The last time I went through the town of Itoigawa (population 47,102) I was on an express to Kanazawa.
Since then, the Shinkansen (bullet train line) from Tokyo to Nagano was extended to Kanazawa, and the new section opened in 2015.
This week I rode the bullet train 97 km from Nagano to Itoigawa, just enough time to enjoy a lovely picnic lunch I had picked up in a department store in Nagano.
It was raining, and chilly. A bullet train was a comfortable place to have lunch. I wandered around Itoigawa, sandwiched between the Sea of Japan and Japan's "Alps." Then I hopped back on a train to Nagano.