CoCoLo Yuzawa Gangi-dori Street
Let’s visit CoCoLo Yuzawa Gangi-dori Street inside JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station, a place filled with Niigata’s specialties!
Report by Noemi
Niigata, “snow country” only a little more than one hour away from Tokyo, is a famous onsen area and a big rice producer, producing Japan’s best sake. I will introduce you to places to visit along with winter activities.
Located just in front of the station ticket gate, “Gangi-dori Chuo-ichiba” (Gangi-dori street central market) has a full line of Niigata’s specialties, from sweets, sake, and rice, to traditional crafts, which make great souvenirs.
One of the most famous of Niigata’s specialties, sasadango is a sweet dumpling with sweet bean paste in rice dough containing yomogi (mugwort), wrapped in sasa (bamboo) leaf, and steamed. It was the first time I saw this sweet. It has a cute shape and great taste! I will buy this again!
In Niigata, people call amaebi (Alaskan pink shrimp) “namban-ebi,” as their bright red color and shape resemble those of namban (red hot chili peppers). This sembei cracker has a nice crunchy and crispy texture with a fragrant flavor.
When I go on a trip, I always check out local character goods for a memento of my trip. There are so many nice items, including a variety of sake in containers with cute labels. These make it difficult for me to choose, and I may buy some from the design of the label.
The central service counter will help you with your tax-free shopping process.
Enjoy Niigata’s delicacies at Tabearuki-yokocho! The area is lined with restaurants and shops serving local dishes in which local ingredients are mainly used.
“Niigata Tare-katsu-don” at Tenchi-hosaku
“Grilled Wagyu Beef” at UONUMA ITALIAN muran gozzo café
“Yasai-tenkomori miso ramen” at Uonuma Ramen Ganya
“Shunebaru,” sweets like colorful snow balls, at Echigo-Yuzawa Nmaya (Ekinaka Branch)
Sake Museum “Ponshukan”
The landmark is the inebriated “salarymen” at the entrance!
You can sample the major kinds of all the sake breweries in Niigata at “Kikizake corner” (sake-tasting corner). There is also wine and umeshu (plum wine) along with sake, with a variety of alcohol percentages. If you cannot drink much, you can choose low alcohol-type brands to try. There are some 90 brands available in all, so if you are not sure which ones to try, check out the ranking of popular brands! If you find your favorite one, you can purchase it at the store (children at age 15 years or younger are not allowed to enter).
An array of sake tasting machines creates an amazing sight that you have never seen before!
Exchange 500 yen for 1 sake cup and 5 coins. It is simple to use! Put a coin into one of the machines and push the button.
You can get a cold cucumber (100 yen) for a snack. Eat it with moromi-miso. Keep drinking!
Various kinds of salt that go well with sake are available.
Try the famous specialty, “bakudan (bomb) onigiri”!
“Yukinto,” an onigiri (rice ball) shop with an eating area, serves a famous gigantic onigiri made with a cup of Koshihikari rice produced in Minamiuonuma. A total of 18 kinds of stuffing are available (470 to 880 yen per onigiri, including miso soup and pickles). If you are a big eater, you can try “daibaku onigiri” (big bomb), made with four cups of rice (you can choose five kinds of stuffing). For small eaters like women and children, “shobaku onigiri” (small bomb) may be just right.
I chose “Echigo-mochi-buta kakuni” (braised pork). Do not hesitate and bite into it!
“Yukiguni renga,” sake chocolate brownies
Stylish sake cups are prefect souvenirs!
There are so many places to have fun!
At “Sake-buro Yunosawa,” you can take a bath with sake blended with the water. The bath makes your body warm and skin smooth.
If you have a problem or some trouble, go to the visitor center. It offers various services, including providing tourist information, baggage check, and car rental, in multiple languages.
You must see these wonderful hanging hina dolls, “Yukiusagi no Tabidach
CoCoLo Yuzawa Gangi-dori
Yuzawa 2427-1, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma County, Niigata Prefecture
Inside JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station. 1 hr 30 min from Tokyo by Joetsu Shinkansen!
Open 365 days a year
Free Wi-Fi available
9:00-19:00 *varies depending on stores
Free parking for the first 2 hours
*The information herein is as of November 2018