Tokamachi City in Niigata prefecture is another collection of towns dotted along a valley and collected into one administrative block. It is one of the towns in the Snow Country Region and it has a very distinctive character. Its claims to fame include the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, great soba noodles, kimono cloth production (with a lovely kimono festival every spring), and the Tokamachi Snow Festival.
To find the best of the region a trip to the local tourist information center is highly recommended. The Tokamachi Tourist Information Center is a source of pride in the town at the moment as it has been recently refurbished. It is just inside Tokamachi Station and is full of interesting information, souvenirs and local facts. Works of art from the festival are on display, there are examples of locally produced cloth used in various ways and even a little restaurant if you need to grab a bite. There are leaflets in several languages, and English speaking staff available to answer any questions you might have or guide you to some of the sights of interest.
The winter festivals are worth a visit and the city have a really pretty promo video if you are keen for a taste of what some of them have to offer. The bridegroom throwing festival is an unusual one!
Hanging out in the mountains of Niigata. Arrived by accident and yet to leave. Seem to spend far too much time eating...