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Visting Yamakoshi, Nagaoka – Japan’s Most Picturesque Village


All it is advisable to find out about visiting Yamakoshi, Nagaoka in your subsequent journey to Japan! The place to remain, issues to do and get round in our first-hand journey information.

Japan had all the time been excessive on our bucket record of dream locations to discover.

The tradition, the meals, the landscapes, the individuals – the whole lot we had heard steered that the Land of the Rising Solar was the most effective journey locations on the planet.

Once we first visited we have been overwhelmed by all of the wonderful locations to go to.

After all we did our greatest to tick off the highlights. Tokyo and Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, and fairly just a few extra locations in between.

There’s little question that the cities of Japan are wonderful. Futuristic but historic, with numerous actions and sights to get pleasure from.

We’ve all the time been extra into the quieter locations of a rustic, although, so after we had our city-fix, we headed out into the countryside.

On the east coast of Honshu is the Niigata prefecture, residence to the cities of Niigata and Nagaoka.

An idyllic area proper on the Sea of Japan, the Niigata prefecture additionally has some gorgeous villages and smaller cities hidden up within the hills.

Once we took the prepare from Yokohama throughout to Nagaoka, we made positive to move up into the mountains and go to one of many actual highlights of Japan, Yamakoshi.

Discovered within the Koshi district, Yamakoshi is residence to terraced journey fields, distinctive delicacies, pleasant locals and even alpacas!

It’s additionally the placement of a devastating earthquake that destroyed the village, forcing a whole bunch of individuals to desert their properties for years.

However in that story lies some inspirational tales, which could be found on a go to to the museum and cultural centre.

Yamakoshi shortly grew to become our favorite place throughout our 3 weeks in Japan, and we couldn’t imagine so few vacationers make it out this fashion.

In the event you’re searching for a improbable off-the-beaten-path vacation spot in Japan, don’t miss out on stopping by Yamakoshi in Niigata for a day or two.

Yamakoshi Nagaoka Houses
Conventional homes in Yamakoshi.

The Finest Issues to Do in Yamakoshi

We took the bus from Nagaoka to Yamakoshi early within the morning and ended up spending a 1.5 days and one evening within the village.

Throughout that point we managed to take a look at among the finest issues to do in Yamakoshi, due to our wonderful information, Mr Inoue from the native vacationer workplace.

The great thing about being in Yamakoshi isn’t about attempting to jam in as many actions as doable, however reasonably to take your time and benefit from the attractive surroundings.

Here’s what we received as much as within the village, and what we advocate you do by yourself go to if in case you have a day or two.

READ MORE: Take a look at our final Japan journey information that can assist you plan your subsequent journey!

Hire an E-Bike and Discover the Village

When you arrive in Yamakoshi, your first level of name ought to be the native tourism workplace.

Apart from being stuffed with wonderful details about what to do on the town (and an excellent museum in regards to the earthquake, which we’ll discuss within the subsequent level), it additionally serves the centre to hire e-bikes, and even an electrical rickshaw.

E-bikes are an effective way to discover the Yamakoshi village, as it’s fairly hilly and could be extremely popular in the summertime.

Having that further little help does wonders when driving uphill or on the flats, which means you possibly can peddle for longer and see extra sights in a shorter period of time.

The pleasant workers within the vacationer centre will fortunately offer you a map and instructions on the very best locations to go to in your e-bike, together with the place the very best viewpoints are.

If you’re fortunate they could even have the electrical rickshaw prepared and obtainable, making for an excellent quicker environmentally-friendly approach to discover Yamakoshi.

Yamakoshi E-Bike
Jarryd and his e-bike in Yamakoshi.

Study Concerning the Tragic Earthquake

On October 23, 2004, the big Chūetsu Earthquake struck the Niigata prefecture, registering 6.6 on the Richter scale.

It was the deadliest earthquake to hit Japan in a decade, and 68 individuals sadly misplaced their lives.

The injury was wide-spread, with trains being derailed, buildings collapsing and roads cracking open.

But it surely was the village of Yamakoshi that suffered the worst on that day.

All entry roads to Yamakoshi have been buried in landslides, leaving the village utterly remoted from the remainder of the nation.

The federal government launched a rescue mission, utilizing helicopters to evacuate the residents and take them to close by Nagaoka metropolis for refuge in makeshift emergency shelters.

The villagers thought that their evacuation could be for a day or two. Once they flew over what was left of their village although, being given a birds-eye view of the devastation, they realised it was far worse than they ever thought.

As soon as they left, it took 2.5 years to carry them again residence once more…

Within the tragedy although lies positivity, and all the group banded collectively to assist and defend one another on this time of want.

The story of the Chūetsu Earthquake shortly unfold round Japan, and folks supplied cash, meals and even their properties to assist the villagers who have been now left homeless.

As soon as Yamakoshi was rebuilt, the locals enthusiastically returned, prepared to choose up their lives as soon as once more.

