Yahiko Station's architecture is fashioned in much the same style as that of Yahiko Shrine that is located only about 5 minutes on foot from here. From here you can also see beautiful Yahiko park, the shrine, and use the rope way. There are also lots of good places nearby for eating.
This is a good time to see Yahiko Park which is a popular site for viewing the color changes of the leaves in Autumn. In Japan, people culturally notice, appreciate, and enjoy the changing of the seasons. So, in Autumn it's "koyou" (meaning the color changes of the leaves).
This is the easiest way to the top from the bottom near Yahiko shrine. First, you can take
a short free bus ride from Yahiko shrine to the bottom of the rope way. Then you spend the next few minutes enjoying the ride and the view to the top.
The ride to the top costs 1,200 yen for adults per ticket.
While in Maki town, I always try to stop by Regalo, on old route 116 - almost a straight shot from Niigata city, maybe twenty minutes by car - for some really good home-style ice cream. There is also a Regalo in Bandai City, but the one in Maki always tastes fresher for some reason - I believe they make the ice cream there in Maki. The shop stands at a small crossroads in the NW corner of Maki, among a few large rice fields. The shop's grounds are well laid-out, with a few flowers and shrubs amid the two main buildings. There is always plenty of parking, and usually plenty of other customers as well. Be warned, some of the flavours are a bit unusual, but they are always just what the name says - such as the pumpkin.
Now, once you have had your fill of fresh ice cream, keep on down the road - I recommend getting back on the expressway and following the map pdf I included - to a truly unique aquarium gallery, Aqua Design Amano. A friend of mine introduced me to the gallery a couple of years ago, and I try to steer others to the place whenever I can. Their gallery/head office is a beautiful collection of some of their custom tanks and the standard tanks and setups.
Here is a great place to take in the view of the Niigata plain and the Sea of Japan. Good to catch the sunset, too.
This time of year Yahiko is bustling with activity and tourists. On this day, they have Yahiko's Chrysanthemum's Festival (Kiku matsuri).
Sakata Park appears to be a wildlife refuge. It's a beautiful area and worth visiting at different times during the year. It's located in Maki town (Makimachi).