/nee"ee gah"tah/, n.a seaport on NW Honshu, in central Japan. 457,783.
* * *▪ Japancapital of Niigata ken (prefecture), north-central Honshu, Japan. Niigata lies on the coastal edge of the Echigo Plain at the mouth of the Shinano River. It was an important rice port in feudal times and has continued as the country's leading port along the Sea of Japan, carrying on trade with South Korea and Russia. Coal and raw material imports predominate. Niigata is also an industrial city that produces chemicals, cotton textiles, metals, machinery, paper, and ships. Local deposits of natural gas and available hydroelectricity have attracted many large factories. A severe earthquake struck the city and surrounding area in June 1964, causing extensive loss of life and property damage. Pop. (2005) 813,847.ken (prefecture), north-central Honshu, Japan. It lies along the Sea of Japan and includes the offshore islands of Sado and Awa. Silt deposited by the Shinano (Shinano River) and Ara rivers in the central part of the long coastline has created the lowland called the Echigo Plain, which contains the majority of the population. The rest of the prefecture is mountainous except for small southern coastal plains and lowlands along other river courses. Niigata is one of Japan's largest rice producers, providing major surpluses for shipment to city markets. Plentiful hydroelectric power generated in the interior mountains has stimulated industrial growth (chemicals, metals, machinery) in such cities as Niigata, Kashiwazaki, Naoetsu, Sanjō, and Takada. The prefecture also produces petroleum (Nagaoka, Kashiwazaki) and natural gas. Niigata is the prefectural capital and largest city. Area 4,857 square miles (12,579 square km). Pop. (1993 est.) 2,478,000.
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