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  • Nature and Best Views

Fudotaki Falls

Sacred waterfalls deep in the mountains This 70m tall, 3-tiered waterfall is the focus of an ancient legend about a dragon-god said to live in its basin. It's said that if the basin is dirtied or goes cloudy, the valley below will flood with the dragon's wrath. The area around the waterfall features a park, footpath, campground and more and is a popular place to escape the heat during summer.

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  • Places and Activities
  • History and Culture
  • All Seasons

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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  • History and Culture
  • Spring

Itoigawa Fighting Festival

Fighting Shrines Officially known as the Amatsu Shrine Spring Grand Festival, this festival can be seen every April 10 & 11 at Amatsu Shrine, a short walk from Itoigawa Station. Centuries old, the festival is held to pray for a bountiful harvest and good catch of fish in the year ahead. The festival's popular name, the Itoigawa Fighting Festival, comes from the stirring omikoshi fight held in the morning of April 10 between two teams representing the local districts of Teramachi and Oshiage. Carrying 600 kilogram omikoshi shrines, the teams chase each other around the shrine grounds, clashing their shrines together in a dramatic display of strength. The shrines are often damaged in the fray as nearby spectators run for cover. After roughly an hour of fighting, the shrines are brought before the priest who is said to consult with the local gods to determine the winning team. It is said that the two shrines represent male and female gods, and so the fighting of the shrines is not really fighting, but a display of fertility which blesses the participants with large, prosperous families. It is also said that the winning district predicts the season ahead: if Oshiage wins, it will be a good catch of fish, if Teramachi wins it will be a bountiful harvest. Bugaku Court Dances As the dust settles and the crowds calm, the attention moves to the large stage in the middle of the shrine grounds. On this stage, local children and adults perform 10 ancient bugaku dances. Bugaku are special, elegant dances which were traditionally held at events hosted by the Imperial Court or at important temples and shrines. The unique bugaku dances performed during the Amatsu Shrine Spring Grand Festival have been handed down over the centuries by local families and today are recognized as a Nationally Important Cultural Folk Property. Don't miss an opportunity to experience the powerful elegance of this ancient tradition. April 10 April 11 10:30 a.m. Arrival of the Gods 1:00 p.m. Bugaku Court Dances 11:00 a.m. Running of the Shrines 5:30 p.m. Festival End 11:30 a.m. Fighting of the Shrines     12:30 p.m. Running of the Shrines     1:00 p.m. Bugaku Court Dances     5:30 p.m. Festival End    

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  • History and Culture
  • All Seasons

Amatsu Shrine

Amatsu Shrine is said to have been founded during the reign of Emperor Keikō, about 2000 years ago. The shrine is dedicated to the god Amenigishi-Kuninigishi-Amatsuhiko-Hiko-Ho-no-Ninigi-no-Mikoto  (or Ninigi for short!) Ninigi was the grandson of the sun goddess, Amaterasu. After the celestial kami took control of Japan from the terrestrial kami, Ninigi sent by his grandmother to establish a dynasty and plant the first rice fields. For this reason, worship of Ninigi is often closely related to the harvest. Amatsu Shrine's haiden--or worship hall--features an impressive thatched roof, typical of those seen in Japan's snowy region. The steeply pitched roofs allow the snow to naturally fall off the roof, preventing it from collapsing under the weight. Thatched roofs require regular maintenance and must be rethatched every few years, an expensive and time-consuming process, so it is rare to see buildings still using thatching in Modern Japan. Behind the worship hall is the main sanctuary--or honden--of Amatsu Shrine. It is flanked to the left by Nunagawa Shrine, dedicated to the worship of local goddess Princess Nunkawa and her husband, Ōkuninushi-no-Mikoto. Each April 10 and 11, Amatsu Shrine holds its Spring Grand Festival, the Itoigawa Kenka Matsuri--Itoigawa Fightinf Festival--in which two portable omikoshi shrines are rammed together in a display of strength and bravery.

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  • Places and Activities
  • History and Culture

Nou Museum of History and Folklore

Old-fashioned farmhouse exhibiting local farming tools and more This old farmhouse was relocated from the Nou Valley's Nakanoguchi district and renovated into a museum. Inside is an impressive collection of tools, goods and clothing once used by the people of the Nou Region. Admission Adults: 100 yen Under 18: 50 yen

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  • Places and Activities
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

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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  • History and Culture
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

The Salt Trail (Matsumoto Road)

Beautifully Preserved Section of the Ancient Matsumoto Road The Matsumoto Road, also known as the Salt Trail, was used in ancient times to transport salt and maritime products from Itoigawa to what is now Nagano Prefecture and Matsumoto City. Salt was vitally important in those days for preserving food to survive the harsh winters, especially for the people of Nagano, so this trade route was kept open for porters who carried their loads by foot or by oxen, even at the height of war between the two provinces. The section of the Salt Trail in Itoigawa's Ōno district is exceptionally well-preserved, showing the unique U-shaped road as it appeared when it was in use. It's a perfect place to slip back in time while enjoying a relaxing hike. Eagle-eyed travelers along this ancient trail will be able to spot a number of ancient sculptures, temples and other remnants of the old road.

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  • Places and Activities
  • Hands-on Experiences
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

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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  • Hands-on Experiences
  • Summer

Jade Gorge Fishing Park

Mountain Stream Fishing by the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge Just a minute drive from the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge, this fishing park is a popular place to enjoy trout and char fishing with friends and family! Rent a pole, basket and bait and get fishing!  There are cleaning areas and fire pits available so you can enjoy your catch right here in the park! Want to enjoy some fresh trout, but not into fishing? Don't worry! You can order freshly grilled trout, too! ■Max Occupancy: 30 Rental & Other Fees: ・Fishing: 2,200 yen (Up to 5 fish) ・Grilling: 100 yen per fish Freshly Caught & Grilled Fish: ・Salt-grilled Trout: 500 yen

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  • Nature and Best Views
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Takanami-no-Ike Pond

One of Itoigawa's most dazzling sights! Located near the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge, this pond is at an elevation of 540 m and is famous for the legends of a massive fish said to live in its waters. The area around the pond features walking trails, campgrounds, ground golf, boat rentals, a restaurant and more! Rental Fees: Boat (For 3 People):  1,050 yen for first 30 min, then 500 yen per 30 min Fishing Pole: 300 yen (half day) Ground Golf: 300 yen Ground Golf Equipment: 200 yen Frisbee: 200 yen Barbecue Supplies: Logs: 520 yen per bundle Charcoal: 520 yen per bag Visit here for information about the campsite.

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