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Fossa Magna Museum

Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark's Information Center. Museum of Jade and the Fossa Magna. Opened in 1994 in Itoigawa's beautiful Miyama Park, the Fossa Magna Museum tells the story of the birth of our planet and the Japanese Islands through mineral samples collected throughout Itoigawa and features exhibits on Itoigawa's jade, limestone, the Fossa Magna, Mt. Yakeyama and more. In March 2015 the museum was reopened after extensive renovations. Visit us and discover Itoigawa's exciting Geological Story, over 500 million years in the making! ●Fossa Magna Museum ・General (18 and older): 500yen ・Under 18: Free ●Joint Admission to Chojagahara Archaeological Museum (5 min walk from Fossa Magna Museum) ・General (18 and older): 600yen ・Under 18: Free ※100 yen discount to groups of 20 or more ※Free admission for guests with disabilities ●Fossil Valley Activity ・300 yen for 2 hours ・Includes equipment rental ・Limit of five fossils per person ・Closed in Winter Season

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Hisuien Gardens & Jade Art Museum

A secluded Japanese garden decorated with jade A 70 ton boulder of cobalt jade greets you as you enter the gate to this beautifully-landscaped Japanese garden. Designed by acclaimed landscaper Kinsaku Nakane, the beauty of this garden changes with the season. Stroll the multiple paths around the garden to enjoy the showy flowers of spring, rich greens of summer, or vibrant leaves of autumn. No matter what season you visit, you will be absolutely stunned by the amount of beauty packed into this small space. Be sure to visit the Museum of Jade Art, located near the exit of the garden, to appreciate its large exhibit of jade sculptures, featuring both local and imported jade. Admission Adults: 500 yen Under 18: 300 yen Joint Admission with Tanimura Art Museum & Gyokusuien Garden Adults: 800 yen Under 18: 500 yen

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Tanimura Art Museum & Gyokusuien Gardens

Buddhist Artwork, Traditional Japanese Gardens & Modern Architecture The Gyokusuien Gardens opened in 1981. Designed by acclaimed landscape architect Kinsaku Nakane, the gardens use the natural background to evoke a scene of two rivers flowing from the mountains in a serene, secluded setting. Enjoy viewing the gardens from the adjoining tea house or the hillside pavilion. Beside the gardens, the Tanimura Art Museum opened in 1983. The museum features the Buddhist artwork of wood sculptor Seiko Sawada who is considered by many to be Japan's greatest modern sculptor of Buddhist artwork. Even the museum itself is a masterpiece of modern architecture designed by renowned architect Togo Murano. It was among the last buildings he designed before his passing and is considered a perfect example of Murano's personal style of Brutalist architecture. Travel along the corridor on a pilgrimage from the profane to the sacred and cleanse your mind and soul in this truly unique museum. ◆Tanimura Art Museum & Gyokusuien Gardens  Adults: 500yen  18 and under: 300yen ◆Joint Admission with Hisuien Gardens  Adults: 800yen  18 and under: 500yen

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Takanami-no-Ike Campgrounds

Camp in the Hakuba Foothills Near the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge These campgrounds are located beside the beautiful Takanami-no-Ike Pond, offering stunning views of Mt. Myojo and access to hiking trails, the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge and more! The campgrounds are well-equipped with an on-site restaurant, shop, hot showers, flushing toilets and other amenities! It's a great place to escape to nature without going too far off the grid. Campsite Information Tent Sites: 53 Site Usage Fee: 1000 yen (free with tent rental) Amenities: 3 cooking stations 2 fire circles 2 restrooms (flushing toilets) 4 showers (heated) Picnic tables and chairs On-site restaurant & shop Hand carts available for use Free WiFi available Rentals: Tent: 2,000 yen (fits 6) Boat: 1,000 yen / 30 min Fishing Rod: 300 yen Frisbee: 200 yen Ground Golf: 300 yen / game Firewood: Firewood: 520 yen / bundle Charcoal: 520 yen / bag Notice: No cellphone reception  No electrical outlets 50 m walk from parking lot to campsites

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Gekkazan Kaneko Azalea Garden

Dazzling Sea of White and Pink Located on a hillside on 5,500 square meters of private land, the Kaneko family have cared for the 3,500 azalea plants here for two generations. Each May, this hillside bursts into a brilliant display of white and pink azaleas creating a beautiful flower-filled landscape in tune with the natural surroundings. The view of Itoigawa and the Sea of Japan from the top of the hill is not to be missed! ※Note, the Kaneko Azalea Garden is located in the garden of a private home, but the owners have been kind enough to open it to the public. Please be mindful of their privacy and property.

