What to do and see in Uonuma, Japan: The Best Places and Tips

December 21, 2017 Darleen Reid

Uonuma is a city located in south-central Niigata Prefecture, in the Hokuriku region of Japan. As of 1 June 2016, the city had an estimated population of 36,842 and a population density of 38.9 persons per km².
Restaurants in Uonuma

1. Saifukuji Temple

174 Oura, Uonuma 946-0033, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-792-3032
Excellent
58%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 73 reviews

Saifukuji Temple

Reviewed By kobekko - Kobe

Uonuma appears scarce as a destination on the tourist map, Japanese or foreign. Yet, here one can discover a temple that equals with Nikko Shrine in sculptural marvel, albeit in smaller scale. Tourists with interest in Buddhist temples will rather visit Kyoto or Nara, which are dotted with famous Buddhist temples of historical significance. However, even they sometimes feel, or even say, that they are “templed-out” at the end of the day. That is because, to the unaccustomed eyes, these temples do look very much alike, all with drab wooden structure and color. This temple looks like any other from its exterior, but you will find it like no other when you enter its principal prayer hall, “Kaizando.” Even the connoisseur of Buddhist arts will be surprised by the unconventional design and beauty of its prayer hall, and all that owe to the ingenuity of just one man, by the name of Uncho Ishikawa.
Promoters of local tourism nowadays tout him as “Michelangelo of the Orient,” for his artistic ingenuity. Uncho has certainly left impressive multitudes of his art work in Uonuma and its adjacent areas, and they eloquently attest his talent, which seems to well justify the above cognomen. Furthermore, one can compare his artwork in the prayer hall to Michelangelo’s fresco paintings that decorate Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
One may then wonder why Uncho could not achieve the fame that Michelangelo enjoyed in his lifetime and long afterwards. I gather, in short, Uncho was at a wrong place at a wrong time, to let his artistic ingenuity flourish or widely recognized. His family name, Ishikawa, indicates that he came from the well-known family of sculptors in Edo (present day Tokyo). He was said to have distinguished himself as a skillful sculptor in his 20’s. However, by the mid-19th century, Tokugawa Shogunate was in decline after two and a half centuries of absolute power. By then, it was facing veritable challenges to its authority from inside, as well as outside (which eventually led to Meiji Restoration of Imperial Authority). In such time of uncertainly, it was difficult to find wealthy patronage for his line of work, and he accepted the invitation by the patron merchant of a Buddhist temple in Echigo (now Niigata prefecture) at the age of 32 (or in 1846), and found interesting commissions for his work from Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines in the area. Echigo in those days was a hinterland, culturally as well as socio-economically. This geographical handicap still remains even today, and his marvelous artwork had not, and has not, received the wide acclaim it well deserves.
Even today, it is a trek to reach the temple. Any tourist who wishes to visit this temple by public transportation is well advised to come by JR to Urasa, where Shinkansen bullet train also stops. To make the trek worthwhile, the tourist is well advised to visit a few other places where Uncho has left his artworks, particularly Eirinji temple in the neighborhood. For that, bicycle rental is possible at the station, for local sightseeing (of course, weather permitting).

Yunotani, Uonuma 946-0084, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
25%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 35 reviews

Okutadami

Reviewed By STNguyen - Nagaoka, Japan

Landscape: 4 stars
The Reservoir of the dam is very large (one of the largest in Japan), and covered by big Mountains, so it looks very nature. Visitors can get on a cruise to take a tour around the lake to see the landscape. To go up to this lake, they can take a slope car from the car parking area. The view from the lake down to the valley is very splendid. The best time to visit this place is in the middle of autumn, when all leaves turn to yellow and red. It is beautiful!
Suggested Itinerary:
1~2 hours is enough to visit this dam, but because it is located at a quite remote area, you may stay one night at a hotel in Uonuma before departing for this place in the next morning. There are some hotels with delicious foods and good on-sen (hot-spring) in the area. The road leading to the dam is also very thrilling with very narrow and long tunnels.

3. Eirinji Temple

1765 Negoya, Uonuma 949-7403, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-794-2266
Excellent
38%
Good
53%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 21 reviews

Eirinji Temple

Reviewed By kobekko - Kobe

This temple is decorated by a variety of art works by Uncho Ishikawa, whose artistic ingenuity is legendary, albeit locally. This by no means suggests that he was just a local talent. On the contrary, the collection of artworks found in this temple amply demonstrates his true ingenuity. Besides the sculptured dragon, one finds paintings and wood panel carvings, as well as some designed furniture, in this temple. Such multitude of Uncho’s artistic talent is compared with Michelangelo, and he is touted locally as “Michelangelo of the Orient.” Indeed, after viewing the collection of his artworks in the temple, one can appreciate the artist’s keen interest in, and discerning sensitivity to, the real world, as well as the spiritual world, and, above all, his skill and talent to convey his perception through his artwork to people.
Particularly noteworthy among these artworks are the dragon figure and a few figures of celestial maiden on the transoms in the main prayer hall. These artworks suggest that Uncho had little regard for traditional design and decoration of Buddhist temples, and that he seems to have endeavored to make his sculpture work to look as real as imaginable.
Any tourist who visits this temple should try to visit a few other places where Uncho has left his artwork, particularly Saifukuji temple in the neighborhood. Thos who travel by public transportation should come by JR to Urasa, where Shinkansen bullet train stops and the bicycle rental is possible at the station, for local sightseeing (of course, weather permitting).

