Niigata was (and still is) known for ore mining, similar to the steel belt of America. It is also said that the best rice in Japan is grown here, and subsequently the best Sake (rice wine) is produced here. The prefecture is rich in picturesque scenery including Lake Okutadami and Yagigahana, and Joetsu’s Takada Park is labeled as one of Japan's Three Great Nighttime Cherry Blossom spots. Head to the southern part of the prefecture if you want to enjoy cozy snow-clad villages and hot springs resorts.