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Experience the wonders of Niigata!
Hinomaru Sightseeing Taxi Guided Tour

Thank you for visiting our web site.
We have commenced offering sightseeing taxi tours to make your stay in Niigata even more enjoyable and memorable.
During the tours, a professional guide accompanies you.
We will be happy to guide you not only to famous tourist spots, but also places which you never find in guidebooks.

We hope you will enjoy Niigata's beautiful nature, exquisite craftsmanship and finest sake.

Your guide is…
Yasushi Kawakami

Hi, I'm Yasushi. I was born and bred here in Niigata. As a professional guide, I have hosted to a number of guests from abroad.
It is my greatest pleasure to help you enjoy your trip to your heart's content.
I'll be looking forward to seeing you in the tours!

Travel Plans

Open Factory Tour

Factory tour in the city of metal, Tsubame Sanjo.

Over approximately 400 years, metal forging and processing industry has thrived in the cities of Tsubame and Sanjo, which are located in the middle of Niigata Prefecture.
These days, the name of those two cities has become a brand name, “Tsubame Sanjo”. Cutlery and hardware with “Tsubame Sanjo” brand are displayed at exhibitions around the world and now renowned for their top quality.
This tour will literally “show” you how those excellent products are made by artisans. You will be captivated not only by the beauty of the finished products, but also by the manufacturing process itself. You can also purchase those quality products during the tour if you would like!

tour list

Guided Taxi Tours in Tsubame Sanjo, the fascinating city of craftsmanship

In order to make your stay in Tsubame Sanjo more enjoyable, we are offering three touring plans.  All plans are conducted by a professional guide.  The places which we visit in the tours well represent the history, the industry and the culture of Tsubame Sanjo.  We believe you will have wonderful experiences and be fascinated by the city of craftsmen, Tsubame Sanjo!

tour list

Japanese Sake Tasting Tour

Niigata is famous as a leading rice-producing region.
Actually, Niigata has the most sake breweries in Japan. Delicious rice produced in Niigata is made into finest sake.
We offer you tours to renowned sake breweries in Niigata, in which you can enjoy some tasting. Of course, you can make a purchase if you find your favorite there.
*Seasonal Tours (Only in winter)

tour list

Products

Open Factory Tour

Marunao Marunao is a producer of high-quality chopsticks that was founded in 1939, whose business was originally ornamental carving at temples and shrines. They have continued producing beautiful products using traditional carving techniques that require detailed and elaborate depictions. Tsubame Sanjo region is not only famous for its sharp-edged artisan tools, but also for the fact that precious woods are easily available. The company manufactures chopsticks making full use of the features of hardwoods such as ebony and red sandalwood.
Tracing the activities of their predecessors, the company has further challenged the possibilities of trees and used its superior technical skills by devoting attention to sharp craftsmanship. You will be able to see Japanese "chopsticks" being created before your eyes, and get a real sense of Japanese culture.
  • Marunao
  • Marunao
  • Marunao
  • Marunao
Gyokusendo Gyokusendo is a company which has produced "Tsuiki Copperwear" since 1816.
Process to produce "Tsuiki Copperwear" is quite unique; artisans hammer a plate of copper again and again, and eventually, form it into vessels, teapot and so on. Gyokusendo has kept the traditional method since its foundation. The company has turned out more than 300 skillful craftsmen, and Norio Tamagawa was designated a living national treasure of Japan in 2010. The longer you use Gyokusendo's copperware, the shinier their luster become. They are the tools that age with you.
  • Gyokusendo
Tadafusa Using the forging techniques cultivated by producing metal measures, the company was involved in various cutting edge tools such as small knives and carving knives.
Subsequently, the company expanded into knives for the fishing industry, and they have currently manufactured household knives and special soba noodle knives.
It has won many awards for products that respond to the needs of the time and user requests. If you use their knives, you will quickly notice excellence of Tadafusa's knives.

Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum

Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum You will come to know all about the history of the craftsmanship in Tsubame City at this museum. Various types of metal utensils are on display such as a collection of world spoons, and there is also a place to try and make a replica spoon. Exhibitions are held from time to time, where you can really feel the history and marvels of the industries in Tsubame.
  • Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum
  • Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum
  • Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum
  • Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum

The Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo

The Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo The Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo is organized by a collection of present day blacksmiths. They offer a series of workshops, teaching traditional blacksmithing skills of Sanjo. From building a fire to quenching, forging, grinding and finally sharpening, they give you hands-on lessons. Workpshops for making your very own small knife and fish filleting knife are offered once in a while.
Workshops for creating traditional Japanese nails and those for proper kitchen knife sharpening techniques are offered during most days when the Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo is open.
  • The Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo
  • The Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo

Migakiya Ichibankan

Migakiya Ichibankan "Migakiya Ichibankan" was built and managed in Tsubame with the aim of training workers who would be engaged in metal polishing, which is a fundamental technique in the metal processing industry, developing local industry through the technology improvement, and spreading metal polishing techniques through hands-on learning.
You can take a close look at the techniques of "Polishing Meisters" ,who are recognized by their outstanding skills and certified as 'Niigata Prefecture Meisters'.
At this facility, you can experience polishing a beer tumbler under Meisters' hands-on coaching. After that, you can bring the tumbler back with you as a special souvenier.
  • Migakiya Ichibankan

Suwada Blacksmith Works

Suwada Blacksmith Works Suwada's nail clippers, which have been improved over more than 70 years since the company was founded in 1926, are loved by professional manicurists because of their highest quality. These handmade nail clippers are carefully crafted by skilled artisans who are particular about the properties of the materials; and are a lifetime item. Everything made in Suwada's factory is handmade: from forging the raw materials to the finished product. Watching the products being made on site, you will get to know the artisan's enthusiasm to make finest products.
In addition, the factory is also decorated with particular objects and lighting made by the craftsmen, which is as if you were in a museum. You can enjoy the art of craftsmanship.
  • Suwada Blacksmith Works
  • Suwada Blacksmith Works

Takeda Kanagata Seisakusyo

Takeda Kanagata Seisakusyo Takeda Kanagata Seisakusyo was founded in 1978 and has been producing elaborate metal molds. As the next move, the company launched the bland, "mgn" to produce their own products in 2005. In addition, they opened a shop close to the factory, in which people can visit and purchase their latest products, such as business card cases and smart phone cases. Having some skilled artisans from local companies, workshops are also held there from time to time. Their products, which are simple, stylish and beautiful, are quite popular not only in Japan, but also overseas.
  • Takeda Kanagata Seisakusyo
  • Takeda Kanagata Seisakusyo
  • Takeda Kanagata Seisakusyo
  • Takeda Kanagata Seisakusyo

Guided Taxi Tours in Tsubame Sanjo, the fascinating city of craftsmanship

Tour-1 Tsubame Sanjo

Tour-1 Tsubame Sanjo Tsubame Sanjo Golden Route Tour (4 hours)

Departure: Either Tsubame Sanjo Regional Industries Promotion Center or your hotel if it’s close to Tsubame Sanjo Station
Gyokusendo→Marunao→Suwada Blacksmith Works (We also visit the café adjacent to the factory.)
Arrival: Either Tsubame Sanjo Regional Industries Promotion Center or your hotel if it’s close to Tsubame Sanjo Station
*Food and drink costs shall be paid accordingly.
  • Tour-1 Tsubame Sanjo
  • Tour-1 Tsubame Sanjo
  • Tour-1 Tsubame Sanjo

Tour-2 Tsubame

Tour-2 Tsubame Tour in Tsubame, the Town of Exquisite Craftsmanship   (4 hours)

Departure: Either Tsubame Sanjo Regional Industries Promotion Center or your hotel if it’s close to Tsubame Sanjo Station
Tsubame industrial Materials Museum→ Gyokusendo→Takeda Kanagada Seisakusyo→Migakiya Ichibankan (We polish a metal tumbler under the guidance of a craftsman.  After that, you can bring it back.)
Arrival: Either Tsubame Sanjo Regional Industries Promotion Center or your hotel if it’s close to Tsubame Sanjo Station
 * Entry fee at Tsubame industrial Materials Museum(\300)and polishing lesson fee at Migakiya Ichibankan(\1,500)shall be paid accordingly.
  • Tour-2 Tsubame
  • Tour-2 Tsubame
  • Tour-2 Tsubame

Tour-3 Sanjo

Tour-3 Sanjo Tour in Sanjo, the City of Finest Blacksmiths (4 hour)

