Kawanishi is located on a 50m-high hill on the western side of the Shinanogawa River. The Shinanogawa River used to run through Kawanishi before the area was raised as a result of crustal change due to frequent earthquakes. The main industry of Kawanishi is rice production, namely the Uonuma Koshihikari brand which is the most well-known. The former Zenkoji Street which now runs through the Tachiban, Ueno, and Senju areas were in the past used for travellers and merchants to travel from nearby Ojiya to Nagano prefecture. With the Shinanogawa River separating Kawanishi and Tokamachi, delivery of goods and commute was done by boat until the Sakae Bridge was built in 1964.
The Hoshina family and its business, one of the most successful farmers and businessmen in the Tsumari region, is currently being run by its 15th successive generation. During the Edo period (1603 – 1868) they traded primarily in sake, oil, rice, salt, traditional "chizimifu" cloth and antiques, and with its growing business fortune the Hoshina House was built in 1842, which has since been designated as a national treasure. Its structure with wide frontage of approximately 30m, six warehouses, and two tea rooms was the inspiration for James Turrell's House of Light.
Nakago Green Park
Great views of rice fields and the Shinanogawa River, as well as Tokamachi city and Uonuma hills on the other side of the river with Echigo Sanzan (the three mountains of Echigo) in distance. Visitors can enjoy a visit to James Turrell's House of Light and Berry Spoon, an art project run by local residents.