Please enjoy the rich culture and activities of the area near IUJ’s campus, and a bus/train ride away. And be sure to enjoy the amazing food too.

And below are featured information websites and specific events or places to enjoy

Ski Resorts

Discover the world class Ski Resorts between campus and Tokyo, including Naeba, home of the 2020 Alpine Ski World Championship event

  • Osaki Dam –  Feed the colorful Koi, Enjoy the Koi No Bori (Carp Kites) during Golden Week, and the Sakura – Cherry trees in the Spring. Anytime, enjoy a nice walk in nature. Located 3K from campus.
  • While there, visit Hakkaisan Shrine, and have Soba (buckwheat noodles) at the restaurant behind the shrine. Then stroll down the path for a refreshing nature walk. This is the entry to Hakkaisan mountain hiking trail.
  • Hakkaisan Sake Brewery – Enjoy a tour of a Snow Refrigeration system, sample sake and other brews by Hakkaisan, sample and purchase Bahmkuchen and other local traditional foods and sauces, check out the micro brewery and bakery. 3 restuarants on the premise. A wonderful afternoon in a feel-good natural setting. Japanese page is here。 And check out their Facebook page.

Ojiya Balloon Festival – held the 3rd weekend of February   Enjoy hot air balloons as they lift off from the snow field. Even ride in one!

Ojiya “bull fights” – between May and November each year, on select weekends, marvel at the massive bulls as they are led out by their trainers and “fight” sumo style!

Ojiya Fireworks Display – Enjoy the unique fireworks display: each firework is dedicated to someone in the town to celebrate births, birthdays, engagements, weddings and more. This display includes the Guiness Book of World Record launch each year!  September 8 and 9

Echigo Tsumari

Echigo Tsumari is an amazing art event that happens every 3 years. Most recently was in 2018. Next events are scheduled for 2021, 20214 . . . Thousands of visitors from overseas come to Japan just for this event. timing: August and early September

Where to Stay

There are a few AirBnBs in the area. If you search AirBnB Minami Uonuma City you will find some options.

The nearest western style hotel is Hotel Okabe, and other option is Paramount in Urasa. At Hakkaisan Roku (IUJ Ski Day place) there is the Cycling Terminal!

For simple Japanese Inns, Tejimaya is recommended.

For elaborate Inns, the beautiful Ryugon is in Muikamachi, and Satoyama Juju is recommended by an alum. It is in Echigo Yuzawa, so not convenient to campus

Where to Eat

This is a list of favorites in the IUJ area. It is a growing list

  • Kodamaya Family Dining – huge menu, family friendly, but also amazing seasonal set menus. Across from Urasa station. Some Halal and no pork/no alcohol offerings
  • Matsuyoshi – Features soba, but has wonderful side dishes and sake choices. Osaki, about 3K from campus
  • La Grassa – Italian (mostly) with seasonal dishes. Located down the road from Okabe, near Basel Baker – 4k from campus
  • Bistro Rire – Italian with a flare: pasta and special dishes. Rumor has it the pork chops are amazing but require 2 day prior ordering.
  • Seirin – Sushi bar, with other fun dishes too and an amazing selection of Shochu. Near Tamon Bridget 4.5K from campus. Here is another nice website presentation
  • Ezumiya – Okinawan cooking, amazing “Teishoku” set menus. Specialty and daily side dishes. Located near Urasa Post Office, on the other side of the station.
  • Buffalo – YakiNiku (Korean Barbeque) spot. Usually packed so reservations are necessary. Near the Express way entrance, about 2.5K from campus
  • Azumaken – Various “teishoku” set menu items, ramens, Chinese dishes. Take out and delivery to campus possible. Located near Toda grocery store, about 2K from campus
  • Kita no Yado – Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza or stuffed pancakes), Chinese dishes, Yakiniku, etc. Located near Toda Store, about 2.3K from campus
  • Ikedaya – this is a pastry and cake shop, but it also has some nice lunch specials: green curry, Napolitan spaghetti and maybe one other choice.