Just off the coast of Niigata, Sado Island centres around the leafy oasis of Toki Forest Park. It’s home to excellent museums exploring its cultural and mining history, as well as a spectacular coastline that can be explored from land or by taraibune wooden boats.
Things to do in Sado
Delve into the mining history of Sado Island at the Kinzan Gold Mine, once the most productive gold mine in Japan. Follow the walking routes through its tunnels where life-size animatronic miners are at work and get up close to old mining tools and machines used during the Meiji period.
Discover the cultures and events that have shaped the island at the Sado History Museum and learn about the prominent people who have used it as a place of exile. Admire the work of local artist Sasaki Shodo and watch as animatronic puppets re-enact local legends and historical events.
Experience the natural beauty of Sado Island at Senkaku Bay, which is backed by steep cliffs that plunge into the waters of the East Sea below. Take in the views from one of the observation points or board a glass-bottom boat to explore the landscapes both above and below the water’s surface.
Alternatively, take to the water at Ogi Town, which is famed for its wooden tub-shaped boats known as taraibune. Originally used for harvesting shellfish and seaweed, they are now used for sightseeing trips around the Ogi Port and the picturesque islands of Yajima and Kyojima.
Getting around Sado
Sado Island has regular ferry connections to Niigata City, which is a two-hour train ride from Tokyo. Buses travel around Sado Island, but having your own vehicle is the most convenient way of getting around.