The city of Niigata is the most important city currently situated on the Sea of Japan, a role that developed in the 1850s when Matthew Perry arrived. Trade with Russia and Korea was done through this port and was one of the first Sea of Japan ports opened to foreign trade.
The prefecture of Niigata currently stretches about 250 km along the coast of the Sea of Japan with a stretch of mountains and a coastal plain, as well as the Island of Sado. Considered part of either the Hokuriku or Koshin’etsu region, the prefecture is divided into four main parts – Joetsu, Chuetsu, Kaetsu, and Sado Island. It also holds the mouth of the Shinano River, the longest river in Japan.
The cities currently located in Niigata Prefecture include:
The districts and towns currently located in Niigata Prefecture include:
The primary and historically most important source of income in Niigata Prefecture is rice farming, with Niigata as the second ranking producer after Hokkaido of rice in Japan. Other rice industries including the sake, arare, senbei, and mocha industries are well known in Niigata, with Niigata sake ranking third in the country for production after Kyoto and Gunma. Additionally, Koi were originated in Niigata and are still bred and sold from here.
In addition agricultural industry, Niigata is well known for its crude oil sources, with multiple companies that produce kerosene heaters here as well. Metal manufacturing is also prominent with Tsubame and Sanjo especially providing a lot of the silverware used in Japan, along with wrenches and scissors.
Niigata Prefecture is well known for its wintertime attractions, including skiing and hot springs located in the mountainous regions of Myoko and Yuzawa. Another popular destination is located on Sado Island, accessible by ferry from Niigata City.