What’s the most important food in the everyday diets of Japanese people? The answer is rice, and no prefecture does it better than Niigata Prefecture (新潟県, Niigata-ken) and their Koshi Hikari brand when it comes to rice. And that also means you can find some of Japan’s top sake there too.
Niigata is also one of the top hot springs and winter sports destinations as well; the popular Naeba Ski Resort doubles as the host of the Fuji Rock Festival (Japan’s largest outdoor music event) in late July. The Nagaoka Festival almost immediately after it is one of the three biggest fireworks displays in Japan.
Niigata's beaches are wildly underrated, often overlooked at the expense of those on the Pacific coast. The idyllic island of Sado is famous for being the breeding spot of the rare Japanese crested ibis and for its gold mine.