Niigata City, Japan.  Miss International 2016 delegates had experienced genuine Japanese omotenashi from the hospitable people of Niigata City on Saturday, October 15th.  First, they were given special treatment at the Mitsukoshi Department Store where they tried different types of food and pastries, as well as some fashion items like make up and dresses.

Miss International 2015 Edymar Martinez was genuinely happy to be back in Niigata after her visit last year first as a contestant.  “I love Niigata!  It is one of my favorite places in Japan. Last year we had rain all day, but today the weather is perfect!” said Martinez (21) who is now fulfilling the last days of her duty as the reigning queen, leading this year’s batch of contestants.

All the delegates were then moved into the old business district of Niigata City, along the Furumachi Mall, where they had the chance to be given free items from family-owned stores. “I really love it here.  I don’t just love Niigata, I want to live in Niigata,” said Miss Russia, Alisa Manenok, the famous volleyball player in her country who was also the last delegate to arrive in Japan.

Finally, the delegates visited the Furumachi Shinmei Shrine where they received prayers from the resident priest.

Niigata City is biding to host the 2019 edition of Miss International Beauty Pageant, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Niigata Port. / Stephen I. Diaz