Niigata City (新潟市 niigata-shi?) is the capital of Niigata Prefecture and the largest city on the Sea of Japan coast. In recent years Niigata has merged with many smaller communities to bring it to a population of over 800,000. In May 2007 Niigata became a designated city.
Niigata has prospered for the last 150 years as a port town and a shipping point for Niigata's agricultural products. Niigata Port does trade with much of Northeast Asia, and Niigata City acts as a transportation hub for north Honshu's rail and expressway networks.
The city is located on a flood plain, and is relatively flat and spread out for a large Japanese city. The commerical districts are relatively centered in the downtown area, making it easy to get around by foot or bus. While not as cosmopolitan as other large Japanese cities, Niigata certainly has enough to offer in the way of shopping, nightlife, and international cuisine.
- CIRs - The municipal CIR works in the Niigata City Office Foreign Affairs Division and is usually an American from Texas. Lives right in downtown Niigata in the Furumachi area. The prefectural CIR works in the Niigata Prefectural Office International Affairs Division, and is usually an American from Illinois. Lives in Sekiya near the Prefectural Office, a 15 minute bus ride from downtown.
- ALTs The majority of Niigata City ALTs live in the recently incorporated rural suburbs surrounding the city. Most placements are fairly rural, require a car, and have many visit schools. However, they are also 20-50 minutes from downtown Niigata by train (except for the areas with no station!). One municipal and one prefectural ALT each live in the city itself, and one prefectural ALT is always placed at the Prefectural Education Center out by Niigata University.