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Food in Niigata

Your One-Stop Guide to Delicious Niigata Prefecture Food

By Sonam Midha Jun 8, 2023

Do you love eating rice? Niigata Prefecture has one of the best and undoubtedly most delicious rice, Koshihikari, which has received an “A” in taste rankings for 28 consecutive years. 

Do you like sake? Due to excellent water, years of brewery experience, and a wonderful climate, Niigata prefecture offers fantastic sake. We recommend Hakkaisan, Kubota and Koshimokabai.

Do you like sushi? With the Japan Sea nearby to supply fresh fish and farms producing premium quality Koshihikari, you can imagine the quality of sushi that Niigata offers.

That’s not all! From beef and soba to edamame and sasadango, Niigata, a prefecture less than two hours away from Tokyo, is an untapped heaven for foodies. Read more on why food in Niigata is so good!

Why Is Rice in Niigata Prefecture So Delicious?

Koshihikari Rice Niigata

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Considered one of the best and biggest harvests of rice in Japan, Uonuma Koshihikari rice from Niigata has a reputation for being the tastiest and is recognized all around the nation. The reason for such perfect rice is the ideal temperature of around 25 degrees, a significant variation of day and night temperature, and the correct amount of sunlight required on the fertile Echigo soil. Rice is a star in Japanese cuisine. From sushi to onigiri to wateishoku (Japanese food), everything needs rice; if the rice is delicious, so are the other products using rice. When cooked freshly, one can eat this fragrant rice straight out of the rice cooker.

Fine Rice, Divine Sake

Rice Sake Niigata

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When high-quality rice is combined with pristine water from snow-covered mountains, it results in divine sake. Sake is enjoyed both chilled and warm depending on the season and comes in various varieties. For example, junmai-shu is made from only water and rice, while namazake has a clean flavor. 

The Signature Sweet – Sasadango 


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Sasadango is an iconic sweet of Niigata prefecture. It is dark green with a mugwort flavor and sweet red bean paste, all covered in bamboo leaves. The history of sasadango is connected to the Tango no Sekku festival, celebrated every year on the 5th of May. Traditionally, it was eaten on Children’s Day mainly, but now it is available all year round and has become one of the most popular souvenirs and signature desserts of Niigata. 

Niigata Is More Than Just Rice

Hegi Soba 

Soba Niigata Prefecture

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Giving you a tsuru-tsuru experience, hegi soba is best if you want to try Niigata’s specialty apart from rice products. It has a sleek texture, and eating it is a unique soba experience as the noodles are slightly green and often come in coils. The name comes from the wooden tray called a hegi they are served on. It is a must-try on your visit to Niigata prefecture. 


If you love seafood and plan to visit Joetsu for its fantastic beach and aquarium, then Suruten is a must-try. It is a squid tempura but unique in its own way because squid in suruten is salted overnight. Loved by children and adults, suruten is a typical side dish in bento boxes, and its combination with beer is often enjoyed at a local izakaya.

Poppo Yaki

Recently at the Urasa Bishamondo Naked Man festival, my friend introduced me to this sweet stick bread when I wanted to eat some light and not-so-sugary sweet made simply out of wheat flour and brown sugar. Poppo Yaki is precisely what I was looking for. I was happy that it came in a bundle because, of course, one is not enough. You can easily find freshly baked Poppo Yaki in a festival food stand in Niigata Prefecture and various specialty stores. 

Murakami Beef


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Murakami Beef refers to the beef prepared from Niigata Wagyu Beef ranked A-4 or B-4, raised in Murakami City, Tainai, or Seiki Kawamura Village. You can enjoy Murakami beef in the form of juicy yakiniku, sukiyaki, or shabushabu. The cattle are raised on high-quality Koshihikari straw and hay, resulting in Black wagyu beef being praised all over the country along with Kobe Beef. 

When Are You Visiting Niigata Prefecture?

Niigata Prefecture has a lot of things to offer to convince you to choose Niigata as your next travel destination. Every season is a beautiful season to come here. In winter, you can enjoy the snow as Niigata has some excellent Snow resorts and onsens like Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort, Ishiuchi Maruyama, etc. During summer, you can enjoy Joetsu Beach and Aquarium. You can enjoy Kiyotsu Gorge and Cherry blossoms around parks in autumn and spring, respectively. You can also plan a two-day trip to Niigata city and Sado Island. Good travel places with fantastic food are the best combination for holidays.

If you plan to visit here, feel free to share this post with your friends whom you want to visit Niigata Prefecture and read the articles suggested below to get more information to plan your trip smoothly.

Famous Japanese Sake – Why Niigata Sake is So Good

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