Niigata City is located on the Sea of Japan, where the cold and warm currents meet, and built upon fertile lands fed by Japan’s two great rivers–the Shinano and the Agano. Thanks to its location, Niigata is blessed with all kinds of wonderful food from both the land and sea. Niigata also boasts the most rice-producing land in the country while having both urban and rural areas that prosper together.
Niigata’s cuisine is centered around rice, which is used both in sake and in cooking, and was developed with a mix of cultural influences as it had been a port town for trade since the 17th century.
The colorfulness of the local dishes is one of the main characteristics of Niigata’s food culture. Each region has its own array of traditional dishes that change with the seasons as ingredients are at their peak. Examples of these dishes include noppe, kakiae-namasu, sasadango, and triangular chimaki.