Sado Island

Wander the path of exiles at Sado Island

Delve into Japanese historical legend and marvel at the protected natural beauty on this incredible island off the shore of Niigata Prefecture. Check out a largely untouched side of Japan for an unforgettable, educational journey.

History Activities Sites
Island life in Japan reveals a unique side of Japanese culture.

Island life in Japan reveals a unique side of Japanese culture.

Sado Island is located off the west coast of Niigata and is one of Japan’s largest Islands. Over the years it has become a melting pot of religions and cultures as exiles from all over the country made it their home, and now offers tourists a fascinating insight into Japan’s rich history. One such tradition is the use of Tarai Bune boats, the shallow bottom small ‘tubs’ that were perfect for fishermen to navigate the small coves of the island and today take tourists on guided tours from Ogi Port.

Today Sado Island is also a sanctuary for the endangered Japanese crested ibis, or toki, and is known for its culture of drumming and music. Every year it hosts Earth Celebration, an event that focuses on nature, culture and drumming. It’s located about 70 minutes away from Niigata city by jetfoil boat and two-and-a-half hours away by car ferry.

Come to Sado Island for unique outdoor activities, the exciting and culturally rich festivities of the Earth Celebration, or to explore a deeper side of Japan’s historical legend. The Old Aikawa Detention House is a stark reminder of the Sado’s history of exile, and the Sado Rekishi Densetsukan (Sado History Museum) also provides a wealth of information of the island’s storied past. Visitors to Sado will be rewarded with new and compelling perspectives on all that Japan has to offer – whether traveling for cultural and historical discovery, or simply adventure.

Sado Island

Sado Island

Visitors to Sado Island can access it from Niigata Port via either jetfoil ferry (70 min) or car ferry (2.5 hours). Once on the island, Sado can be explored using regular bus services, alongside guided tour buses. Taxis are also convenient, and local drivers are sure to know all the hotspots you’ll want to visit.

Phone number

+81 259-27-5000


Digital Map

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