Sake and Seafood: Niigata, Japan

Having arrived in Tokyo on day six of our 7-day Japan rail pass we decided  to jump on a bullet train and head out of town – ideally North – to make the most our last day. We ended up in Niigata (a return trip, I discovered later, that would have cost 20000 yen (or around 200 euro, approximately the cost of a flight to China!) if we’d been paying for it).

Niigata is famous for its seafood and sake. We stopped into a restaurant to sample the local fare and ordered blindly from the menu which worked out a little expensive but delicious. Mr K discovered a liking for a particular sake that I’m certain we’ll never be able to find again – and I confirmed that sake is really not my drink, but it was nice to get to try a couple.

An added bonus of the trip to Niigata was that we passed through the onsen town of Echigo-Yuzawa, where Snow Country (which I have just finished reading) is set. Oddly, although I found the book sometimes a disorienting read, from the train the town looked precisely as I had imagined it so Kawabata Yasunari got something right.

Also of note: we got upgraded from our “semi-double” hotel room to a proper double, presumably because not only is Mr K two metres tall (and so pretty much in need of a “semi-double” bed all to himself) he is also a thoroughly nice guy. The hotel, incidentally, is the best bargain in Tokyo – it costs around the same as two dorm beds (i.e. about 30 euro pp) and includes breakfast, a light evening meal five nights a week, and free laundry facilities. Points to Mr K for this find.

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