This island is renowned for its historical sites and agricultural heritage, and is the natural habitat of the crested ibis, Japan's endangered national bird.
The largest island in the Sea of Japan with a population of 56,000, Sado lies about 45 km west of Niigata. Its old streets, traditional culture, and ancient landscapes remain to this day, and efforts are being made to preserve them for future generations. The original rice terraces on the island have been designated as a World Agricultural Heritage Site, and the 30 or so Noh stages that are still in operation make up one-third of those surviving in Japan today.
- Stroll through Shukunegi, a village with close ties to Japan's former shipping industry, where over 100 houses have been built out of wooden shipping planks.
- Experience a ride on one of Sado's traditional barrel-shaped 'fishing tubs'.
- Visit Sado Kinzan, an abandoned gold mine that provides a glimpse back in time at the island's past economic prosperity.
- Visit the terraced rice fields often referred to as an 'original Japanese landscape'.
- Navigate your way through Japanese history by stopping off at the island's various temples, Noh stages, and festivals.
Tub boat ride
Along the Ogi coastline you can experience a ride in one of Sado's traditional barrel-shaped 'fishing tubs', used by the locals to collect hauls of seaweed, abalone, and fish.
This disused gold mine offers two walking courses to explore. Visit the early Edo hand dug pit as well as the industrialized mine that was operational in the Meiji period.
Explore historical shrines and temples
Numerous shrines and temples can be found across the island giving you an insight into the history and natural beauty that Sado has to offer. Seisuiji temple, founded in the 9th century, is especially noted for its sacred atmosphere and well worth a visit.
This gold mine was established around 400 years ago to support the finances of the ruling shogunate. From the mid-19th century it underwent modernization and mechanization before eventually closing in 1989. Walking courses provide access to the old mine shafts and pits.
This village is over 200 years old and was home to shipowners, sailors, and ship builders, who worked in the Japanese shipping industry. The original densely packed wood-plank houses are still standing today and three of the private residences are open to the public for a small fee (Sankakuya, Kaneyoka, and Seikuro).
Ogi Folk Museum
Learn more about Sado's folklore and culture. It houses a collection of approximately 30,000 Sado folk materials, alongside a full-size replica of a 'Sengokubune' cargo ship.
'Tanada', terraced rice fields
These terraced rice fields were formed during the Edo period to solve the island's food shortages as a result of the gold rush. Today you can enjoy beautiful sunrises from the Iwakubi Shoryu terraces and sunsets from the Kitatabe terraces.
A 167-meter tall monolith that protrudes into the sea. It is popular for hikers, especially from the end of May to early June, when the yellow flowers of the Amur daylilies come into full bloom.
Sado's Noh, was known as the 'commoner's Noh' and it is still frequently performed on the island. Most of the stages are to be found at shrines including Kehi Shrine and Hakusan Shrine.