Departure: Either Tsubame Sanjo Regional Industries Promotion Center or your hotel if it’s close to Tsubame Sanjo Station
Tadafusa→The Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo (We make a paper knife under the guidance of a craftsman.  After that, you can bring it back.)→Suwada Blacksmith Works
Arrival: Either Tsubame Sanjo Regional Industries Promotion Center or your hotel if it’s close to Tsubame Sanjo Station
*Fee for making a paper knife at The Sanjo Blacksmith Dojo (\1,000)shall be paid accordingly.
  • Tour-3 Sanjo
  • Tour-3 Sanjo
  • Tour-3 Sanjo

Japanese Sake Tasting Tour

Ikeura Shuzo Washima, Nagaoka offers enjoyment of its beautiful nature in each of the four seasons. Driving for a few minutes from the brewery, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Sea of Japan. In such a place full of nature, Ikeura Shuzo has been located since 1830. They use water welling at the brewery; the water contains little iron and is best suited to brew sake. Refined taste of the sake made in Ikeura Shuzo depicts the beauty of the location.
Takarayama Shuzo In 1885, Takarayama Shuzo was founded in Iwamuro district, which has been representative of hot spring towns in Niigata. Since then, they have been keeping their business small in hope for seeing and speaking with customers directly.
Ofuku Shuzo Ofuku Shuzo was founded in 1897 and has been located at the skirt of mountains in Nagaoka, 5 km southeast from the center of the city. Surrounded by beautiful nature, they have used spring water from the mountains and brewed finest sake, makes you happy (“Ofuku” means happiness in Japanese).
Shiokawa Shuzo Since its foundation in 1912, Shiokawa Shuzo has been located in Uchino, which is west of Niigata. Since Uchino has been blessed with clean water of the Shinano River, the city has vast rice fields. The walls of their brewery are made of clay as traditional Japanese buildings; temperature is relatively stable all year round and the conditions make taste of sake even better.
Asahi Shuzo Since its Foundation in 1830, Asahi Shuzo has been brewing sake in nature of Koshiji, which is surrounded by vast rice fields and mountains. In the blessed environment, Asahi Shuzo has held tea ceremonies in spring. In the summer fireflies fill the air, in the autumn the beautiful colors of the mapletrees can be admired and winter is the busiest time of year for sake brewing. In addition, Asahi Shuzo recently opened a shop and a restaurant close to their brewery, and they are presenting new ways of enjoying sake.

Yoshinogawa Shuzo

Yoshinogawa Shuzo

Yoshinogawa started producing sake in 1548 and has the longest history of sake brewing in Niigata, the largest rice-producing region in Japan and famous for.  Water used for their sake is spring water whose source is   the Shinano river, the longest river in Japan.  The water contains a lot of minerals and is suited for sake brewing.  Besides, they grow rice used for sake themselves.  The tradition of producing finest sake has been handed down from generation to generation.

Price List

Tour Fee *Samples: for 3-hour guided tour.

  • Taxi(T)
    ¥25,000
    Number of passengers: 1 to 4

  • Wgon Taxi(W)
    ¥32,500
    Number of passengers: 1 to 9

  • Minibus(M)
    ¥40,000
    Number of passengers: 1 to 18

*Please pay entry fees and sight-seeing fees separately at each location
* Charges above don’t include admission, food and drink.

Q&A

  • Can we visit another place that is not on the plan?

    Of course. We can go to places not listed on the site map, but please inform us of the desired locations in advance.

  • Can you make a recommended plan to fit within a set period of time?

    Yes, of course. We can make a recommended plan if you tell us the number of hours you wish to be in the car and your budget.

  • Can we pay on the day?

    Unfortunately, that is not possible. In principle, we require prepayment by credit card.

  • How many days in advance do we need to apply for the tour?

    It would be appreciated if you could apply at least 7 days in advance.
    *Please send us an email if you have other questions. We gladly accept questions in English.

Inquiry

Please check the places you would like to visit.
After this form is sent, the guide will arrange your itinerary and reach you by telephone or E-mail.

Open Factory Tour

Guided Taxi Tours in Tsubame Sanjo, the fascinating city of craftsmanship

Japanese Sake Tasting Tour

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