Right this moment there are a selection of locations you possibly can go to in Yamakoshi to be taught extra in regards to the earthquake.

The primary cease is the Tradition Centre Oratal (the tourism centre), the place all the upstairs part has been was a museum and gallery devoted to the earthquake.

Seize a headset and participate within the free audio tour as you wander round and take a look at the exhibitions.

There may be additionally a retailer a brief bike journey away from city that has put in an exhibition in regards to the earthquake.

Ask the Tradition Centre for particulars of the place to search out it.

Earthquake Museum
The museum devoted to the tragic earthquake, situated upstairs of the vacationer data centre.

Watch Dawn or Sundown Over the Rice Paddies

By wanting on the most lovely images of Yamakoshi, you’ll instantly discover that journey fields are an enormous a part of what the village is understood for.

Carved into valleys and wedged between steep hills, farmers are likely to their journey crops surrounded by spectacular views.

The rice fields are attractive at any time of day, however specifically, seeing them for dawn and sundown actually brings out their magnificence.

Seize your e-bikes or rental automobile and discover a spot earlier than the solar drops to get some attractive photographs.

In our opinion although dawn is the very best time of day to take images, as you usually get mist rolling by the valleys.

If you need extra recommendations on bettering your pictures, try our journey pictures for novices information.

Yamakoshi Rice Field Sunset
A wonderful sundown over the rice paddies of Yamakoshi.

Go to the Yamakoshi Alpaca Farm

No journey to Yamakoshi is full and not using a go to to the alpaca farm!

By far the most important and most well-known Yamakoshi attraction, the alpaca farm is the right place to spend an hour or two with one of many cutest creatures on the planet.

It’s utterly free to go to, and the alpacas fortunately wander round their pen, sometimes coming proper as much as you for a pat.

There’s a donation field close by that you would be able to depart a tip, and if in case you have children you should purchase some meals to feed the alpacas.

  • Tackle: 169 Yamakoshi Takezawa, Nagaoka 947-0204, Niigata Prefecture
Yamakoshi Alpaca Farm
The tremendous cute alpacas discovered on the native alpaca farm!

Study About Yamakoshi’s Fabled Koi

Koi fish are extraordinarily revered all all over the world, and also you’ll discover them residing in large ponds in prosperous homes, temples and galleries.

Associated the frequent carp, the Japanese koi fish are really lovely, with vibrant colors and docile attitudes.

They’re additionally one of the vital costly fish on the earth, and Yamakoshi is residence to some legendary koi breeders.

In truth, the best price ticket ever paid for a single koi (near USD$2 million paid by a rich Chinese language businessman) was for a koi bred proper right here within the village.

No journey to Yamakoshi could be full with out getting up shut to those attractive decorative fish.

In the event you don’t wish to go to a koi breeder, you possibly can see them within the vacationer centre.

Koi Fish
A Japanese koi fish.

Yamakoshi Journey Information

The quaint, bucolic and picturesque village of Yamakoshi shortly grew to become our favorite place in Japan, and with so few worldwide vacationers visiting, it’s nonetheless properly off the crushed path.

If you wish to make a journey to Yamakoshi, we’ve put collectively this mini journey information that can assist you along with your plans.

From the place to remain and the place to eat, and even get there, listed below are our suggestions for visiting Yamakoshi, Nagaoka.

The place to Keep in Yamakoshi

Being such a small village, there aren’t truly loads of locations to remain. In the event you’re searching for high-end luxurious, this isn’t the place for you.

However when you love the thought of quaint guesthouses, and even staying in a log cabin, then you definitely’ll be pleasantly stunned.

Yamakoshi Log House

That is the place we stayed throughout our journey to Yamakoshi, and it was completely improbable.

This genuine Japanese log cabin is situated a brief drive away from the vacationer centre in a quiet a part of Yamakoshi.

While you step inside you’ll immediately be amazed on the intricate carpentry abilities used to place collectively these large items of timber.

There’s a kitchen, massive residing space, a bed room, a toilet, and a beautiful loft upstairs.

Beds are of conventional Japanese model, which means they’re mattresses and blankets that you just roll out proper onto the ground.

That is the web site, however it’s simpler to make your bookings by the group centre when you don’t converse Japanese, or to make use of Google Translate earlier than emailing them.

There aren’t any eating places close by, so be sure to carry your personal meals for dinner and breakfast.

Keep in Nagaoka

One various to staying in Yamakoshi is to really make Nagaoka your base, and do a day journey to the village.

There are many wonderful lodging choices in close by Nagaoka, from little guesthouses to high-end inns.

Take a look at the choices right here on Agoda for the very best locations to remain.

Yamakoshi Log Space
The inside of the attractive Yamakoshi Log House lodging.

The place to Eat in City

There aren’t loads of eating places in Yamakoshi, because it actually is only a farming village, however one place you possibly can’t miss out on is Tanada.

This cute little restaurant is a sustainable, farm-to-table spot that serves up recent native greens and delectable rice dishes sourced straight from the close by farmers.

