Jōetsu (上越市 Jōetsu-shi) is a city located in southern Niigata Prefecture, in the Hokuriku region of Japan. As of 1 June 2016, the city has an estimated population of 195,713, with a population density of 201 persons per km². The total area was 973.81 square kilometres (375.99 sq mi).

Jōetsu has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). Owing to its location at the foot of Mount Hotaka facing onshore winds from the Sea of Japan, Jōetsu is the wettest low-lying part of the northern hemisphere temperate zone apart from the Owase region of the Kii Peninsula, receiving an average of around 2.8 metres (110.2 in) of precipitation per year. As a comparison, Forks on the windward side of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula receives 110 inches (2.79 m) and Rize on the Black Sea coast of Turkey 2,530 millimetres (100 in). The cold winds from the combined power of the Siberian High and Aleutian Low give Jōetsu an average of 6.3 metres (250 in) of snowfall that however tends to melt significantly even during the winter. On February 26, 1945, Jōetsu received as much as 3.77 metres (148 in) of snow in one day. The heaviest annual snowfall, since the beginning of regular snowfall measurements in 1953, was 14.94 metres (590 in) in the 1985/1986 season and the heaviest monthly total precipitation 942 millimetres (37 in) in January 1945, whilst the driest month was August 1985 with 16 millimetres (0.63 in).

Niigata Prefecture (新潟県 Niigata-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Honshu on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The capital is the city of Niigata with which it shares the same name.

Until after the Meiji Restoration, the area that is now Niigata Prefecture was divided into Echigo Province (on the mainland) and Sado Province. During the Sengoku period, the Nagao clan, who were at times vassals to the Uesugi, ruled a fief in the western part of modern Niigata from Kasugayama Castle. The most notable member of the Nagao clan was Nagao Kagetora, later and better known as Uesugi Kenshin. He unified the leaders of Echigo Province and became its sole ruler. By taking the surname Uesugi, he also became the head of the Uesugi clan and effectively brought their realm under his control.

The city of Niigata is now the third largest Japanese city facing the Sea of Japan, after Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. It was the first Japanese port on the Sea of Japan to be opened to foreign trade following the opening of Japan by Matthew Perry. It has since played an important role in trade with Russia and Korea. A freighter from North Korea visits Niigata once a month, in one of the few forms of direct contact between Japan and that country.

The Etsuzankai organization, led by the politician Kakuei Tanaka, was highly influential in bringing infrastructure improvements to Niigata Prefecture in the 1960s and 1970s. These included the Jōetsu Shinkansen high-speed rail line and the Kanetsu Expressway to Tokyo.

On October 23, 2004, the Chūetsu earthquake struck Niigata Prefecture and was measured at Shindo 6+ at Ojiya.

On January 9, 2006, a heavy winter storm struck the prefecture and its neighbors. At least 71 people died and more than 1,000 were injured. Also in 2006, a massive tsunami and earthquake damaged homes and caused casualties in the maritime areas of Niigata Prefecture, especially near Sado Island.

On July 16, 2007, another earthquake hit the area.

Niigata Prefecture hosts the Fuji Rock Festival, an annual event held at the Naeba ski resort. The three-day event, organized by Smash Japan, features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians. It is one of the largest outdoor music events in Japan, with more than 100,000 people attending in 2005.

Much of the tourism in Niigata centers around skiing, especially in the alpine areas of Myōkō and Yuzawa, and going to onsen. Sado Island off the west coast of Niigata is accessible via ferry (taking one to two and a half hours) from Naoetsu or Niigata City.

Professional sports clubs include Albirex Niigata, a J-League Division 1 Soccer Club, and Niigata Albirex BB, a BJ (Basketball Japan) League team.

Honshu (Japanese: 本州, translit. Honshū, lit. '"Main island/Main province', pronounced [hoꜜɴɕɯː] (About this sound listen)) is the largest and most populous island of Japan, located south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Straits. The island separates the Sea of Japan, which lies to its north and west, from the North Pacific Ocean to its south and east. It is the seventh-largest island in the world, and the second-most populous after the Indonesian island of Java.

Honshu had a population of 103 million as of 2005,[citation needed] mostly concentrated in the coastal lowlands, notably in the Kantō plain where 25% of the total population resides in the Greater Tokyo Area.[citation needed] As the historical center of Japanese culture and political power,[citation needed] the island includes several past Japanese capitals, including Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura. Much of the island's southern shore forms part of the Taiheiyō Belt, a megalopolis that spans several of the Japanese islands.

Most of Japan's industry is located in a belt running along Honshu's southern coast, from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, and Hiroshima;[citation needed] by contrast, the economy along the northwestern Sea of Japan coast is largely based on fishing and agriculture. The island is linked to the other three major Japanese islands by a number of bridges and tunnels. Its climate is humid and mild.

Honshu is connected to the islands of Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku by tunnels and bridges. Three bridge systems have been built across the islands of the Inland Sea between Honshu and Shikoku (Akashi Kaikyō Bridge and the Ōnaruto Bridge; Shin-Onomichi Bridge, Innoshima Bridge, Ikuchi Bridge, Tatara Bridge, Ōmishima Bridge, Hakata–Ōshima Bridge, and the Kurushima-Kaikyō Bridge; Shimotsui-Seto Bridge, Hitsuishijima Bridge, Iwakurojima Bridge, Yoshima Bridge, Kita Bisan-Seto Bridge, and the Minami Bisan-Seto Bridge), the Seikan Tunnel connects Honshu with Hokkaido, and the Kanmonkyo Bridge and Kanmon Tunnel connects Honshu with Kyushu

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