The city of Sanjo. Tsubame-Sanjo Station is seen in the bottom middle portion of the image. The city of Sanjo is located between the expressway/Shinkansen tracks and the mountains.

Sanjo city (三条市 sanjo-shi?) is a small city located in the center of Niigata Prefecture with a population of about 107,000 people. About an hour drive south of Niigata city, or 20mins by the expressway.

Sanjo is known as a metalworks town, and is recognized for producing handcrafted edged tools. Many master blacksmiths live in the area, and Sanjo is also the headquarters for camping/outdoor supply manufacturers Captain Stag and Snow Peak. The city itself is pretty much located in the middle of the alluvial plains of the Shinano River, but it is only a 30min drive to the local mountains or a 45min drive to the Sea of Japan.

JET PlacementsEdit

In Sanjo, there is a position for a single Canadian CIR. The CIR apartment is located within a 10min bike ride, or a 15 minute walk. There are also 4 ALT positions, but as of Aug. 2008, the ALT positions are no longer offered to JETs.

  • CIR - Works at the Sanjo City Office, Economic Department, Regional Management Division, International Section. The Sanjo City Office is less than a 10min bike ride away from home. Parking is not available for CIRs. Past CIRs have been from near Toronto, but the current CIR is from the Greater Vancouver Area, Canada. The City of Sanjo is usually looking for a CIR whom is from around the Toronto region, since the City of Vaughan is Sanjo's sister-city.
  • 2 Sanjo City ALTs - Will teach at most of the schools in the city.
  • Sakae town ALT - Will teach at most of the schools based in the Sakae region (formally Sakae town, was amalgamated with Sanjo in 2005) which is located on the south end of Sanjo.
  • Shitada village ALT - Will teach at most of the schools based in the Shitada region (formally Shitada village, amalgamated with Sanjo in 2005) which is located South-east of Sanjo, and is quite rural.


The city of Sanjo is blessed with a Shinkansen (bullet train) station nearby (Tsubame-Sanjo Station), along with access to the Expressway (Sanjo-Tsubame Inter-Change). On the Shinkansen, Tokyo can be reached in exactly 2 hours, or 4.5 hours by expressway bus.

Numerous local trains make their way to Niigata City and Nagaoka and the oceanside of Kashiwazaki can also be easily reached by train. One could get away without a personal vehicle, but it would most certainly make life in a small city very difficult.


Being your average small city, there is nothing really special with your shopping options here. Pretty much everything you need is available, but most Sanjo folks tend to make their way to Niigata City or Nagaoka for some weekend shopping.

The main shopping area is located near the Tsubame-Sanjo Station which is considered to be the meeting point for the City of Tsubame and Sanjo. A number of chain shops line the National route #8, and a handful of grocery stores are open until midnight which is a nice touch for a city this size. The Jusco along #289 is the only grocery store open 24 hours in the area, which is somewhat near the Sanjo City ALTs. Shitada and Sakae does not offer much when it come to shopping.

Sanjo does have a very good camping supply shop WEST (Japanese only) just south of the city center and plenty of early morning farmers markets which open up on scheduled dates and locations and offer fresh local produce and fish.

Western food is slowly being introducted to local grocery stores, but for a good selection of western foods, a new Yamaya shop (Japanese only) has opened up by the Sanjo-Tsubame Inter-Change.


Chain restaurants, karaoke shops, small izakayas and ramen shops scatter the landscape. You won't find much else other than Japanese cuisine, Japanese style western, Chinese and Korean food. If the tastebud requires other international foods, one usually travels to Niigata City for more options.

Local treats

  • Poppo yaki (ぽっぽ焼き) A brown sugar steamed pancake-like snack sticks only found in the central regions of Niigata prefecture.
  • Hikozaen/Hikozen (ひこざえん・ひこぜん) Sticky rice wrapped around a bamboo stick and then grilled with miso.

Sister City or Town TwinningsEdit

  • Vaughan, Ontario, Canada (Since October 18, 1993)
  • Ezhou, Hubei, China (Since April 28, 1994)

External LinksEdit

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