262 Kms from Niigata
Shibuya:Well, Shibuya is always the place to start! It’s one of the main shopping centers in Japan, as well as home of the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world: The Shibuya Scramble (the one that you see in many Hollywood movies like 'Lost in Translation', 'Resident Evil' and more).
259 Kms from Niigata
ShinjukuAbout Shinjuku, let me start by saying that Shinjuku Station is the world's busiest railway station, handling more than two million passengers every day. TWO MILLION !!!Like Shibuya, Shinjuku is also a business hub.. infact a bigger one! There are innumerable skyscrapers - west of the station is Shinjuku's skyscraper district, home to many of Tokyo's tallest buildings, including several premier hotels and the twin towers of the Metropolitan Government Office, whose observation decks are open to the public for free.
281 Kms from Niigata
Culture and saké: Takayama (2 days) Kampai! Takayama is home to dozens of saké breweries, and is the place to sink down jugs and jugs of this rice-based beverage. If you don’t like the taste that much, try and start with some warm saké after a day of exploring — nice, right? To fill up the day before boozing hour, visit the morning markets, explore the old town on foot, and snap pics of the traditional wooden houses and old-school shops. Or maybe spend an afternoon hanging out in a cafe, sipping on tea and writing postcards while listening to jazz records. Oh, and make sure you hop on the train back to Tokyo during daylight hours: the ride is stunning.
222 Kms from Niigata
Matsumoto is a lot more touristy when compared to Hakuba as it is the second largest city in the Nagano Prefecture. Home to one of the oldest castles in the country along with some excellent shrines and museums, it morphs into a cherry blossom heaven during the months of March and April. While it is more of a university town, the traditional edibles available in Matsumoto, especially the 'Soba noodles', are loved by locals and travellers in equal measures.
153 Kms from Niigata
Nikko is most famous for Toshogu Shrine..Also Nikko offers scenic,mountainous landscapes,lakes,hot springs and hiking trails.I took a day trip,but it's not enough to see all the places around Nikko.Spend a night or two.I visited the Shrine area and the kegon waterfalls.The temple area in Nikko have three main Shrines:Toshogu,Rinnoji and futarasan. The Carvings in Toshogu is just magnificent.These all temples are walking distance from Shinkya bus station.How to reach:-I took a Yamabito Shinkansen(bullet train) from Tokyo to Utsunomiya(50 min).From Utsunomiya changed for the JR Nikko line to Nikko station.(45 min)From Nikko station,took a bus for Shinkya station(5 min).After reaching,I was walking towards Nikko Shrine area(known as Nikko National park). Suddenly I stopped as I saw Shinkyo bridge it is just beautiful view up the river.It was raining and the weather was awesome..Then I walked towards the famous Toshogu Shrine..the lavishly decorated Shrine complex consists of more than a dozen buildings set in a beautiful forest.you will be amazed to see countless wood carvings and gold leafs.It took me almost 2 hrs to visit the Shrine buildings from three monkeys carvings to Honjido hall(crying dragon). You cannot use camera in Honjido hall. there is a large painting of a dragon on the ceiling of the hall.you can hear ringing sound when two pieces of wooden are clapped directly under its head.that's why it is called as crying dragon.The clapping of the wood is frequently performed to visitors by a priest.In the main building there is a hidden praying hall.To the right of the main building there is gate which leads u to the famous Carvings of sleeping cat.There are other Shrines near by Toshogu shrines.The area is covered by Big Trees.There u can see