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  • Nature and Best Views

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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  • Places and Activities

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
  • Places and Activities

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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  • Nature and Best Views

Omigawa Jade Gorge

 A National Natural Monument. Massive boulders of pristine white jade. The Omigawa Jade Gorge is a National Natural Monument where over 40 large boulders of pristine raw jade can be found. The Omigawa Jade Gorge is not as easily accessible as the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge, so be prepared to hike a little bit. The sheer size and beauty of the jade boulders here make it worth it! The Omigawa and Kotakigawa Jade Gorges are the two largest jade deposits in Japan. The jade in these gorges are considered national treasures and visitors are welcome to explore, touch and even climb on the jade boulders here.  The Omigawa Jade Gorge is a National Natural Monument of Japan The collection, damage or abuse of minerals, plants or animals is strictly prohibited. We ask for you cooperation in preserving our natural and cultural heritage for all to enjoy.

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  • History and Culture
  • Places and Activities

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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  • History and Culture

Mizuho Kannondo Temple

The Mizuho Kannondo Temple is a Buddhist temple that is said to have been founded in the 8th or 9th century. The temple has been rebuilt several times in its history and the current building dates to 1768. The temple actually consists of two buildings. The larger building in front of the main gate is a worship hall used for conducting services and festival performances. Atop the hill behind the worship hall is the much smaller 'Kannon-do' where the temple's priceless wooden statue of the bodhisattva Kannon is kept. Kannon is a spiritual figure in Japanese Buddhism who is said to be the embodiment of compassion and mercy. It was carved sometime during the Fujiwara period (894 - 1285) from a single cherry tree and stands at a little over 1.5 meters in height. It is missing hands, but it is unclear whether this was part of the design or a result of damage. The statue is registered as a Nationally Important Cultural Property of Japan and is traditionally only displayed to the public once every 33 years. However, it is also displayed every May 1 during the Mizuho Spring Grand Festival. (※In the event of inclement weather, the statue may not be displayed)

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  • Nature and Best Views

Shiraike Pond Forest Park

Gorgeous Autumn Colors and Hiking Trails Shiraike Pond, located just above the community of Kijiya alongside the road to Renge Hot Springs, offers beautiful views of the mountains and trees reflected in its surface. Swamp lanterns growing around the trails are a sight to behold in early spring while in autumn the colors of the leaves cannot be beat!

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  • Places and Activities

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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  • History and Culture
  • Places and Activities

Chojagahara Archaeological Park

At the Center of the World's Oldest Jadeworking Culture The Chojagahara Archaeological Site was the site of a number of massive settlements over 5,000 to 3,500 years ago. The people who lived in these settlements collected jade from the nearby rivers and coast. Recognizing its durability and beauty, they used it in the crafting of tools and jewelry, eventually devloping into the first example of jadeworking known in the world. Today, the Chojagahara Archaeological Site is recognized as one of the largest neolithic sites in Japan's Hokuriku Region and is registered as a National Historic Site of Japan. The Chojagahara Archaeological Site is massive and it is estimated that not even 10% has been unearthed. A few of the dwellings have been rebuilt as they might have appeared millennia ago.

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  • History and Culture
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Kijiya Woodworking Village Museum

Preserving the story of a village of woodworkers Sitting along the road leading to Shiraike Pond and Renge Hot Springs, the mountain village of Kijiya once flourished as the center of a small woodworking and lacquerware industry. The people here harvested trees from the nearby mountains and created beautiful bowls, trays and other utensils which were highly prized in Itoigawa and beyond. This is even reflected in the village's name: "kijiya" means "woodworker" in Japanese. Unfortunately, in the 1930s cheaper imports from Asia began to become popular throughout Japan and many villages like Kijiya lost their livelihood. The local artisans were forced to give up their craft and instead pursue farming and forestry to make ends meet. The Kijiya Woodworking Village Museum seeks to preserve the story of these woodworkers and displays over 1,000 artifacts related to their work and livelihoods. Next to the museum, the 'Tochinoki' restaurant and produce shop sells locally made woodworking crafts to carry on the tradition of Kijiya Village. Make sure to try the soba noodles as well! Museum Admission Adults: 300 yen Under 18: 200 yen

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