Feb 122014

Good morning everyone from the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

After several days of snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures, the sun has deigned to grace us with its presence, even if only for a moment.

The Northern Alps as seen from City Hall.

The Northern Alps as seen from City Hall. Click to enlarge.

The weather offers a beautiful view of the Northern Alps. Particularly stunning is Mt. Kurohimeyama. Despite being relatively small at only about 1200m, Kurohimeyama’s location close to the coast makes it one of the most visually impressive mountains visible from central Itoigawa. Made entirely out of limestone, the mountain is the site of a large quarry.

Just to the left of center in the image is the peak of Mt. Myojo. About the same height as Kurohimeyama, Myojo is located within the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge. The view of Mt. Myojo from the gorge is one of the most amazing within the Itoigawa Global Geopark.

Itoigawa Station and Downtown Itoigawa

Itoigawa Station and Downtown Itoigawa

Downtown Itoigawa and the Hokuriku Shinkansen Itoigawa Station looked beautiful in the snow as well. Due to open in Spring 2015, the Hokuriku Shinkansen will provide fast, easy access by bullet train to and from Itoigawa, Tokyo, and Nagano. While the local train line station has been completed, work still continues on Shinkansen station and platforms. When it opens, Itoigawa Station will be the closest Shinkansen Station to the Sea of Japan.

Enjoy the snow while it lasts!

Until next time,


 Posted by at 12:11 PM
Jan 102013
Ubagawa Bridge in the Snow

Ubagawa Bridge in the Snow

Get it, guys? I-snowy-gawa? It’s alright if you don’t, I’ll wait.



Okay, I’m sorry. That was terrible. But it is snowing really heavily today!

Sakura (Japanese cherry trees)

Sakura (Japanese cherry trees)

Itoigawa is located in the part of Japan known as Yukiguni, or ‘snow country’. While the winter temperatures here never drop much below freezing (lows average at about 0-1°C), winds blowing from continental Asia pick up large amounts of moisture while crossing the Sea of Japan. This moisture-laden weather system then breaks up upon hitting the mountain ranges that run along the center of the Japanese islands, releasing heavy snowfalls across this area.

Statues of the Bodhisattva Jizo

Jizo Statues

It is not unusual for some areas of Itoigawa to see several meters of accumulation throughout the winter season. While this weather can make life in winter quite difficult (we’re all pretty sick of snow by March!), it’s another one of the wonders of nature that gives the Itoigawa Global Geopark its spectacular scenery.

Entrance to Amatsu Shrine

Entrance to Amatsu Shrine

Unfortunately. this heavy snowfall makes many of the geosites in Itoigawa inaccessible in the winter, but it also makes for beautiful landscapes that you do not want to miss!


 Posted by at 3:39 PM
Dec 212012

Hajimemashite! Nice to meet you!

Yokoso and welcome to the Itoigawa Global Geopark’s new English language blog! To be totally honest with you, I don’t have much experience with writing blogs, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Through this blog I want to share the latest information about events and activities going on throughout Itoigawa and its geopark. More (or perhaps less!?) importantly, I want to write about my own experiences and discoveries here in Itoigawa, a city as rich in culture and history as it is in natural beauty.

As for today, I’m fighting a cold and looking forward to a weekend of rest with lots of tea and soup.

It’s cold outside so bundle up and take care!


 Posted by at 8:11 PM