Photo By: Cara Lam
Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Niigata
Population
2,475,724

Hoshitoge Rice Terrace

With the sunrise, it becomes a fairytale.

In the Japanese countryside, rice paddy terraces — tiered rice fields — are a way of life. Because of their distinct beauty throughout all seasons, Niigata Prefecture’s terraces are not only popular tourist spots, but they are the local townspeople’s livelihood.

Where else to see rice terraces?

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture
Located inland of southern Niigata, the Tokamachi area is home to multiple renowned rice terraces. Among the mountains of the Matsudai region — within Tokamachi — lies the photogenic Hoshitoge rice terrace. Consisting of 200 rice fields that vary in size, the scenic spot extends throughout a sloping hill.

This particular rice terrace is most popular among photography fanatics in June and November, as the tiered fields filled with water reflect the colors of the sky, resembling the shiny scales of a fish. During those months, tripods crowd the viewing point at sunrise, as the first beam of light seeps through the mountains.

 

Photo by: M Murakami The terrace with water.

That said, the terrace is a year-round beauty. Painted by a lush green in summer and lined by fluffy white snow in winter, the rice terrace is always available for viewing.

Hoshitoge is an easily accessible spot by car. The viewing point is located less than 10 meters away from the parking lot, and the surrounding area is mostly flat, which caters the needs of visitors with disabilities. Note that while the viewing point is open to visitors, the rice fields are not. They are private property of nearby farmers so entrance is strictly prohibited.

Hoshige Rice Terrace of Niigata

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Hoshige Rice Terrace in late October.

Other Niigata terraces

The Matsudai region consists of numerous rice terraces.  As the No. 1 prefecture for rice crop yield in Japan, Niigata’s seasonal precipitation and ample sunlight provide rice paddies with fertile soil. On top of that, its climate’s range of temperature helps Niigata’s rice to develop a glistening color and fine flavor.

Gimyou, Kamou, Matsushiro, and Sugakari rice terraces are also frequented by visitors. These rice terraces all have their own unique poses, but together they form the group of Echigo Matsudai rice terraces that are considered to be part of “Japan’s Top 100 magnificent sights.”

A masterpiece of rural scenery, the terraces are a countryside slice of Japan.

 

🌟 This location is in Niigata Prefecture —  GaijinPot Travel’s No. 1 place to visit in 2018! 🥇

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Trivia

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture

Where else to see rice terraces?

Checkout Mie Prefecture.

More

Things To Know

Driving precautions

The path leading up to Hoshitoge (星峠の棚田 in Japanese) is narrow and winding, so be careful when driving up and down the mountain. The path is not cleared in winter, so it may not be accessible when there is heavy snowfall.

How To Get There

Address

738 Tōge, Tōkamachi-shi, Niigata-ken 942-1351, Japan

By car

Routes:

  • A 20-minute drive from Matsudai station on Hokuhoku line
  • An one-hour drive on route 253 from the Muikamachi Interchange on Kanetsu Expressway
  • An one-hour drive on route 253 from the Joetsu Interchange on Hokuriku Expressway

The parking lot is big enough for about 20 cars.

Where To Stay

Farm Stay Ushidaya
  • Ōshima-ku Tamugi 1283 Joetsu-Shi, Niigata 942-1102
  • 9.5/10
  • 5.8 km
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kamosu mori
  • Matsunoyama Kurokura 1879-4 Tokamachi-Shi, Niigata 942-1341
  • 8.1/10
  • 6.5 km
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Unkai
  • Yomogihira 11-1 Tokamachi-Shi, Niigata 942-1544
  • 8.7/10
  • 8.1 km
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Hinanoyado Chitose
  • Matsunoyama Yumoto 49-1 Tokamachi-Shi, Niigata 942-1432
  • 9/10
  • 8.9 km
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