Nagaoka is a city located in the central part of Niigata Prefecture, Japan. It is the second largest city in the prefecture, behind the capital city of Niigata. Nagaoka is located in the center of Niigata prefecture and the surrounding Chetsu region. It is 80 minutes from Tokyo by way of the Joetsu Shinkansen or 3 hours on the Kan-Etsu Expressway. Nagaoka was an inland city until January 1, 2006 when the city merged with four municipalities-two were touching the Sea of Japan. The current Nagaoka now touches the Sea of Japan on the north and after the merger, it is still considered a strategic traffic point in the region. The Shinano River flows through it from south to north and industrial development occurs on both banks of the river. The Higashiyama mountain range lies to the east.