Tokyo, Japanese's capital, is 180 miles (290 kilometers) south of Murakami.
You don't have to limit yourself to the attractions of Murakami because the entire region is dotted with a treasure-trove of great sights and attractions. Places in the vicinity of Murakami are Shibata, 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the northeast, and Niigata, 30 miles (48 kilometers) to the northeast.
When it's time to explore beyond Murakami, why not visit the nearest regional city. Niigata is around 30 miles (48 kilometers) away and is home to visitor attractions including Niigata Racecourse, Northern Culture Museum and Niigata Prefectural Botanical Garden. Niigata Stadium (Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium), Bandai-Asahi National Park and Toki Messe are also worth investigating before heading back to Murakami.
One of the most pleasurable aspects of travel is using languages you aren't familiar with, so take the time to try out some rudimentary Japanese during your time here. "Isshoni odorimasenka?" is a good phrase to know. It means "Would you like to dance with me?" "Where's the toilet?" is also useful, so try pronouncing "Benjo wa doko desu ka?"
Birthday of Emperor Akihito is celebrated on the 23rd of December, so be sure to set aside your sightseeing and join in the fun and festivities with locals.
At the end of your stay in Niigata, you'll be sure to bid this place a fond "Sayōnara" Rest assured, however, you'll be leaving with photos and memories that you'll have for years to come.