Welcome to the program that's all about making your visit to Japan smooth and enjoyable!
We'll take you to many sightseeing destinations around Japan and along the way you'll learn some basic Japanese phrases, letters, and numbers that are useful for traveling in Japan.
Welcome to JapanTokyo
The trio has met up at Haneda Airport, one of Japan's biggest
air travel hubs.
It has four runways, the most of any Japanese airport, and it handles the most flights, too.
In 2010, a new terminal opened here, greatly increasing the number of international flights.
Now more and more travelers from abroad are using Haneda.
From Haneda Airport, there are train, monorail, and bus
connections to central Tokyo and other parts of the
There is also an information center for tourists from abroad.
Going to NiigataNiigata
Niigata enjoys good fishing all year long, and that means fresh, delicious seafood is always on the menu here. The prefecture has also long been known for growing delicious rice, among the most coveted in Japan. The rice is mainly grown on rice terraces cut into the steep and scenic terrain. This is one of Japan's most iconic landscapes. And since rice is the main ingredient in sake, Niigata is also a premiere sake-making region.
During the summer, Niigata hosts one of Japan's largest fireworks displays: the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival.
In your room at a ryokan, you will find Japanese-style robes called "yukata." You can wear them in your room, or walking around town, or as pajamas.
Here's how you put on a yukata: Tuck the right flap inside and pull the left flap over it. Wrap the belt twice around and tie it like this.
Spoon-making in Tsubame CityNiigata
Tsubame has a population of around 84,000, and is famous for silverware-making. Metalworking factories are scattered among residential districts all through town... 2,800 or so mold-makers, polishers and other silverware-related businesses in all. The city's industry accounts for more than 90% of domestic silverware production in Japan. It is known worldwide as a center of advanced metalworking technologies.
Strolling around Murakami CityNiigata
Murakami City is full of historic charm, evoking the streetscapes of the Edo and Meiji Periods dating back a more than a hundred years.
Murakami has a huge salmon fishery. Salted and dried salmon is a preserved food that can be eaten all year round. But it can be cooked in many different seasonal recipes, for spring, summer, fall or winter.
Enjoy Niigata CityNiigata
With a population of around 800,000, Niigata City is a thriving metropolis along the Japan Sea coast. Modern architecture and leisure facilities, shopping and sightseeing are some of its attractions. Niigata City is also known for launching new food trends, and is home to many unusual rice-based foods. These pasta noodles are made from rice flour and have a unique, chewy texture. In Niigata you can also feast on sushi made with locally-caught seafood and locally-grown rice.
The Japanese name for this fish means, "black throat", because its throat is black.
Exploring Traditional Culture on Sado IslandNiigata
Sado Island is known for its pristine wilderness, and home to the crested ibis, a bird threatened with extinction. Sado's gold mines were once the most productive in Japan. The mines were worked for 388 years. Now they preserve artifacts and mining heritage that can be seen nowhere else in Japan.
Takigi Noh is a form of traditional Japanese theater that has been performed for 600 years. On summer nights, torches are lit around a Noh theater or temporary outdoor stage, where selected plays are performed.
Drinking Sake in Joetsu CityNiigata
Joetsu is a historic city that thrived as a castle town during the 16th century period of civil strife. In spring, the castle is lit up to provide a spectacular view of cherry blossoms at night.
Recently, its intricate wooden furniture has become world famous. Each piece is assembled without using a single nail.
Sake is made from fermented rice and water.
In addition to being a major producer of high-quality rice, Niigata has an abundant supply of good water. This is why Niigata produces some of the best sake in Japan.
A Visit to Zenkoji TempleNagano
Nagano is surrounded by soaring mountains. It has a rich natural environment that provides spectacular views regardless of the season. It’s a popular summer resort. Many people come here to escape the suffocating heat of the cities. In winter, it attracts countless numbers of skiers. It was the site of the 18th Winter Olympic Games. The mountain climate is ideal for producing all kinds of fruit and vegetables, which are shipped throughout Japan. The buckwheat noodles are also delicious. Nagano has many historic shrines, temples and castles that have been recognized as national treasures. No wonder then that it’s a popular tourist destination.
You can feel the weight of its 1,400 history. It has a mystical atmosphere. 6 million people visit Zenkoji every year.
An Encounter with SamuraiNagano
Our threesome have arrived in Azumino, a picturesque city about an hour by train from Nagano City. With its many mountains and rivers, Azumino is full of scenic beauty.
So far, our journey through Japan has spanned nine episodes, having fun learning Japanese all along the way.
This is... Meet & Speak.
Today, on part 10, we'll look back over our trip, and review the Japanese we've learned.
This time, we'll look back on our journey so far, and also bring you a special report on onsen hot spring resorts in Niigata Prefecture.
Staying in ryokan inns and enjoying their onsen mineral baths and gourmet cuisine help make travel in Japan a very special experience.
If you visit Niigata Prefecture, be sure to include onsen hot spring resorts on your itinerary.