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Urasa Station East side

5 Places Worth Paying a Visit in Urasa, Niigata

By Bidyaswar Huirongbam Sep 6, 2022

If you’re moving to Urasa in Niigata, or studying at the International University of Japan, this article might help you explore new places while in this area. 

How to Get to Urasa

Urasa is an area in Minamiuonuma, Niigata, Japan. It’s not a city like Tokyo or crowded other places, but a beautiful and charming place that gives you a rural, nostalgic feeling.

From Tokyo, by Shinkansen travel, it takes approximately 1 and half hours on the Joetsu Shinkansen to Niigata, and an extra 40 mins from the city of Niigata to Urasa on the JR Joetsu Local line. 

After moving to Urasa, I’ve enjoyed my experience of small-town life. It is a perfect escape from the overwhelming, face-paced city life where you can enjoy nature’s beautiful scenery. Sometimes some people might think small-town life is boring, but in my view, that was not true at all. Town life provides you with a lovely community, unlike the city. 

What to See in Urasa

Here are some of my favourite things to do and see in Urasa!

Urasa Bishamondo 

Bishamondo Hall

Photo Credit: Author

Urasa Bishamondo is located in the Fuko-ji Temple, about 5 minutes walk from Urasa Station’s west exit. It was built as a Betto-ji Temple (a Buddhist Temple attached to a Shinto Shrine) of Bishamondo Hall.

Fuko-ji is a temple of the Buzan school of the Shingon founded in 1221. You can see the famous Sanmon Tori (Nio-mon Gate) at the entrance, which was built in 1831.

Large candles line the corridor leading from the temple gate in front of the temple. At the end of the corridor, you’ll find an enshrined stone (Fudo Myoo). The temple was rebuilt in 1937 and has a wooden cooper roof. Photography is not allowed inside the hall.

Urasa’s Naked Man Festival at Bishamondo is one of Japan’s most unique festivals and is held here annually in March. During this festival, men wearing white loin cloths (they’re not naked!) and straw sandals carry huge candles. The main activities of the festival were chanting, shoving, pushing, wrestling, and throwing mochi (Japanese rice cakes).

Ikeda Memorial Museum

Ikeda Art Museum

Photo Credit- Bikash Bk

This museum, a 15 minute walk from Urasa Station, is an art museum where sports journalist Tsuneo Ikeda displays his cultural and sports collection which he accumulated via his connections with baseball. While working as a journalist, he met many athletes, not just baseball players, and the museum showcases items worn by many great players and images of them in action.

Other exhibits include Koizumi Yakumo’s works and paintings by Aizu Yaichi and Ragusa Tama (Kiyohara Tama). You can see everything within an hour.

The building itself is very beautiful, in perfect harmony with the trees, pond, and other natural features of the Yashiki Forest Park. The entrance fee is 500 yen for adults, so it is a good place to stop by for a break while walking around.

Yaironomori Koen

Yaironomori park

Photo Credit: Author

This park is located 13 minutes from Urasa Station. It has a huge green space with a stunning view of the surrounding hills. There are permanent BBQ sites set up with some tables inside the park. If you want a BBQ party with your friends or family, you can bring a grill, charcoal, and food for an enjoyable lunch.

There are a lot of fun activities inside the park, such as trampolines, climbing frames and other playground equipment. There are plenty of other attractions for kids.

Agricore Echigo Winery

Agricore Echigo Winery

Photo Credit: Author

Agricore Echigo Winery is located right next to Yaaironomori park, so it’s a great place to stop by after visiting the park. The winery has a tasting room and a gift shop where it sells its wine products and related souvenirs. To keep everything cool as it ages, they keep their wine in the basement.

There is a cherry restaurant right across the parking lot, where you can pair your food with the local wine. 

Mount Hakkai

A landscape view from Hakkaisan in urasa

A view from Mt.Hakkaisan, photo credit- Nitendra_singh

If you love hiking like me, this mountain is a great option for nature-lovers near Urasa. Hakkaisan is one of the 100 famous peaks in Japan, and you can climb it in a day.

There is a long ropeway ride up to one of the ridges, and from there, you can hike to submit. It is noticeably cooler up there, so we recommend bringing hiking gear. It is a great place to hike during summer, and you can ski there during winter. 

Visit Urasa For Some Small-Town Charm

Minamiuonuma may not be as well-known as other Japanese cities, but don’t let that fool you. Minamiuonuma is a quiet but beautiful city and a new tourist spot that is well worth a visit. If you want to get away from the crowded city, Minamiuonuma is a good place to go. 

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