Niigata prefecture has a long coastline facing the sea of Japan, because of this it was a critical port area during the Edo period in the 17th and 18th centuries. These days Niigata is famous for skiing, hot springs, fresh seafood, rice and sake (rice wine). In fact, most of Japan’s top sake brands are brewed here. Sado Island is also a part of Niigata and is one of Japan’s largest islands apart from the main four, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido. Sado hosts the internationally popular Earth Celebration, an annual music festival featuring the locally born, globally famous Kodo Taiko (drumming) group. Another famous Niigata tradition is celebrating the summer season with elaborate firework festivals. Niigata prefecture is great to visit through all four seasons and offers cultural, culinary, and artistic experiences for the adventurous traveler.