In the cold winter month of January 2012, two post graduate students from the Department of Community Health, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), went on a two weeks field attachment with the Division of International Health (Public Health), Niigata University Graduate School of Medical & Dental Sciences (NU). This report is an account of our first hand learning experience about the public health system and culture in Niigata, Japan. Famously known as the 'Snow Country', Niigata prefecture is approximately 350 kilometers north of Tokyo, in the middle of the west coast of Honshu island, facing the Sea of Japan. It borders on the east with Fukushima prefecture, which was badly affected by the great tsunami disaster in March 2011. Niigata has a population of two and a half million, of which 21.3% is above the age of 65. Niigata University is located in Niigata City, the capital of Niigata prefecture. This attachment was under the UKM-Global Student Mobility Programme (Outbound) and it was taken as an opportunity to improve the memorandum of understanding between UKM and NU. The objectives were to gain knowledge and experience in various public health issues in a developed nation like Japan. Specifically, we were interested to learn about the local public health programmes, the influenza surveillance system, public health programmes for the elderly population, the Geographical Information System (GIS) and the Japanese culture in general. (Copied from article).