Winner’s Announcement

Mr. Damien Sams   NSW

Niigata is on the coast of the Sea of Japan, famous for its top quality rice, extreme snow fall during winter and gorgeous scenery that changes from season to season. With so much snowfall during winter, many Australians have already discovered Niigata’s powder snow and exciting slopes, but what about Niigata for the rest of the year? 

We invite you to help Niigata create a fantastic itinerary for those travelling to Japan and Niigata during the ‘greens season’ – the three other seasons before winter! 

Get to know all that Niigata has to offer on this page, answer some questions about what you would like to do during your visit to Niigata to enter to win a fantastic prize of return flights to Japan and accommodation in Niigata!


Niigata is known for its powder snow, especially in areas like Myoko and Echigo-yuzawa, and its location is at a convenient reach for popular snow areas such as Hakuba and Nozawa over in Nagano Prefecture. However people are yet to discover that Niigata is a fantastic holiday destination during all other seasons of the year, too. 

The landscape of Niigata is packed with nature – from mountains to seas to rivers and rice paddocks – the air is fresh and the sceneries are spectacular. To explore and enjoy Niigata in the great outdoors, you may enjoy cycling or hiking, joining a marathon, mountain climbing on land or in the waters, you can canoe, dive or even birdwatch. 

For those who love a taste of culture with a side of relaxation, Niigata has plenty of beautiful hot springs where you can relax after a day full of travelling or partaking in outdoor activities. As Niigata is one of the best producers of rice in Japan, you can expect some fabulous local food and sake (Japanese rice wine). 

Niigata actually has the most Sake brewers in Japan, and it is known as the biggest consumer of Sake as well, so you know the people of Niigata know Sake, and if you’re going to visit, a visit to a brewery or tasting the local flavours is a must! 

Cherry blossom season switches Niigata’s scenery from snowy white to lovely blush pink in Spring, and throughout the year there are many traditional festivals and cultural events held in the area you’ll definitely want to experience while there. 

Niigata is a place where the people are strongly connected to their surroundings and each other. Many are already discovering the wonders of Niigata that’s found in its people, in its many activities, culture and food. Will you be next? 


The Lucky Winner Will Win Return Flights to Japan and Accommodation Voucher for Two!

Return flights out of Sydney/Melbourne to Tokyo

Travel period: 1st of April – 30th of November, 2019

Prize ticket conditions

  • All seating is subject to availability at time of booking
  • Additional payment may be required should seating allotment by airline not be available on prize winner’s specified date
  • Amendments or cancellations are not possible once a booking has been finalized
  • Not included domestic transportation expenses
  • Please note the carrier of your return flights is subject to change

Please note travel within Australia and within Japan as well as fees for activities will not be covered by the prize.

Hotel Voucher for 3 – 4 Nights* (*Depending on the activities involved in the trip)

*Please note the accommodation won with the prize will be determined depending on room availability and the activities in the winning itinerary. It may be a hotel not listed below.


Ryugon is where you want to go to truly indulge in history and culture, as well as delicious food and divine hot spring baths. This hot spring inn was originally built 250 years ago from the home of a local Samurai family. This incredible building has withstood heavy snow falls and time, and the warmth and beauty of the woody interior has grown over time as well. If you want to immerse yourself in Niigata’s history and culture, this is the perfect place.
79 Sakado, Minami-Uonuma City, Niigata Pref.
Phone: +81-25-772-3470   


A 300 year old traditional Japanese inn, Minoya, stands proud in front of the Yahiko Shrine – the most famous shrine in the area. This place is made up of two towers – the Yume-no-yakata tower is where the gorgeous, traditional Japanese style guest rooms are located On the top floor, the 8th floor of this tower is where their natural hot spring, which is known to leave you with smooth and beautiful skin, is located. Over in the Hana-no-yakata tower is where you’ll find banquet rooms where you can feast on the most delicious food made from local produces.
Yahiko, Yahiko Village, Nishikanbara-gun, Niigata Pref.
Phone: +81-256-94-2010


Takahan is Niigata’s oldest traditional hot spring inn. It has watched over the area for many decades as the seasons changed both the townscape and the surrounding mountains. Takahan is also known as the place where novelist, Yasunari Kawabata stayed to write ‘Snow Country’. The free-flowing hot spring baths at the inn will have you soaking in high quality, warm beautiful natural hot spring water, which is a truly exquisite experience.
923 Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma -gun, Niigata Pref.

Sake Hotel Tamakiya

For those looking for a truly unique experience during their holiday in Niigata, Tamakiya is the perfect accommodation. Situated amongst hills, here you can relax and enjoy Niigata’s beautiful offerings in the form of sake, food and hot spring. Enjoy their fantastic selection of over 100 types of Sake that were carefully selected by top Sake sommeliers with their gorgeous food made from local produces. Their hot spring is also one of the top three in Japan; the water drawn comes from a 12 million old reserve of underground seawater.
13, Matsunoyama Yumoto, Tokamachi-shi, Niigata Pref.