Tackle: 山古志虫亀947, 947-0205 Yamakoshi, Nagaoka, Niigata

Local Yamakoshi Food

Methods to Get to Yamakoshi

Yamakoshi is kind of distant, however there may be common public transport that connects the village with the opposite main cities in Niigata prefecture.

We’ve included the Japanese translations of every step to assist make issues simpler for you.

All it is advisable to do is present a neighborhood individual the Japanese writing, and they’re going to gladly level you in the fitting path when you get misplaced.

Right here’s get to Yamakoshi utilizing public transport.

Public Transport

The very first thing it is advisable to do is journey to Nagaoka metropolis in Niigata utilizing a JR Move. Shopping for it on the Klook web site is the most cost effective place to get one.

From there head to the Nagaoka station, and make your approach to the Higachi Gushi bus cease ( 長岡駅東口バス停 ), which is the bus terminal outdoors the prepare station.

Discover bus cease quantity 7, that is the place your bus will depart from. It’s heading to the Koryu Shrine ( 越後交通バス 高龍神社行き )

Nagoka Bus
That is the bus you are taking from Nagaoka to the Muramatsu Kaitenjo bus cease.

We took the 07:35 bus from Nagaoka. Please notice that it isn’t a really common schedule, so we’d advocate getting this early one. To do that although you’ll have to arrive in Nagaoka the evening earlier than.

As soon as it arrives you possibly can double-check with the motive force that it’s the proper one by asking if it goes to Muramatsu Kaitenjo bus cease ( 村松回転場バス停 ).

The fare can be 330 JPY per individual, and you’ll pay both as you get on, or if you get off the bus.

We personally requested the bus driver utilizing Google Translate if he might tell us once we made it to Muramatsu Kaitenjo, and he fortunately obliged.

When you get to Muramatsu Kaitenjo, which takes about 25 minutes, you’ll discover a smaller minivan parked throughout the highway. That is the ‘Clover’ 121 bus that goes to Yamakoshi.

Clover Bus To Yamakoshi
The ‘Clover’ bus to take you to Yamakoshi.

This minivan truly waits for the large bus from Nagaoka to reach earlier than leaving, so that you don’t have to fret about lacking it.

About 25 minutes later you’ll arrive at Yamakoshi shisho ( 山古志支所バス停 ), which is correct outdoors the cultural centre and tourism workplace.

Rental Automotive

If you’re travelling round Japan in your personal automobile, then simply punch in Yamakoshi Nagaoka into Google Maps, and it’ll present you the best way.

We advocate hiring your automobile from the Rental Vehicles web site.

Yamakoshi Information Centre
The Clover bus parked outdoors the vacationer data centre in Yamakoshi.

Journey Ideas for Yamakoshi

Visiting Yamakoshi is a really completely different expertise to travelling to different, extra in style, components of Japan.

Whereas it’s stunningly lovely and properly price a visit, it isn’t on the primary vacationer path in any respect, and with that comes just a few challenges for a non-Japanese speaker.

Listed here are a few of our suggestions that can assist you take advantage of your time in Yamakoshi, Nagaoka.

Get in Contact with Hiroshi Inoue

The director of the Yamakoshi Orataru vacationer workplace, Mr Hiroshi Inoue may also help you with many sides of your journey.

Ask for him when you arrive on the centre, or name or e-mail him earlier than your journey.

  • Tackle: Ko-2835 Yamakoshitakezawa, Nagaoka, Niigata 947-0204, Japan
  • Electronic mail: [email protected]
  • Cellphone: +81-90-2222-5564

Cease by the Yamakoshi Orataru Centre

That is the primary vacationer and cultural centre in Yamakoshi and is the primary place you must go to if you arrive.

You’ll discover every kind of knowledge right here about issues to do in Yamakoshi, and the pleasant workers can help with reserving something you want.

They’ve e-bikes for hire, an electrical rickshaw, a small cafe with espresso, snacks and ice cream, memento stall, and a big koi exhibition.

  • Tackle: Ko-2835 Yamakoshitakezawa, Nagaoka, Niigata 947-0204, Japan

Obtain Google Translate and Google Maps/Maps.me

English isn’t broadly spoken round Yamakoshi, so to make your journey simpler, we advocate downloading the apps Google Translate and Google Maps, or Maps.me.

This manner you possibly can talk with locals as you go, and use the maps to search out your manner round.

Google Maps is nice if in case you have a wifi hotspot or native sim card. In the event you don’t have entry to information, use Maps.me, that are offline maps.

Carry Money and Provides with You

Services are very restricted in Yamakoshi, so be sure to come ready.

Fill up on money from an ATM in Nagaoka earlier than you arrive, and when you want meals, carry some snacks as properly.

DISCLAIMER: Our journey to Yamakoshi was made doable due to IGLOOO Inc. All ideas, opinions, and a whole bunch of images of rice fields taken are, as all the time, our personal.

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