Toyoko Inn Niigata Furumachi

7-1168-2 Kamiokawa maedori Chuo-ku, Niigata, Niigata Prefecture, 951-8068, Japan
Toyoko Inn Niigata Furumachi
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More about Niigata

Photos

Hiroko and I on the Shinano at nightHiroko and I on the Shinano at night

Big Swan in the backgroundBig Swan in the background

Royal Host - provider of mediocre serviceRoyal Host - provider of mediocre service

rock out of the sea -  Sado Islandrock out of the sea - Sado Island

Travel Tips for Niigata

Run around shooting your friends

by KevinMichael

I'm calling this a sport because we do a lot of running, ducking, diving for cover, and just about anything you can think of to avoid being shot. For lack of a name let's call this sport "running around shooting your friends". For those of you who've never tried this please don't knock it (it's not as dangerous as paint-ball which I'd probably do if I were living in the states).
The guns we use shoot small plastic balls (we use biodegradable ones) that sting like flicking yourself with your finger. Whereas in America you'd probably get killed for carrying one of these by a police officer using a real gun, we don't have to worry about that here in Japan.

The game is fun. We usually break up into teams of 2 of 20 people each and play various versions of capture the flag or whatever. The action is fast and the average person only lasts about 5 minutes before getting shot. SO, like real warfare if you wouldn't last very long. Once your 'dead' you usually have to wait about 10 to 15 minutes until the survivors on one team have accomplished the mission. You need to buy, rent, or borrow a battery powered or pressurized gas powered 'gun' or 'guns'.
There are a few stores here in Niigata were you can buy most of the equipment (one of which is Media Power near Josco).

You will also need ammo for your 'gun' or 'guns'. Please buy the Earth-friendly biodegradable type.

It's also a good idea to wear colors that won't make you stand out. And wear clothes you don't mind getting thrashed.

Bring some good shoes for running.

Finally, you must wear safety googles.

Niigata Sakura Viewing (2nd or 3rd week of April)

by KevinMichael

"Hakusan Shrine's Cherry Trees"

Hakusan Shrine has many cherry trees (sakura) and and a good number of peach trees (momo) as well. The peach trees also start blooming around the same time in spring as that of the cherry trees. Hakusan also has the willow version of cherry trees (shidare zakura).

"The Sakura (cherry) trees in April"

Every year in April, Niigata's cherry trees reach full bloom for about a week.
For Japanese people, this is one of the markers for spring time and the
trees are cherished for their fleeting beauty which no sooner do they come into
full bloom and their flowers are blown away by the wind only a few days later.

"The Sakura (cherry) trees in April"

Typically, people like to have picnics around this time of year if the weather is good enough. Fortunately, this year although it rained heavily in the morning, the rain cleared up and let people enjoy the day under the cherry blossoms. However, by about 3:30 PM the temperature started dropping and it started to drizzle. The point is that enjoying the cherry blossoms can be a short lived event. It's best to plan accordingly.

"Sekiya Bunsui's cherry trees"

Our home is only a 2-minute walk from this area so we are able to enjoy the beauty of the cherry trees in this area almost daily while they're in bloom.

"Japan's unofficial national flower"

These Japanese cherry trees actually don't bare edible fruit. They are planted and adorn riverways, Japanese castle grounds, shrines, temples, and parks throughout Japan.

For a chance to view cherry trees in Japan in other areas and for a calendar of projected blooming periods check out this link:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011.html

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