Rankeisou Inn

The Rankeisou Inn is a lovely traditional Japanese accommodation in Sanjo – famous for blacksmiths, situated right by a mountain stream. They are known for their healing, mineral rich hot spring baths – the water was so healing that it was once used as medicine. There are three buildings that make up the inn, the main building is a national heritage building. You can enjoy their simple, yet delicious Japanese meals prepared with local produce and spring water while enjoying the soft atmosphere. The guest rooms face the beautiful mountain stream or the mountain itself – creating a serene atmosphere.
1450 Nagano Sanjo, Niigata, 955-0132

Experience Japan

At Experience Japan, we are able to provide you with the firsthand knowledge of what to see and do. Let us share our passion for this great destination with you!
For more information:


Check out all the fun you can have in Niigata below and select what you would like to experience in the questionnaire below. You will need to rate each experience on a sale of 1 to 5; 5 being what you want to most experience, 4 is something you’d like to experience, 3 being neutral, 2 is for something you’re not interested in and 1 being something you don’t want to experience. 


Sake Brewery Tour (Uonuma no Sato)

One of Niigata’s top tier Sake brand, Hakkaisan created a sort of a sake theme park, where you can tour 14 different breweries all located in the one area! Here you can taste test the original sakes made by the breweries for free! They also offer a free tour of the Hakkaisan tour. You can enjoy some local foods while at Uonuma no Sato, they have a soba noodle restaurant as well as a sweets shop where you can fuel up in-between the taste test.

Place: Chuetsu > Minami-Uonuma
Season: All year    Price: Free

Teradomari Fish Market Area

Niigata sits on the coast of Sea of Japan, so you can expect to find a lot of fresh and delicious seafood all over. However the freshest will be found at the Teradomari Fish Market, where you can buy fresh seafood of all kinds – shellfish, tuna, fish roe, you name it – at a very reasonable price, plus, you can have your purchased cooked on the spot! If you love seafood, this is certainly a must have item on your itinerary. 

Place: Chuetsu > Nagaoka
Season: All year

Edamame Picking

Edamame is a staple menu item at most Japanese restaurants in Australia. Why not get your hands dirty and pick your own edamame at a local edamame farm in Niigata. The edamame produced in Niigata is known for having a great depth of sweet and savoury flavour. Once you’ve finished picking, you’ll get to taste your own! The edamame at this farm are not sold on the market, so you can purchase some to take with you and enjoy through your holiday at a very reasonable rate to. 

Place: Chuetsu > Yahiko Village
Season: August
Time: Two Hours per session, must book ahead

Sado Wagyu Beef

Want to try something that even the locals don’t get to enjoy often? The Sado beef comes from cattle that is born and bred on the Sado island, the biggest island in Japan, a little bigger than Tokyo in the Sea of Japan. These cattle are also only fed with grains grown on the island and their numbers a very limited. The Sado beef is one of Niigata’s most prized produces and its rarity makes it taste that much better too. When visiting Sado island, trying this exquisite beef will make for an unforgettable experience.

Place: Sado Island
Season: All year
Price: Starting from 1,000 yen – 3,000 yen

Nishiki-goi Museum

The Koi fish (Japanese carp) are gorgeous creatures that come in festive, Japanese colours like red, yellow gold, silvery white and charcoal. Did you know that the most beautiful kind of Koi fish, the Nisiki-goi comes from Niigata? At Niski-goi museum, you can visit their display of the most majestic Koi fish. It is the only museum in the world where you can view these beautiful fish. You can even feed them or become an owner of one of the Nishiki-gois in the museum!

Place: Chuestu Area > Ojiya
Season: All Year
Price: 510 yen  Time: 30minutes


If you’re visiting Niigata in the warmer months then you’ve got to take a dip in the Sea of Japan. Hop on over to Sado island and see what beauty hides under the sea of Japan. The best way to explore the ocean would be to take a diving lesson. The waters of this area is known to have the highest clarity in Japan and you’ll get to see oceanic creatures like the truly unique Asian Sheepshead Wrasse.  

Place: Sado Island
Season: All year except winter


The best way to take in the great outdoors of Niigata just might be from upon a bicycle! A gorgeous, scenic route stretches over 32 kilometres along the coast of Niigata. This cycling and walking track was created on along an old railroad, and is known as the Kubikino-Cycling Road. You can enjoy views of the ocean, of the surrounding natural sceneries and even the Sado island. Feel the ocean breeze chase you as you take in Niigata under the sun.

