Sado Gold Mine Historic Site

Mining for History on Sado Island

Located off the coast of Niigata Prefecture in the Sea of Japan, the remote island of Sado holds a unique place in Japanese history. Learn about how this former gold mine was a shining part of the Japanese economy.

Art & Culture History Family Fun Sites Traditions
Discover the mysteries of Sado Island, vying to be a World Heritage Site.

Discover the mysteries of Sado Island, vying to be a World Heritage Site.

Once home to a prosperous gold-mining community, this huge island on the Sea of Japan fueled the Japanese economy for over 400 years. The Aikawa Gold and Silver Mine, now opened to the public as the Sado Gold Mine, was heavily mined for its rich deposits since the beginning of the 17th century. It quickly became one of the largest gold mines in the world and was in continual use until the 1980s.

The site is a nominated candidate to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, and these days you can also venture into some of the tunnels themselves, which are packed with historically-accurate full-sized dioramas providing a glimpse into the life of a Sado miner. Tours without bookings are available and take between 30 to 40 minutes.

Let yourself wander under the ground and see what piece of history you bump into. Continue your stroll into Aikawa to find the Sado Magistrate’s Office, beautifully restored buildings central to Sado’s mining operations. Nearby is the townscape of the once-bustling mining community of Kamimachi, which has a distinct historical aura and gentle elegance. You’ll also come across the peak of Sado’s technological advancement with the 1938 construction of the Kitazawa Flotation Plant, which was once said to be the largest ore processing plant in East Asia. All these relics are fantastically preserved, faithfully demonstrating the jaw-dropping magnitude of mine development on the island. Visit again at night to witness the Floatation Plant be illuminated in a stunning light display!

Sado Gold Mine Historic Site

Sado Gold Mine Historic Site

Niigata is just two hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen bullet train. From there, an hour jet-foil ride or two-and-a-half hour car ferry ride will bring you to Sado. With several ferries from Niigata Port a day, it’s not difficult to head out to Sado Island on the Sado Kisen Ferry to learn about the island’s fascinating past. You might even discover gold while exploring the ancient mines!


SADO Tourism Association
Tel: +81 259-23-5231

Business hours

Sado Gold Mine Historic Site
08:00 - 17:30(April to October)
08:30 - 17:00(November to March)

Kirarium Sado
08:30 - 17:00


Digital Map

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