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Visting Yamakoshi, Nagaoka – Japan’s Most Picturesque Village

Yamakoshi Nagaoka Houses

All you need to know about visiting Yamakoshi, Nagaoka on your next trip to Japan! Where to stay, things to do and how to get around in our first-hand travel guide.

Japan had always been high on our bucket list of dream destinations to explore.

The culture, the food, the landscapes, the people – everything we had heard suggested that the Land of the Rising Sun was one of the best travel destinations on the planet.

When we first visited we were overwhelmed by all the amazing places to visit.

Of course we did our best to tick off the highlights. Tokyo and Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, and quite a few more places in between.

There’s no doubt that the cities of Japan are amazing. Futuristic yet historic, with countless activities and attractions to enjoy.

We’ve always been more into the quieter destinations of a country, though, so after we had our city-fix, we headed out into the countryside.

On the east coast of Honshu is the Niigata prefecture, home to the cities of Niigata and Nagaoka.

An idyllic region right on the Sea of Japan, the Niigata prefecture also has some stunning villages and smaller towns hidden up in the hills.

When we took the train from Yokohama across to Nagaoka, we made sure to head up into the mountains and visit one of the real highlights of Japan, Yamakoshi.

Found in the Koshi district, Yamakoshi is home to terraced ride fields, unique cuisine, friendly locals and even alpacas!

It’s also the location of a devastating earthquake that destroyed the village, forcing hundreds of people to abandon their homes for years.

But in that story lies some inspirational tales, which can be discovered on a visit to the museum and cultural centre.

Yamakoshi quickly became our favourite place during our 3 weeks in Japan, and we couldn’t believe so few tourists make it out this way.

If you’re looking for a fantastic off-the-beaten-path destination in Japan, don’t miss out on stopping by Yamakoshi in Niigata for a day or two.

Traditional houses in Yamakoshi.

The Best Things to Do in Yamakoshi

We took the bus from Nagaoka to Yamakoshi early in the morning and ended up spending a 1.5 days and one night in the village.

During that time we managed to check out some of the best things to do in Yamakoshi, thanks to our amazing guide, Mr Inoue from the local tourist office.

The beauty of being in Yamakoshi isn’t about trying to jam in as many activities as possible, but rather to take your time and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

Here is what we got…

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