Place: Joetsu > Myoko
Season: All year except winter
Price: Free  Length: 32km

Taiko on Sado

Sado Island is full of unique activities but perhaps one of the most interesting one to experience is Japanese taiko drumming. The world renowned Taiko ensemble, Kodo, began on Sado Island so the people of the island is well versed in the taiko’s rhythmic language. The sound of the Taiko is not only sonically pleasing but its deep sound and the motion of hitting the skin can be felt kinaesthetically as well. Take an hour long taiko lesson with Sado Taiken, and truly immerse yourself in traditional Japanese music. 

Place: Sado Island
Season: All Year
Price: 2,000 yen  Time: 1 hour

Echicgo Tsumari

Get your fix of modern Japanese culture and art at the Echigo Tsumari Art Trienniale event. Held at the Echigo Tsumari Art Field, this event is Japan’s largest international modern art festival, which has been held triennially since the year 2000. Located upon a abundant hill, the festival combines art with nature. It reminds attendees of the lovely connection that the people of Niigata has always had with nature, by allowing them to not only explore nature but to enjoy it with the help of creative works. 

Place: Chuetsu > Tokamachi
Season: All Year (Events change from season to season)

Hodare Festival

Hodare Matsuri is possibly the strangest traditional festival in Japan. Hodare in Japanese means male genitalia. The festival is held as spring rolls into Niigata and it is to pray to the divine masculine god for fertility. This festival has the largest wooden sculpture of male genitalia, and a selection of new brides get a ride upon the icon whilst local men carry it around the shrine area. It is truly a sight to see and one many wouldn’t want to miss out on! 

Place: Chuetsu Area > Nagaoka City
Season: Mid March

Summer Firework Events

There are two fantastic firework events in Niigata during summer that you’ll want to check out. The first is held in Nagaoka City, and this one is known as one of the top 3 largest fireworks in Japan that is held over two days. The other is held in Kashiwazaki City, and the fireworks are shot up into the sky from the ocean. Japanese fireworks are known to be a true spectacle.  With Niigata being rural, the night sky is already a gorgeous canvas with all the stars, watch the glittering fireworks light it up more.

Place: Chuetsu > Nagaoka, Chuetsu Area > Kashiwazaki
Season: 2 and 3 August, 26th July
Price: Free  Time: About 2 hours
Nagaoka Festival:
Kashiwazaki Festival:

Blacksmith workshop, Kaji Dojo

The Kaji Dojo in Sanjo City was created by the local blacksmiths who wanted to ensure the knowledge and techniques that have been developed and refined since the 14th century. There you can experience blacksmithing through their various workshops. You will need to make a booking for your choice of class. Under the master blacksmiths’ guidance, you can easily create anything from a paper knife to kitchen knife and even katana swords!

Place: Chuetsu > Sanjo
Season: All Year
Price: 1,000 yen  Time: 20 minutes

Oiran Costume

Niigata is one of Japan’s top three Hanamachis. Hanamachi is the word for ‘pleasure town’ and were traditionally where geisha houses were. At Gotokuya Jubei, a cafe in central Niigata, you can get dressed up in the style of the Oiran courtesans and have your picture taken. The Oirans were Japan’s ‘ladies of the evening’, and some of them even achieved celebrity status with fans wishing for a night together. The kimono that they wore were arranged seductively, and this experience will surely make for a sultry and unique cultural experience.

Place: Central Niigata > Niigata City
Season: All Year
Price: About. 10,000 yen
Time: About. 1 Hour (Make up & photoshoot included)

Geigi Show

If you’re hoping to get an experience of a Geisha(=Geigi) performance at a reasonable price, Niigata has got that covered too. Niigata City has set up a venue for such performances, known as the Niigata Hanamachi Chaya. The venue utilises a heritage mansion that once belonged to a merchant in the feudal period. The 50 minute performance is done in the local performance style of Furumachi-Geigi and the ticket comes with a nice cup of matcha and Japanese sweets.

Place: Central Niigata > Niigata City
Season: All Year (Check on website for specific dates)
Price: 3,000 yen  Time: 50 minutes

Japanese Zen Meditation on a high floor

Meditation can make us feel ‘zen’ and feel like we are floating above ground. In Niigata, you can join a meditation session 16 stories above ground and learn the ways of Japanese Zen meditation. These sessions run in early morning and night and are packaged with a vegetarian breakfast or healthy dinner that Buddhist monks eat daily. The session will be guided by a Buddhist monk too, giving you a very authentic Japanese Buddhist experience.

