Writer: Kim

Photo of Kim

Kim is an Australian who has lived in Japan for the last five years - both in the heart of Tokyo and the midst of Niigata’s snow country. She is an avid traveler, and has ticked 37 out of 47 prefectures off her list (with constant plans in place to see the rest of them). She’s always in search of green tea and great gardens – but promises that she’s not your grandma in disguise.

Traditional Tea and Wagashi in the Heart of Tokyo: The Kosoan Tea House

From all outside appearances, Kosoan looks like it could just be a residential home. It’s also a little tricky to know if you’re in the right spot, save for a small wooden plaque with the business name and the word “entrance” with an arrow to guide your way. It’s worth the effort to find it though, since once you follow that arrow you’ll be transported to a spot of peace and tranquillity despite still being in the heart of the metropolis.

15 Things to Do in Shimane

Shimane Prefecture sits on the southwestern portion of Japan's main island, and is the perfect spot to visit if you're looking for an off the beaten path travel experience. Often overlooked by visitors in favor of better known destinations, the region has culture, nature and history by the bucketload – just without the massive crowds to battle!

Winter fireworks in Nagaoka, Niigata, photo by Joi Ito

Top Things to Do in Niigata Prefecture

Easily accessible from Tokyo via the Joetsu Shinkansen, there are plenty of reasons to pay this part of the country a visit - and not just for the bucketloads of winter activities! Wondering what Niigata has to offer? Here are 15 of the best things to see and do in this part of Japan.

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