Every year in winter the Zoo holds a capybara hot spring event. It usually starts at the end of November and lasts until early April. During the event on most weekends and certain weekdays the capybaras of the Zoo will take a bath in hot springs that the zoo constructed specifically for the capybaras.
Nestled between the Myoko and Yuzawa ski areas of Niigata is the smaller and less well-known Cupid Valley - also known as Yukidaruma Kogen, or Snowman Plateau/Heights! Being off the main track it is usually quieter and less crowded than bigger resorts, yet still has runs up to 4km, and many things to enjoy in a day trip.
Packed with historical breweries producing some of the most distinct and high-quality sake in Japan, Niigata’s sake history dates back hundreds of years.
Sado is a peaceful island situated off the coast of Niigata Prefecture. It is accessible by ferries running every hour or so between Niigata and Ryotsu Ports. If you are not worried about missing the only ferry of the day, you can also jump on in Naoetsu and get off in the little town of Ogi.
Sumatakyo Valley is a rural area of Japan a few hours west of Tokyo and has so much to do off the beaten path. As you travel Japan, especially when you are in more rural areas, we highly recommend asking around for advice. That is how we found so many unique experiences on our 50-day runAway Japan adventure.
Since these cities aren't what the typical tourist thinks to drop in on, you also won’t have to suffer through the crushing crowds, and can instead enjoy a more relaxed, authentic taste of Japanese beauty and culture.