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  • History and Culture
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Aramachi Wisteria Festival

Wisteria flowers blooming in a historic community The community of Aramachi has long had a fascination with wisteria flowers. The nearby Tsukimizu-no-Ike Pond has been famous for its wild wisteria for centuries. What started as a private practice of growing ornamental wisteria flowers blossomed over time into a full-fledged festival, with dozens of wisteria flowers blooming on either side of Aramachi's Main Street. Each plant is cared for by local residents who use the festival to showcase their work. The flowers are judged and awarded medals, which the residents proudly display. The festival starts in early May and runs for about two weeks. While the exact timing of the blooms varies from year to year, the time around the 10th of May is usually the best time to enjoy them.

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Nou Hakusan Shrine Spring Grand Festival

Centuries Old Dances in the Light of the Setting Sun  The Nou Hakusan Shrine Spring Grand Festival (Nou Festival) is held every April 24th at Nou Hakusan Shrine in Itoigawa City's Nou Region. It began in the 15th century and centers around 11 bugaku, a type of ceremonial Japanese court dance.  The festival starts with the Shishimai or Lion's Dance. Two men dressed as mythological lion dance around in front of the festival procession as it makes its ways into and around the shrine grounds.  Starting around noon, the festival explodes with energy as the Running of the Shrines begins. Three mikoshi portable shrines are carried on the backs of teams of young men who run them in circles around the shrine grounds to ceremonial music.  As the atmosphere calms following the Running of the Shrines, the first bugaku dancers take the stage. 11 different bugaku court dances are performed by adults and children, some as young as 4. These dances culminate in the dramatic 'Ryo'o-no-Mai' dance performed in the light of the setting sun.

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Nou Hakusan Shrine

Maritime Shrine with 2000 Years of History While its exact date of founding is lost to history, shrine records state that Nou Hakusan Shrine was founded over 2000 years ago during the reign of Emperor Sujin, 10th emperor of Japan. The current main sanctuary (honden) of Hakusan Shrine was built in 1515 and is a Nationally Registered Important Cultural Property. The shrine contains a number of relics of Hakusan Worship and is a bridge to the Nou Region's ancient history. The Itsukushima Shrine on nearby Benten Rock is considered a satellite shrine of Hakusan. Despite being dedicated to Shinto worship, the shrine also houses several important Buddhist relics, a remnant of the time when the lines between these two religions were blurred. The nearby Nou Museum of History and Folklore features a collection of tools and other artifacts from Nou's history. Sacred Water of Nou Hakusan Shrine Located behind the large worship hall is a sacred spring which flows from Mt. Oyama. This water is particularly delicious and is a popular source of drinking water for the locals. Spring Grand Festival The shrine's largest festival is held every year on April 24th. It features bugaku court dancing passed down over the centuries. This performance is unique to Hakusan Shrine and is registered as a National Cultural Property.

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Itoigawa Museum of History & Folklore

Collection of artifacts and artwork from Itoigawa's History Also known as the Gyofu Souma Memorial Hall, this museum's impressive collection of artifacts largely come from the private collection of the late local poet and scholar, Gyofu Souma. In addition to his writings and belongings, the collection includes artifacts collected from Gyofu's research into Itoigawa's history and the Niigata-born poet-monk Ryokan. The collection is so large that it cannot all be displayed at once, so the contents on display are always changing. Contact us for information about upcoming exhibits!

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Sea of Japan Sunset Lookout

Panoramic views of Itoigawa's Sea, Downtown and Mountains Itoigawa Station is the closest shinkansen station to the Sea of Japan, and this is the perfect place to see it! Use the pedestrian underpass to cross the highway and climb the steps to enjoy panoramic views of the Sea of Japan and Itoigawa. On clear days, you can see as far as Noto Peninsula and even Sado Island! It's also a great location to see the Japanese Alps that tower over the city to the south.

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