Niigata, which will host the Agriculture Ministers' Meeting on May 11 and 12, is known for many things, but premier Koshihikari rice is likely the prefecture's most notable product.

The brand is long loved and known as one of the tastiest varieties in Japan, cultivated in nutrient-rich water that runs down from the snowy mountains to the rice paddies. A wide margin in temperature between sowing and harvest is also an important factor contributing to Koshihikari's taste.

Excellent water and rice also make Niigata one of the country's largest sake producers. The climate is optimal for brewing sake; the local sake's crisp dryness is partly thanks to the cold winter temperatures and long-term fermentation process. The city's 15 master brewers have long been polishing their craft and passing their techniques on to future generations.