The Port of Naoetsu lies on the shores of the Sea of Japan in west-central Japan’s Niigata Prefecture about 211 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. In addition to its port, the Port of Naoetsu is home to producers of skis, chemicals, machinery, metals, and foods. In 2005, over 208 thousand people lived in the Port of Naoetsu.
During the Kamakura period from the late 12th to middle 14th Centuries, the Port of Naoetsu was an important Sea of Japan port. From the 17th Century until the early 20th Century, the Port of Naoetsu was simply an outport for Takada, a more prosperous city. When the railways arrived in the Port of Naoetsu, it began to revive with rapid industrialization.
Jyoetsu, about four kilometers from the Port of Naoetsu, is the major city for the port today. Lying on the banks of the Ara River, Jyoetsu was formed by the merger of the Port of Naoetsu and Takada city.
A castle town, Takada grew as a commercial center during the 1600s. It was a garrison town from 1868 to the end of World War II. Its traditional industry includes manufacturing of agricultural implements and textiles. Now merged with the Port of Naoetsu, it is part of the modern city of Jyoetsu.
The Port of Naoetsu was an important port for the Echigo province, and merchant ships sailed to and from Sado, Kyoto, and Tokyo during the Heian period. The port exported rice, Echigojyofu, and salty salmon, and the Port of Naoetsu was the second biggest city after Kyoto in the age of civil war.
During the Edo period, the Port of Naoetsu was an important hub for the movement of rice to Edo and Kamigata and a distribution hub within the Shinshu area. When steamships stopped at the Port of Naoetsu after the Meiji period, domestic trade grew rapidly. Imports of raw materials (like salt, ore, and coal) increased.
In 1951, the Port of Naoetsu was designated an Important Port by the Niigata Prefectural government. Since then, port facilities have been developed and modernized, and the port can accommodate large-scale vessels today.