Place names in Japan can be misleading. In Tokyo, for example, they ended up never building a kabuki theater in the Kabukicho (“Kabuki Town”) neighborhood, and Toranomon (“Tiger’s Gate”) district is filled with white-collar workers, not orange-and-black jungle cats. So if you’re traveling in Niigata Prefecture and notice that there’s a train station called Omigawa, meaning “blue ocean river,” bracing yourself for the possibility that it doesn’t actually have any gorgeous marine scenery would be the cautious thing to do.
Cautious, but also totally unnecessary…
…because if you’re standing on the platform for westbound trains and look across the tracks, what you’ll see.
…is a horizon marked only by a shift in shade of blue as the sea meets the sky.
Omigawa, located in the town of Kashiwazaki, touts itself as “the station closest to the sea in all of Japan,” and while we’re not sure how official that title is, taking the overpass over to the other platform shows that you really can’t get much closer than this.
Trains only stop at Omigawa about once an hour, and the lack of rumbling carriages means that you can easily hear the sounds of the waves from the platform. The sound is so clear that it almost feels like it’s being piped in through the station’s speaker system as relaxing white noise, but it’s all natural, coming from the Sea of Japan shoreline.
Even though Omigawa isn’t the busiest station, it’s positioned on the JR Shinetsu Line, which connects Nagano and Niigata Stations. Nagano and Niigata Prefecture both have several popular travel destinations, and so the sightseeing train Koshino Shukura also stops at Omigawa.
Due to the infrequent train service, if you’re looking to enjoy the view and snap some pictures from the Omigawa platform, you’re going to need to spend a while there. Luckily, there are a handful of other worthwhile attractions in the area, such as the Yoneyama Bridge, Koibito Misaki coastal park, and Nihonkai Fisherman’s Cape seafood market and souvenir center.
▼ Yoneyama Bridge
And if you need even more seaside station beauty in Niigata, there’s another stop worth stopping at less than an hour away.
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