-1 Miyamotohigashikatamachi, Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture 940-2043, Japan
09:00 am - 06:30 pm
A 20 minute drive out of Nagaoka takes you to a curious little confectionary shop beside the highway, in a repurposed farmhouse. They basically sell and serve tea and sweetened sticky rice dumplings. It's a huge hit. The regionl specialty is something called a 'sasadango' and it is wrapped in bamboo leaves. For for a fee and a booking, you can actually get a lesson on how to make your own dumpling. It's a surprisingly fun way to spend the afternoon. Other stuff on the menu includes green tea cream, tororo buns, soya flavoured rice cakes. You can also buy, as gifts, the utensil sets with which to make all these. Check the attraction website for the full catalogue.
#7 of 14 Things to do in Nagaoka | Added 122 times in trip plans
2 Chome-6-17 Jonaicho, Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture 940-0061, Japan
09:00 am - 06:00 pm
It is said that the Niigata area was the third of the sites designated to be bombed by nuclear weapons after Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII, but the country surrendered before the plan could be carried out. However, the city was extensively firebombed, and much of it was destroyed. This unassuming looking exhibition, presented over two floors, exhibits artefacts from the bombing period such as clothes, photographs, a pocket watch, and fragments of the bombs. On the upper floor of the exhibit is a memorial to all those who perished in the fire-bombing.
This museum focuses on the life and exploits of Tsuginosuke Kawai, who was the last military commander of Nagaoka during the end of the Edo Period. He is still held in high regard here for his compassion and his humanity. He led his forces against and the Meiji military and lost. At this museum you'll find his family crest, flag, a gattling gun replica that was used in the battle that led to victory, diaries, letters, manuscripts, calligraphic works and some art. It's not a large museum and should not take you too long to cover.
How can any decent Japanese town be complete without the obligatory cherry tree park? With 2500 trees waiting to bloom in spring, the park also provides other recreational amenities such as a pool, a baseball field, a Japanese Garden, three small shrines, and playgrounds. The grounds tend to be lively with little animals and birds. There is even a small, free animal enclosure. Within the park are also located the Nagaoka City Local Archives. And of course in spring, with the cherry blossoms at full bloom,hanami watchers throng the park, making it one of the best hangouts in the city. This happens from April 8 to May 6 (dates may vary with year). The lantern lighting in the evening is a beautiful sight.
#10 of 14 Things to do in Nagaoka | Added 48 times in trip plans
Japan, Yubinbango947-0204 Niigata Prefecture, NagaokaYamakoshiTakezawa B 169
08:00 am - 05:00 pm
People often mistake Alpaca for sheep or llama, but they are actually more closely related to camels. For some reason, there are Alpacas at this cute little hill ranch in Nagooka, even though their natural habitat in is Peru, South America. These little fellas came over from Colorado. They are apparently the main reason this little village now gets visitors. You can buy alpaca themes items like sweaters here. The animals are cute and you can feed them if you buy bait.
You should start your Nagaoka tour here, where the history of the city and the prefecture is so beautifully told. It puts everything into context, including anthropology, archaeology, and folklore - 30000 years worth of history.
The main exhibits are:
Diorama of Niigata in a 1950s winter.
Making Rice: The history of rice cultivation from the Edo period to now.
World of the Jomon: Dioramas of the lifestyles of the Jomon people.
Exploring Jomon Culture: Artifacts left behind by the Jomon people from 10000 years ago.
This shrine surprises all visitors by sheer virtue of its size. Once in the spring, and once in the fall, people from all over the country come to pray here, at it is known as the candle of the Inarii. People pray for all sorts of things - good harvest, family health, romantic success, exorcising, national peace of evil - this is quite a busy deity. The history of the shrine is said to date back to Jomon period. A great number of festivals are held at the shrine throughout the year; visit the attraction website for details.The area surrounding the shrine is somewhat industrial - one of Japan's biggest gas mines.
#13 of 14 Things to do in Nagaoka | Added 98 times in trip plans
High dragon shrine, Japan, Yubinbango940-1122 Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture Yomogihira-cho, 1276
12:01 am - 12:00 am
After you've driven to the hill, 118 steps remain to be climbed to take you to the shrine, where people come to pray for business prosperity. It's a steep climb, but there is an elevator nearby. From the top, the view is quite beautiful, mountains on three sides, and a river coursing along the bottom. You're not allowed to access the inner shrine though. After you're done admiring the views, there is a nice noodle shop just a little ways down the road if you're hungry. In winter, the shrine is supposed to be especially beautiful.
Established to help preserve and exhibit the best of the natural beauty of the hilly snow country, this garden is a marvel of natural landscaping techniques. Now it is a place of naturally growing wild-flowers, flocks of birds, and summer nights when fireflies dance an enchanting dance. IT is a vast park and a lovely place for a stroll in nearly any season.