My name is Nam from Viet Nam. I am a 2nd year master student in Nagaoka University of Technology. Nagaoka City is a second large city in Niigata Prefecture. In November of 2015, I was invited to the DISCOVER NIIGATA TOURS for FOREIN STUDENTS, and our destination is to visit the Yahiko Shrine.
Pic. 1. Yahiko Shrine with a big red Torii.
In Picture 1, it is the Yahiko Shrine. The Yahiko Shrine is famous for its beautiful red leaves in the autumn. In the past, it is said that if the couples go visiting this Yahiko shrine, they will be broken apart, because the god of this place is a female. Lately, it is confirmed that the god of this temple is male, so the couple can visit there without afraid. The red thing in the picture is called “Torii”, which is the separation the region between the shrine of Gods and the common ground for people.
In Picture 2, it is the calendars about lucky year and unfortunate years. Japanese, as well as many Asian countries, name the year someone born as animals such as horse or sheep. And, when that person reach certain age, they have to pass through 3-unlucky-year period, for example for male they are 25, 42 and 61. And in each unlucky-year course, it includes the first year as Pre-unlucky-year (24), Real-unlucky-year (25), and After-unlucky-year (26).
In Picture 3, it is the Japanese garden view. Before living in Japan, I had always wanted to see this scene. Now finally, I had a chance to have lunch with this beautiful Japanese garden view. I think nothing is better than having delicious meals while enjoying this magnificent view. The gardener must have been working really hard in order to make this garden. After all, I have to say that working hard really brings good results.
Pic. 2. Calendars about lucky year and unfortunate years.
Pic. 3. A beautiful Japanese garden.
In Picture 4, it is Japanese rice dumplings. End of the tour, I have let to learn how to make this meal. It is also the first time trying to make Japanese rice dumplings. It is quite simple that you just need to prepare the rice powered, ball it like the picture then grill it with a small fire. Even though, it is very simple to make these from the simple ingredients, the taste is very elegant and quite delicious when you enjoy it with the sauce.
Pic. 4. Japanese rice dumplings.
In the Niigata Prefecture, you can not only go to visit beautiful place all around the years, but also have many chances to learn about the Japanese culture and traditional events. For example, in the spring, you can enjoy the beauty of the sakura blossom all over the cities in Niigata, while take part in the traditional festivals which is occurred to celebrate the coming of the spring. In the summer, you can join one of the biggest firework festival in Japan at Nagaoka City. Yearly, there are thousands of people all over Japan come to Nagaoka City in Niigata Prefecture to see this magnificent firework festival. And in the winter, there are also many places for you to try skiing or snowboarding. If you ever go to Japan, Niigata Prefecture is the place I recommend you to visit.