Sado Island in Niigata – 7 Best Spots You Can Enjoy Unique Local Culture | FAST JAPAN
Sado Island
Niigata

Sado Island in Niigata – 7 Best Spots You Can Enjoy Unique Local Culture

Sado Island is one of the Japan's largest isolated islands located in west side of Niigata prefecture. Here I will introduce 7 best spots and things to do in Sado island!

Sado Island
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Sado Island (Japanese: 佐渡島) is one of the Japan’s largest isolated islands located in west side of Niigata prefecture and the population is about 50,000. From Tokyo, it takes total three to four hours to Ryotsu port in Sado Island by bullet train, taxi and ferry.

Sado Island
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Sado Island
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

For Japanese, Sado reminds them of crested ibis, gold mine and tub-boat called “tarai-bune”. Sado is where traditional and unique culture still remain! (Access to Sado Island from any part of Japan is available. Please click here.)

 

#1. Sado Gold Mine

Sado Gold Mine
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Sado Gold Mine
Photo Credit: sado-kinzan.com

Sado Gold Mine (Japanese: 佐渡金山跡) was found in 1601 and had flourished for about 388 years as major industry in Sado since its discovery. Now it is open to public as a museum where you can learn how the mine looked like and used to work. It reflects the manner of people working those days.

Sado Gold Mine
Photo Credit: flickr.com

Sado Gold Mine
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

There are two routes to enjoy the museum. One is called “Sohdayu Tunnel (Japanese: 宗太夫坑)” course and the other is “Dohyu Tunnel (Japanese: 道遊坑)” course. In the former course, the tunnels dug by hand in early era can be seen. Also, electrically-driven dolls will welcome you and explain how they used to work at the mine. In the latter, you can see the underground tunnels used in Meiji era and industrial properties which were actually used by workers to mine throughout years.

[map lat=”38.041694″ lng=”138.256001″] [/map]

 

Sado Gold Mine

Address: 1305 Shimo-aikawa, Sado-shi, Niigata Prefecture

Access: About an hour from Ryotsu port by car or bus. By bus, a few minutes walk from the bus stop called “Sado Kinzan”

Opening Hours: 8:00am ~ 5:30pm (Apr. – Oct.), 8:30am ~ 5:00pm (Nov. – Mar.)

Admission Fee: 900 JPY (Adult), 450 JPY (Elementary/Junior High School Student)

Phone: +81-259-74-2389

Website: Sado Gold Mine

 

#2. Toki Forest Park

Toki Forest Park
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Toki Forest Park (Japanese:トキの森公園) is where you can meet “crested ibis” which is a symbol for Sado island. Crested ibis is designated as an endangered spices. It is very rare to see crested ibis and Toki forest park is where you can watch released ibis!

Toki Forest Park
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Toki Forest Park
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Next to the park, Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center is located and they work on conservation and growth of crested ibis. The center itself is not open to public but they have a museum where video materials, stuffed specimen and resources explaining about the crested ibis are displayed. There are observation passages outside of museum site and you can actually see crested ibis raised in the center!

[map lat=”38.037581″ lng=”138.421919″] [/map]

 

Toki Forest Park

Address: 383−2 Niibonagaue, Sado, Niigata Prefecture

Access: 20 minutes bus ride from Ryotsu port

Opening Hours: 8:00am ~ 5:00pm

Admission Fee: 400 JPY (Adult), 100 JPY (Elementary/Junior High School Student)

Phone: +81-259-22-4123

Website: Toki Forest Park

 

#3. Ogi Coast

Ogi Coast
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Ogi Coast (Japanese: 小木海岸), a beautiful coast in Sado is designated as a Natural Treasure in Japan. It has beautifully varied shore line and is viewed as important area in terms of geology.

Ogi Coast
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Not only seeing the beautiful shore line, tarai-bune (Japanese: たらい舟) is another attraction in Ogi kaigan. Tarai-bune, a tub-turned boat is a Japanese traditional fishing boat mainly used on Sado island. Tarai-bune is useful for fishing in narrow shore reef because of the smallness and shape. In Ogi kaigan, you can experience riding the boat. I think this is only place you can experience it!

