Sado Island

Niigata, Chubu

One of Japan's largest islands, Sado Island has an interesting history. Its culture can be seen in its unique traditional arts and entertainment.

Sado Island is located 45 kilometers west of Niigata City, in the northern part of the Chubu region. Apart from the four main islands, it is the biggest island in Japan, with a coastline of around 227 kilometers and an area of about 857 square kilometers. The island consists of two parallel mountain ranges, the Kimpoku and Kunimi Mountains, and between them lie the Kuninaka Plains. Together they form a part of Sado Yahiko Quasi-National Park.

An aristocratic culture flourished on the island beginning in the 8th century through the activities of the people who were exiled there by the government for having lost in a political rivalry or to oppress them for their political ideas and activities. Also, during the Edo period in the 17th and 18th centuries, samurai and trades people who mined gold created a culture unique to the island, including some traditional arts and entertainment such as Mumyoi-yaki(clay pottery),the Sado Okesa dance, Sado Noh (classic Japanese musical drama) and puppet plays.

Sado Island has many attractions, such as the Sado Gold Mine that offers a reproduction of gold mining activities in the 17th and 18th centuries complete with miniatures and electric- powered dolls. Other attractions include Senkaku Bay with a beautiful view of the precipitous cliffs, Lake Kamo, where you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, and Toki-no-mori Park where you can see Japanese crested ibis, a protected species.


From Tokyo:
[Rail] 2h to Niigata Station by JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line, then 1h to Ryotsu Port by jetfoil.
From Osaka:
[Air] 1h 5 min from Itami to Niigata Airport. 25 min from Niigata Airport to Sado Airport, or 1h from Niigata Port to Ryotsu Port by jetfoil.

Around the Sado Island

More on the Sado Island