Just like in "Laputa Castle in the Sky"! Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture as a treasure trove of spectacular sceneries

Just like in
Sado Island in the western part of Niigata Prefecture, Sea of Japan, is the largest remote island that has area of about 855㎢. It is about 1.5 times as large as the 23 wards of Tokyo.

Sado Island is famous for its gourmet foods such as Sado Kinzan, Japanese crested ibis, Sado beef, and seafood, but it is also a treasure trove of wonderful sceneries.

Here are 6 spectacular spots that can only be seen on Sado Island, where you can immerse yourself in the world of Ghibli, townscapes rooted in ship carpentry culture, geosites created by the earth, and rare lily colonies.
▼ Click here for Sado Island access information

1. Kitazawa Fuyu Senkouba

Kitazawa Fuyu Senkouba

|The nostalgic industrial heritage that makes you feel as if you were lost in the world of Laputa

The Ghibli anime "Laputa Castle in the Sky" becomes a hot topic every time it is on TV.
In fact, Sado Island has industrial heritage sites that make you feel like you're lost in the world of Laputa. The name means remains of a flotation plant used to separate silver and gold.

Just 7 minutes by car from Sado Kinzan (Sado gold mine), and you are at the site of the gold and silver extraction facility that once boasted the largest scale in the Orient. The landscape of green vines entwined in a huge, crumbling concrete structure is truly the world of Laputa.
Kitazawa Fuyu Senkouba
Huge buildings are scattered on the site with the terraces. The facility that separates water and minerals, "thickener," has a diameter of 50m and is reminiscent of the ancient Roman ruins of the Colosseum.
Kitazawa Fuyu Senkouba
During the tourist season from spring to autumn, the lights are lit up from 19:00 to 21:00.

The ruins of the mine are illuminated by colorful lights, the stars shine in the sky, and you can hear refreshing voices of insects here and there.

Bring a flashlight for your safety when you come here.
【Address】3-2 Aikawa Kitazawamachi, Sado, Niigata 952-1539
【Business hours】Free walk
【Access】About 50 minutes by car from Ryotsu Port
【Web site】https://www.visitsado.com/spot/detail0091/

2. Tarai-bune of Yajima Kyojima

Tarai-bune of Yajima Kyojima

|Rolling over and over in a "Tarai-bune" (traditional Japanese round fishing boat) in a beautiful cove

Yajima and Kyojima are small islands in the southern part of Ogi town, Sado Island. A small vivid red arch bridge is built between the two islands, creating a landscape that looks like a miniature garden.

In this beautiful cove, you can board a Tarai-Bune rowed by a female boatman in a braided hat and traditional costume.
Tarai-bune of Yajima Kyojima
Ride a boat around the cove, as you are in a scene from the Ghibli anime "Spirited Away".
The emerald green sea is highly transparent, so you can see swimming fish from the hole in the center of the boat.
Tarai-bune of Yajima Kyojima
You can also cross the vivid red arch bridge walking along the promenade. Watching the Tarai-Bune floating in the cove from the top of the bridge is a beautiful scene to make your day full of wonderful energy.

3. Shukunegi Town

Shukunegi Town

|Stroll through the maze-like town of shipbuilders with unique architecture!

Shukunegi is the southernmost town on Sado Island, became famous for the commercials of JR East where Sayuri Yoshinaga an actress and activist appeared.

From the Edo period to the Meiji period, this town prospered as a port for so-called Kitamaebune shipping route from Osaka to Hokkaido and used to be a gathering place for shipbuilders.

Even now, more than 100 traditional buildings are lined up here, and it is designated as an important traditional buildings preservation district of the country.
Shukunegi Town
If you walk through the dense alleys of the buildings, you'll notice that most of them are two-story houses. This is Shukunegi's original architecture designed to take up a large space on a small site.
Shukunegi Town
Furthermore, in order to withstand the strong winds from the Sea of Japan, locals used a "Koba-bukiishi roof" with stones placed on top of thin boards, and a cedar board called "Saya" is laid vertically around the house.

This architectural method rooted in the land of Sado Island creates a unique and beautiful landscape.
【Address】Shukunegi Town, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture
【Fee】Depends on the site
【Business hours】Depends on the site
【Holidays】Depends on the site
【Access】About 10 minutes by car from Ogi Port
【Web site】http://shukunegi.com/

4. