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Sado Island

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Map of Sado IslandMap of Sado Island
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Map of Sado Island

Sado Island (???? Sadogashima) is an island off the coast of Niigata in the Chubu region of Japan.

sado island Travel Guide :

Sado Island

Understand

Long a remote place of exile for politically difficult people, including ex-Emperor Juntoku and the militant monk Nichiren, Sado experienced a boom during the Edo era when gold was found at Aikawa. A major source of revenue for the Tokugawa shogunate, the mines were worked in horrific conditions by what amounted to slave labor, consisting of homeless people rounded up from the mainland.

Despite this grim history, today's Sado is a pleasant summer getaway of rocky coasts, green hills and quaint fishing ports, with a permanent population of just 70,000. Shaped like an anvil, the largest town Ry?tsu (??) is nestled in the eastern gap. Ogi (??) is on the southern coast, while the former gold-mining town of Aikawa (??) lies to the north.

Sado Island

Get in

Sado Island

By plane

Service to the tiny Sado Airport (SDS) is irregular and expensive. Most visitors fly into Niigata or Tokyo and connect from there.

Sado Island

By boat

Three ferry lines link the island to the mainland:

  • Niigata-RyotsuRyotsu, the most heavily used lines with departures hourly
    • Jet ferries ¥5,960, 1 hour
    • Car ferries ¥2,060, 2.5 hours
  • NaoetsuNaoetsu-OgiOgi, ¥2,060, 2.5 hours, 4-5 daily
  • TeradomariTeradomari-AkadomariAkadomari ¥1,410, 2 hours, 2-3 daily

Services may be increased for festivals and cut back in the winter or in adverse weather. Prices above are for second class, which gets you a blanket and tatami to sit on and is perfectly adequate. The jet ferries have only one class. All lines are operated by Sado Kisen 1 (http://www.sadokisen.co.jp/) (Japanese only). English timetables are available here (http://www.mijintl.com/sadokisn.html).

Sado Island

Get around

Occasional buses connect most points on the island. Hitchhiking is a fairly good means of getting around, or you might want to consider renting a car.

Sado Island

See

  • Sado Gold Mountain (???? Sado Kinzan). Located in a former gold mine and filled with animatronic figures showing the misery of life in the mines. Admission ¥700, open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. Located three kilometers from Aikawa,
  • Sado's coastline is quite scenic, full of rocks, cliffs, gorges and more. Particularly well known are the Sotokaifu Coast (?????) and its Senkaku Bay (???), to the north of Aikawa, and the Ogi Coast (????), near the town of the same name,
  • There are a number of temples connected with the Nichiren faith on the island, including Konponji (???), built on the location of his exile, My?senji (???) and My?sh?ji (???).
Sado Island

Do

  • The Earth Celebration 2 (http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/) is a yearly arts festival run by the taiko (Japanese drumming) group Kod? since 1988. Performers from around the world join the event, culminating in Kodo's famously physical drumming performances on the bass-laden o-daiko (great drum). The group lives and works out in spartan conditions on the island year-round, and once ran from the finish line of Boston Marathon onto stage for a performance. Tickets are pricy (¥4000+) but well worth it, book early as only 1000 are sold — the concerts are all acoustic and would not support more.
  • For a more tame experience, take a spin (literally) in one of Ogi's tarai-bune, tiny little boats inconveniently shaped like barrels and rented out to tourists by the hour.
Sado Island

Buy

Sado Island

Eat

  • Kassai (????). Ogi 1977, tel. 0259-86-2124. Basic Japanese shokud? eatery serving up all the usual suspects, freshly made. Try the fish of the day.
  • Oasis, Tel.0259-86-2605. Restaurant & tennis court International menu. Enjoy the view of the ocean from the patio open all year round; closed Wednesday. Owner is from NYC living on Sado for 15 years
Sado Island

Drink

There are no less than seven sake breweries on the island, so do your best to sample them all.

  • Three of them are located in the hamlet of Mano (??), on the western coast, which has proclaimed itself the independent state of the Alcohol Republic (???????? Aruk?ru Ky?wakoku) 3 (http://www.sado.co.jp/alcohol/main.htm). Stop by the tourist office (Shinmachi 489, tel. 0259-55-3539) to sample the local wares and even pick up a passport (¥500) for documenting your experiences.
Sado Island

Sleep

Camping is a viable budget option on Sado.

  • Sobama. A 15-minute drive from Ogi on the other side of the peninsula, located on a beautiful beach. The official campground here costs a steep ¥1300, but especially in Earth Celebration time there is often overflow onto the beach itself. Toilets, pay showers, small shop and other facilities.
  • Camp Kisaki-jo. A barebones camping ground consisting of a tiny shrine on a little cape jutting out into the large lake next to Ryotsu, bordered on both sides by Sado's two central mountain chains. No facilities.
Sado Island

Get out

Sado Island

External links


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