Place: Central Niigata > Niigata City
Season: All Year
Price: 1,500 yen (Incl. breakfast)
Time: About 1 hour



G’Day Japan! – “Dream it & win it! Your dream Niigata holiday giveaway!” Prize Draw Terms and Conditions

1. Entry to the “Dream it & win it! Your dream Niigata holiday giveaway” prize draw (the “Promotion”) is limited to residents of Australia aged 18 years or over, and anyone professionally connected with it is excluded from entering.

2. The Promotion is run by JAMS.TV PTY LTD, Suite 3704, Level 37, 1 Macquarie Place, Sydney NSW 2000, phone (02) 9252 6307 (the “Promoter”). All enquiries  regarding the Promotion should be emailed to

3. The Promotion begins at 12:00 (AEST) on October25, 2018, and ends at 12:00 (AEST) noon on January25, 2019, and entrants must complete and submit the survey form available on the G’Day Japan website at by then to be eligible for the prize draw.

4. Submission of an entry constitutes an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.

5. Only one entry per person is permitted.

6. No responsibility is accepted for late, lost, or misdirected entries. All entries become the property of the Promoter.

7. Incomplete, indecipherable or illegible entry forms will be deemed invalid.

8. The Promoter reserves the right, at any time, to verify the validity of entries and entrants and to disqualify any entrant who submits an entry that is not in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.

9. The winners will be drawn at random by the close of business on January31, 2019 at Suite 3704, Level 37, 1 Macquarie Place, Sydney NSW 2000.

10. Total value of the prize pool is $4,400.00, which includes return airfares from Sydney or Melbourne to Tokyo, and 4 nights accommodation for two people to be won by a total of ONE winner.

11. Winners may claim their prizes through the following methods: i) Requesting delivery by mail to a preferred postal address in Australia, or ii) Claiming in person from Suite 3704, Level 37, Gateway, 1 Macquarie Place, Sydney NSW 2000.

12. Entrants are eligible to win a maximum of one prize from the total prize pool.

13. Prize winners do not have to be present at the time or place of the prize draw.

14. The Promoter will take reasonable endeavours to announce winners by publishing their names and state on the G’Day Japan website within 3 months of them being drawn. The Promoter does not accept responsibility for the inability to make contact with a prize winner within a reasonable time after the end of the Promotion, in which case another winner will be selected and notified as set forth in these Terms and Conditions.

15. The Promoter’s decision as to the winners of the prizes will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to the conduct of the Promotion or otherwise.

16. The Prizes are not transferable, refundable or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash.

17. If a prize is unavailable, the Promoter, in its absolute discretion, reserves the right to substitute the prize with a prize to the equal value and/or specification.

18. The Promoter will not be held responsible for the loss, theft or damage to any prize after it has been awarded.

19. The Promoter reserves the right at any time to verify the eligibility and identity of any participant and to disqualify any participant who does not comply strictly with these Terms and Conditions.

20. Except for any liability that cannot be excluded by law, the Promoter (including its officers, employees and agents) excludes all liability (including negligence), for any personal injury; or any loss or damage (including loss of opportunity); whether direct, indirect, special or consequential, arising in any way out of the Promotion, including but not limited to, where arising out of the following:

(a) any technical difficulties or equipment malfunction (whether or not under the Promoter’s control);

(b) any theft, unauthorised access or third party interference;

(c) any entry or prize claim that is late, lost, altered, damaged or misdirected (whether or not after their receipt by the Promoter) due to any reason beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter;

(d) any variation in prize value to that stated in these Terms and Conditions;

(e) any tax liability incurred by a winner or entrant; or

(f) use of the prize.

21. Each participant indemnifies and keeps indemnified the Promoter against all claims, losses, damages and expenses suffered by the Promoter or any third parties arising out of the breach of these Terms and Conditions by the participant, the conduct of the participant in the Promotion or the use of a prize.

22. If this Promotion is interfered with in any way or is not capable of being conducted as reasonably anticipated due to any reason beyond reasonable control of the Promoter, the Promoter reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to the fullest extent permitted by the law to

(a) disqualify any entrant; or

(b) subject to any written directions from a regulatory authority, to modify, suspend, terminate or cancel the Promotion, as appropriate.
23. Under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW), the Promoter must tell participants when it collects personal information about them and how it plans to use it. If a participant chooses to enter or take part in the Promotion, the participant will be required to provide the Promoter with personal information including but not limited to the participant’s name, phone number and email. The Promoter collects participants’ personal information in order to conduct the Promotion.

24. A request to access, update or correct any information should be directed to the Promoter through If the participant would prefer that the Promoter does not use the participant’s details in the way outlined in these Terms and Conditions the participant should contact the Promoter.

25. Entrants may receive email communication to the email address used to register from the Promoter. This may include promotional emails from the Promoter and any other communication will only come from the Promoter.

NSW Permit Number LTPS/18/28677


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