Apart from the great seafood you can eat here the beaches are certainly the main attraction of Joetsu/Naoetsu area. The better beaches are reached by train from Naoetsu Station towards Niigata city. You don't have to travel far to find a good one. This pic is of Unohama Beach where I went.
This beach was rather nice but I do have one beef... the 'stones' instead of lovely sand. Coming from NZ it is strange for me to go to a beach without sand. I have to say I certainly prefer sand to these small stones. I don't know if all the beaches in the area were like this one (I suspect they aren't) but nonetheless you may like to bring a deck chair to sit on. My towel was quite uncomfortable.
I was hungry and was walking around the main street where the festival was being held looking for a cheap Izakaya (family owned eating establishments, usually Yakitori) to eat in. I saw a restaurant that had the appearance of an Izakaya... walked in only to discover it was actually a Sashimi (raw fish) restaurant! It is a very good thing that I LOVE sashimi! Anyway, speaking to some people dining next to me I discovered that this restaurant is famous! The owner took great care of me asking me what kind of fish I liked. I had a HUGE oyster which was delicious!! So much for my cheap meal though... the bill came to 4,000 Yen! :-)
Joetsu, being a coastal town is a great place to try Sashimi. The restaurant I went to is really famous. There were people there from other prefectures especially to eat there!
Naoetsu is not really a nightlife kind of place! Luckily though, there was a festival on when I was there. Lots of drums, colour, noise and beer! It was a great night of entertainment... for free! :-)
Dress Code: Dress up in a happi coat and join in the fun!
When I travelled Joetsu I was coming from Niigata city in the north. I took a local train from Niigata to Nagaoka and changed trains to get to Naoestu Station (see picture) in Joetsu. This took 3 hours (approx) and cost over 2,000 yen. I wasn't in a hurry though so it wasn't necessary for me to take an express train which would cost double the...more
In Japan there are many summer festivals all over the country. Often they include fireworks displays. The one in Naoetsu consisted of large Yamakoshi floats with Taiko drums on them. The people wear Happi coats or Yukata and play instruments, dance around and generally yell a lot! I didn't join in but it was interesting to watch from the sidelines.
Not so much a danger but a warning to foreigners travelling in places like Naoetsu. This is a really small town and they don't get quite so many gaijin (foreigners) travelling through here as places like Tokyo or Kyoto. Be warned that people WILL look at you here and that you ARE strange :-)
This can have its benefits too, although I speak Japanese pretty well the people I met all assumed that I couldn't. Normally this can annoy me but on my little holiday it didn't. I let them indulge me at the restaurant with whatever the owner deemed I might like to eat (I didn't let on that I could read the menu!). I met these lovely people in the pic who were sitting next to me. The man spoke to me in broken English but I think it was fun for them to communicate with me and as I was alone it was nice to have someone to talk to!!
Sometimes it IS nice to be a gaijin in Japan :-)
Luggage and bags:
If you plan on doing a lot of train travel when you are in Japan then I suggest that you decline from bringing large, heavy suitcases. Most train stations in Japan have huge staircases (often no lift) so lugging a big suitcase is not an easy task. I suggest a good backpack would be a good choice.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Rainy Season is around June/July and rain weather gear is essential. I just use an umbrella but there have been times that I have got completely soaked!! I can't buy shoes in Japan so I have had to think carefully before I came about what kind of footwear to buy.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Most things you will need can be purcahsed here.
I think it is safe to say that the whole town is off the beaten path . It isn't a large city and certainly isn't one of Japan's main tourist attractions. All I can say is that I had a lovely time there. This pic is another one from the festival on the main street.