The tour moves along the coast, to Niigata prefecture, for its next two stops. Niigata is northwest of Tokyo, directly west of Fukushima on the Sea of Japan. It is a coastal prefecture but is home to ski resorts because of the presence of the Japanese Alps. The first Niigata event brings us into the mountains at the ski resort town of Yuzawa. Strawberry lovers can enjoy picking fresh Echigo Hime strawberries at the Yukiguni Agri Park and sake lovers can sample local brands at the sake museum.
The Jungyo will then stop in the city of Niigata, on the coast. The longest and widest river in Japan (Shinano) courses though the prefecture before emptying into the sea at this city. There is a long-running manga convention at the Toki Messe complex.
Yesterday, Asanoyama got to be feted as the hometown boy. Lucky Yutakayama hails from the city of Niigata so he’ll probably enjoy two days of attention.