It is always very exciting to get a uninterrupted panoramic view of a new city you happen to be in. For the same reasons, tall towers are built in almost all popular big cities of the world. Be it the Sky Tree in Tokyo or Burj Khalifa in Dubai, they serve the same purpose. If you happen to be in Niigata and would like to see Niigata from a bird’s eye view, you should not miss a trip to Toki Messe.
The building has an interesting name: Toki Messe. Toki (Japanese Crested Ibis) is an iconic bird of Niigata prefecture. Toki Messe got its name from this bird that has historical and cultural connections to Niigata in many ways and messe from the German word for trade fair. Toki Messe building is located centrally in the heart of Niigata City but is a wonderful convenience to be located in the estuary of Shinano River. Shinano is another landmark in Niigata as it is the longest river in Japan. Flowing along side the Toki Messe, Shinano adds natural flavor to the man-made urban design.
Toki Messe Area by MND in Wikimedia Commons
Toki Messe is an astonishing business complex with a large exhibition hall, 13 conference rooms of various sizes, an auditorium, and an atrium. The building holds multiple facilities as it also hosts a beautiful star hotel-Hotel Nikko.
The atrium serves as the central entrance connecting a hotel, office, and commercial center. A walk through a 350m long public esplanade offers panoramic views toward the river and connects the entire complex. Overall, Toki Messe is characterized by an extremely transparent and ephemeral metal and glass facade. It is pretty unique and interesting in its architecture.This building came into operation in 2003.
The most interesting of all is the top most observation deck. The observation deck that lies on the height of 140m on the 31st floor can be accessed through a high speed elevator. Once you are in this deck, you are on the location that provides you the best possible view of Niigata City. The glasses on all the four directions gives you a proper guidance of the look of the city. What I appreciate the most is the way the facility has provided a self explanatory landmark map that helps you identify the landmarks from a distance. You can capture a perfect view of Sado and Awashima Island on a fine day. Toki Messe is a gateway to Sado Island as the ships depart to the island from the port beneath. View of the vast plains, mountain range Gozu, and then the quietly running Shinano River seen from the glass makes you appreciate the diverse geography of Niigata city. The scene I love the most while I am in the deck is watching the ship moving to and fro between Sado Island in the peaceful Sea of Japan. Daytime visits are definitely more informative but if you visit the facility at night you will equally enjoy the lights of the Niigata City.
View of Niigata city in the glass
There are lots of places to treat your taste buds in this facility and almost every floor has restaurants and cafés. Similarly, the top most floor also has a cafe and does have a display of Niigata Souvenirs that you could buy as gifts for your loved ones. It is fun strolling in this area , watching the view of Niigata City and looking at the Niigata specialties on display.
Tall Standing Toki Messe By Vegao in Wikimedia commons
Not just in the building, the work of wonderful architecture has been displayed also in the premises outside including the garden area. Modern art technology had been used to create monuments and landmarks in the area that makes Toki Messe not just a well equipped business facility but a wonderful sight seeing destination in Niigata City.
If you are on a budget trip to Niigata good news for you is the entrance to this site is free.
Address: 6-1 Bandaijima, Chuo Ward, Niigata, Niigata Prefecture 950-0078
Toki Messe takes about 20 minutes on foot from Niigata Station Bandai Exit.
Transit bus ¥210
There is a "Sado-Kisen Line" bus stop at 'Toki Messe'. Also, Niigata City Loop Bus has a stop 'Toki Messe'.
It takes about 15 minutes from Niigata Station Bandai Exit.