Posted by: soniahs | October 31, 2012

Soaking in the atmosphere at the Dune of Literature

On one of the days we were in Niigata, Yan had a half-day at the conference. I spent the morning trying to figure out how to do laundry, and finally succeeded thanks to a very nice cleaning lady who found me struggling and helped me. (As a side note: if you plan to do laundry in Japan and don’t read kanji, you may want to check to see whether your phrase book can help you with this ahead of time.)

While it was pretty drizzly out, Yan and I decided to walk around town. We headed across the Bandai Bridge toward the Sea of Japan, through downtown Niigata. This area is quite low, topographically speaking. In fact, the major streets are named for the canals that used to run through here a few centuries ago. Much of the area is essentially fill, which can’t be good when big earthquakes occur.

Toki mural seen from the Bandai Bridge.

Downtown Niigata is essentially on a peninsula- the Shinano River separates the two built-up sections of town. There are some hills- actually, old sand dunes- along the shoreline. Part of this dune area is a park, so we walked there for a while.

Reflecting bowl. (Photo: Y. Fernandez)

One of the parts of the park-like area is called the “Dune of Literature.” I think this is related to an author or poet who used to come here for inspiration.

One of the few English-language signs in Niigata! (Photo: Y. Fernandez)

It was rather a nice place to take a stroll, and look for birds.

Scenic spot on the Dune of Literature. (Photo: Y. Fernandez)

The beach itself wasn’t very scenic. Grey sand, lots of breakwaters and jetties. We assume this is for tsunami protection. We sat by the water for a bit, and made sure to dip our toes into the Sea of Japan.

Yan at the shoreline.

We tried to get a glimpse of Sado Island, which lies some distance off shore. But it was too overcast, and we probably didn’t have enough height to see it. Ah, well.

Sado Island would be off in the distance here.

On the way back to town, we stopped briefly at Gokaku Shrine. This modern temple was an interesting contrast to all the older sights we’d seen in Kyoto recently. Definitely more recently built, and in a pretty setting.

Gokaku Shrine. (Photo: Y. Fernandez)


  1. […] mentioned before that the area around the Shinano River is built on fill. Because of liquefaction during the last […]

  2. […] Shrine was certainly older than Gokaku, and was also a bit more […]


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