Experiencing Spring in Niigata

Traveling via the Joetsu Shinkansen, I embarked on a short 1.5 hours journey to a prefecture in the other side of Japan called Niigata. Before coming to Niigata, I only know it to be a place famous for ski and sake. This trip was my first time to visit the Hokuriku prefecture.

It was indeed a sunny and warm day. While on the way to several photographic points around Niigata, we were met by this unusual set of rainbows. We had to stop for 20 minutes to capture the scene. It was a first for me.

A Cloud of Rainbow
A strip of colors on the clouds

Then, on we go..

The first stop in the journey is at a natural swamp in Tsunan Area in Uonuma, Niigata, an area famous for koshihikari, a high grade type of Japanese rice.

Spring in Niigata: Ryugakubo
Ryugakubo, literally means the cavity of dragon, in a natural swamp created by the waters coming from the forest around it. It has been declared one of the most beautiful body of waters in Japan

It was early Spring in Niigata, so much of the leaves are still freshly green. Like this one.

Spring in Niigata: First sprout of Spring
The sun reflected well on the freshly green leaves

Though some areas are still in confusion, like this image from one of our visits to a ski resort area.
Spring in Niigata:
Flower on white

The day ended at a visit to a forest which is literally called “Forest of the Beautiful People
Spring in Niigata:Bamboo forest in Bijinbayashi

The highlight of the trip was see a sea of clouds along the rice terraces. Niigata, a prefecture known for growing rice, has quite a number of rice terraces around, usually growing on the ground, or in valleys. When I first saw pictures from this place before the trip, it was a sold out for me.

Spring in Niigata: Waiting for sunries
Unfortunately it was a warm day that day, so we didn’t meet any clouds. Thus, this picture of a cloudless scenery

Niigata is also known for its tulips. Although the tulip season already ended in the Tokyo area, they were just starting to blossom in Niigata.

Spring in Niigata: Tulips

I came with a group of lovely grandpas and grandmas in this trip. It was such a fun experience surrounded by a group of people who all think you are their grandchild. Although the youngest, I am also one of the poorest when in comes to equipment. Never underestimated these group of retires, most of them are full fram shooters.

Spring in Niigata: Rapeseed blossom

We happened to come across a barn somewhere along our never ending photograph of rice terraces (it was beginning to be a pain seeing the same rice terraces all over again), we stopped by to see some fighting cows. I asked whether they can be eaten as meat someday. Not that I am interested, but I was just wondering if some meat I eat came from these kinds of cows. Apparently, fighting cow’s muscles are not as soft as the lazy cow’s counterpart. No wonder those expensive cows eaten as meat are treated like a spa customer.

Spring in Niigata: Fighting cows
They fight when they can. It seems in their blood. Red and black

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