Last week, Webmaster visited Nishikigoi-no-sato in Ojiya City where one can meet hundreds of nishikigoi (colored carp).
Access: Tokyo (shinkansen 1:40) Urasa (local train 0:30) Ojiya (bus 0:10 or taxi 0:06 or walk 0:20) Honcho-chuo (walk 0:02) @
Even the entrance of a pedestrian underpass in front of Ojiya Station has the shape of nishikigoi. You can take taxi or bus from Ojiya Station to Nishikigoi-no-sato, but Webmaster walked to the place for 20 minutes.
Crossing a bridge over Shinano-gawa River.
Then, arriving at the entrance of Nishikigoi-no-sato.
This place consists of three parts, i.e. a garden with ponds, an indoor exhibition pool, and an exhibition room of data. The entrance was ￥510 for adult.
Nishikigoi-no-sato: http://www.ojiyasunplaza.jp/nishikigoi.pdf (PDF)
Half of the carp spend in the open-air ponds from spring to autumn, but they are moved to the indoor pool and stay there from mid-November to mid-April due to heavy snow. Therefore the ponds were vacant when Webmaster visited.
Contrarily, the indoor pool is full of nishikigoi!!!
You can feed them. The pellets for carp are available at the reception for ￥100.
According to the staff of this facility, carp is long-live fish and they live for nearly 20 years. The oldest carp in this pool is 31 years old! They look very similar, but the staff identify individuals!
Sun Plaza located next to Nishikigoi-no-sato is a not-so-large complex where you can take meal, enjoy shopping and learn about Ojiya Textile which is registered as Intangible Cultural Property by UNESCO.
Sun Plaza: http://www.ojiyasunplaza.jp/index.html (Japanese)
The exhibition and workshop of Ojiya Textile.
Webmaster bought a T-shirt with nishikigoi printed and leaf-shaped coasters of Ojiya Textile.
The other attraction of this trip in winter is the dramatic change of view before and after passing a tunnel under the watershed.
Snow Country by the Nobel Prize-winning novelist KAWABATA Yasunari starts with the sentence as “The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country.”
In fact, you must feel as if you have time-travel from autumn to winter within 25 minutes. Can you believe these two photos below were taken within 25 minutes on the same day?
Before tunnel (between Takasaki and Jomo-kogen Stations) in Pacific Ocean side.
After the tunnel near Echigo-yuzawa Station in Japan Sea side.
Before leaving, Webmaster enjoyed the view of Snow-covered Mt. Echigo-komagatake from Urasa Station.
You can also visit some onsen, although Webmaster did not stop at any onsen this time. There are many good onsen in Niigata Prefecture.