4. Uonuma no Sato

Nagamori, Uonuma 949-7112, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
35%
Good
51%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 14 reviews

Uonuma no Sato

Reviewed By Sazanall - Saitama

魚沼にこんな里ができていたとは思っても見ませんでした。八海山酒造も新しい施設を造って、色々なお酒やお土産品に挑戦しており、近代的な若手後継者が頑張っている感じがしました。

5. Megurotei

892 Suhara, Uonuma 946-0216, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-797-3220
Excellent
8%
Good
59%
Satisfactory
33%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 12 reviews

Megurotei

Reviewed By JunichiHASEGAWA - Niigata, Japan

We have most deepest snowfall in the world here in Uonuma, Niigata, Japan.  In spite of that fact, Meguro-ke Vernacular house is existing more than 200 years in good condition. Main frame is composed 29 meters × 11 meters. Marvelously beautiful scene will enchant you in your trip in Japan.

6. Okutadami Maruyama Ski Ground

Ginzandaira, Yunotani, Uonuma 946-0000, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-795-2750
Excellent
5%
Good
49%
Satisfactory
35%
Poor
11%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 17 reviews

Okutadami Maruyama Ski Ground

Reviewed By masaちゃん - 横浜市

3月末からオープンするというので、どんなところか4月2~3日に行ってみました。雪の壁と長いトンネルが続きます。周りはほとんど何もなくダムサイトにありました。リフトが3つ、一番上はまあまあ雪もよく滑りやすかったです。気温が高いので、雪は豊富ですが重くて、朝一番はよかったですが、すぐにグチャグチャになりました。圧雪していないところが好きな方にはいいと思います。パークは他にはないくらい充実していました。なのでうまい人が空を飛んでいました。

7. Lake Ginzan

Yunotani Imogawa, Uonuma 946-0082, Niigata Prefecture
Excellent
33%
Good
67%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Lake Ginzan

Reviewed By Gazelle36 - Saitama Prefecture, Japan

奥只見ダム建設によってつくられた人造湖で通称は奥只見湖
尾瀬沼から流れる阿賀野川の支流只見川の最上流にある湖で、冬季はダム湖のアクセス道が閉鎖になるため行くことができない。
春~秋にかけては湖を巡る観光船があり、多くの観光客が訪れる。
アクセスは車がメイン。
浦佐駅から南越後観光バスでも行けるが、期間限定で一日2往復。

8. Suhara Ski Area

1846-13 Suhara, Uonuma 946-0216, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-797-2059
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Suhara Ski Area

Reviewed By クロぴょん

須原はまず、雪が豊富です。また、JRでは上越線ではなく只見線利用になるため関東圏の方には知名度が低いと思われます。またメインに高速4人乗りリフトがかかっているためリフト待ちも少なくスムーズにリフトに乗れます。また、このリフトにはフードがかかっているので雪が降っているときには大助かりです。ゲレンデは高速4人乗りリフトに沿った縦に長いバーンがメインですが、山頂にはさらに山の裏側のゲレンデにもう1本リフトがかかっているので山頂付近だけを楽しみたい方はこちらをおすすめします。名前より、実質的な滑りの距離と質を重視する人には自信を持って勧められる質実剛健なスキー場です。

9. Koide Ski Area

1609 Aoshima, Uonuma 946-0043, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-792-5320
Excellent
67%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
33%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Koide Ski Area

Echigo Miyama is the safety and security of the ski resort , surrounded by a beautiful mountain , such as It is a ski resort where you can enjoy from the direction of the first time touching the snow to advanced . It is a simple slope configuration . Courses in parentheses are less likely to get lost . Person also the first time I am performing the operation of lift to ride with confidence .

Reviewed By pengopengo - Japan

小出にある小さなスキー場。ファミリーゲレンデですが、中級者用のコースもあります。がっつりと滑るには物足りないですが、ちょっと滑るには非常に良いと思います。レンタルも丁寧に対応してくれました。リフトの方々も安全に気を遣ってくれました。リフト券も1枚200円と格安ですし、個人的には良いスキー場と思います。

10. Okutadami Denryokukan

1317-3 Otori, Yunotaniimogawa, Uonuma 946-0082, Niigata Prefecture +81 25-795-2750
Excellent
20%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
60%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 5 reviews

Okutadami Denryokukan

Reviewed By お遍路さん京都市 - 京都市

完成した時には高さ157mは日本一だったそうで・・・流石に迫力あるダムでしたね。高所恐怖症なので上から眺めると足がブルブル・・。ここへ来る道程が又大変でした。殆どがトンネルで、おまけに18kmも長さがある。緊張で手に汗が滲む運転でした。50年間も運転しているのに・・・。只見湖も真っ青な湖面で、周囲の山々が借景となって素晴らしい見晴らし・・・苦労して来たかいがありました・・・でも、帰りの道程を考えると・・・気が重いですね、運転好きな私でもこの道はうんざり・・・。電力館そのものは他のダムの施設にもある程度の普通の記録館でしたね。無料だったのは良かったけど・・・。

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