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Ogi CoastAddress: Ogi, Sado, Niigata Prefecture

Access: 15 minutes walk from Ogi port

Website: Ogi Coast

 

#4. Nohgaku no Sato

Nohgaku no Sato
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Noh (Japanese:能) is classic Japanese music drama and has been very prosperous in Sado island. There are still more 30 Noh theatre places in Sado. In Nohgaku no sato (Japanese: 能楽の里), you can enjoy Noh theatre played by humanoid robots any time in a day! Might think it is just a play by robots but actually looks like one by human and very authentic!

Nohgaku no Sato
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Archive center is located in the site of Nohgaku no sato and traditional Noh costumes and masks you can’t see in any other place in Japan are displayed. Not many people might not be familiar with Noh culture but here is the very place to start learning what Noh is!

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Nohgaku no SatoAddress: 1839 Agata, Sado-shi, Niigata Prefecture

Access: 10 minutes by car from Ryotu Port

Opening Hours: 8:30am ~ 5:00pm

Admission Fee: 800 JPY (Adult), 400 JPY (Elementary student)

Phone: +81-259-23-5000

 

#5. Shukunegi

Shukunegi
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Shukunegi
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Shukunegi (Japanese: 宿根木) is an area of Sado where shipping agent business used to be flourished in Edo era. About 100 houses are located together in the limb of sea. The streets are well organized and so tasteful that many tourists visit to see it. Shukunegi is also famous for its unique structure of the roof. Many houses in Shukunegi has heavy stones on a wooden board. The stones are line up very neatly and that makes the scenery tasteful.

Shukunegi
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

A house called “triangle house” is the most famous one in the area. It was built in small triangle-shaped space with a technique of local boatbuilder. The house is valuable because there is no more boatbuilder who has high level technique to build the house. It has been open to public since 2012. The view of street is literally worth seeing!

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ShukunegiAddress: Shukunegi, Sado-shi, Niigata Prefecture

Phone: +81-259-86-3200 (Sado Tourist Association)

Website: Shukunegi

 

#6. Hakuundai

Hakuundai
Photo Credit: visitsadso.com

Hakuundai
photo Credit: visitsado.com

Hakuundai (Japanese:白雲台) is located in altitude of 850m and where you can capture whole view of Sado island from Mano bay which is constricted part of Sado to Ryotsu bay on opposite part of Mano bay. The view on daytime is beautiful enough but the view at night time is highly recommended. Lights on the surface of the sea is brightly sparkled and it is very romantic.

Hakuundai
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Hakuundai
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Information center for tourists and hikers opened in 2010 on the top of Hakuundai. They introduce useful information about seasonal alpine plants and hiking courses. Also, tasty hamburger made with pork in Sado and udon noodle with fresh seaweeds are served at the restaurant. Some souvenirs purchase is available too!

[map lat=”38.080799″ lng=”138.333252″] [/map]

 

Hakuundai

Address: 3534 Nakaoki, Sado-shi, Niigata Prefecture

Access: 50 minutes from Ryotsu Port by car

Opening hours: 9:00am ~ 5:00pm

Phone: +81-259-61-1172

 

#7. Senkaku Bay

Senkaku Bay
Photo Credit: visitsado.com

Senkaku Bay
Photo Credit: visitsadso.com

Senkaku bay (Japanese: 尖閣湾) is where you can see precipitous cliffs and strangely shaped rocks over 2km long. It is often said that the bay looks alike with Hardandgerfjord in Norway.

Senkaku Bay
Photo Credit: iko-yo.net

Boat tour in Senkaku bay is available with the ship in the picture above. Bottom of the boat is made of tempered glass so you can watch the sea through. It will be so much fun to see many adorable fishes freely swimming! You will also enjoy beautifully organized coastline.

[map lat=”38.093479″ lng=”138.251335″] [/map]

 

Senkaku bay

Address: 1564-3 Kita-Ebisu Sado-shi, Niigata Prefecture

Access: 50 minutes from Ryotsu port by car

Opening Hours:
8:30am ~ 5:00pm (Mar. – Apr.)
8:00am ~ 5:30pm (May. – Oct.)
8:30am ~ 17:00pm (Nov.)
8:30am ~ 4:30pm (Dec. – Feb)

Boat Tour: 1,100 JPY (Adult), 550 JPY (Child)

Phone: +81-259-74-2220 (Sado Tourism Association)

Website: Senkaku Bay

 

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