NIIGATA – New Inlet 新潟県

Origin of Niigata prefectural name

There are two leading theories about the origin of the Niigata name.

Theory 1: The origin dates back to the 16th century and likely refers to the new boat port built in the existing delta of Shinano River in present-day Niigata city.

Theory 2: The port might have been in a new lagoon formed at the mouth of Shinano River. However, the area was more like a shallow delta, and not exactly a lagoon. There were sand dunes ashore as well.

・The mouth of the nearby Agano River also became part of Niigata Port. Today, the river delta is gone, and Shinano River has major port facilities near the mouth.

・Being centuries old, Niigata’s inlet is no longer “new.” It’s just a name now. Japan loves to use the word “new” (usually pronounced “Shin”) in names of places and facilities.

・Niigata Port was one of the six Japanese ports first opened to the United States in accordance with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Japan and the United States of 1858. Niigata Port opened up in Jan. 1860.

Old province names: Echigo-no-Kuni, Sado-no-Kuni (越後国+佐渡国)

*The AI-generated image is for illustrative purposes only and may not accurately depict any particular place in the prefecture.
*Major reference sources: Official prefectural website, Japanese Wikipedia, other websites.

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