Japan's longest river, the Shinano, runs through the center of Niigata City. There are four bridges connecting both sides of the river. The Bandai Bridge is the most famous of these bridges.
There is a fifth bridge being constructed north of Bandai Bridge and a tunnel across the mouth of the Shinano River. The bridge is being built to connect the center of the city with Niigata's bypass and to relieve congestion in the city. The new bridge will be called Ryuto Ohashi and is planned to open in time for the World Cup Soccer.
Fondest memory: The Bandai Bridge is a beautifully crafted stone bridge that is known as the symbol of Niigata City. The bridge connects the Bandai district (the area in front of Niigata Station known for it's entertainment spots) with the Furumachi area, where the modern department stores and restaurants are located.
Next 21 was by far the tallest building in Niigata. It is a landmark building that has many boutiques, restaurants and even an event hall. The 19th floor has an observation deck with pretty good views of the city, particularly at night. I have since been informed by someone who has been in Niigata more recently than I have that this building has now been surpassed in height!
There is an underground shopping mall called Nishibori Rosa at the intersection with Mitsukoshi Department Store on one corner. The shopping mall has lots of interesting shops to look at and also connects all the major department stores, NEXT 21 and much of the Furumachi area.
This is one of the most beautiful areas in Niigata. Niigata has a long stretch and variety of trees along its coastline parallel to that of its beaches. It's a beautiful area to walk or bike through and it never seems to be crowded.
There are also a number of parks and public recreation areas (indoor swimming pools, an excellent baseball field, restaurants, an aquarium, a Shinto shrine, and more in this area.
It's also one of the most peacefully quiet places you can go to. I sometimes like to go there late at night and enjoy the quiet sound of the wind blowing through the trees. There are a number of benches that dot the area, so it can also be a romantic place to take a date or for those of you who need it, a place to take a breather. Whatever your sense of adventure, I'd recommend it.
Fondest memory: When I visited Sado island, there was Shishimai(Japanese Dragon) Dancing on the path, for wishing their children would grow up healthy.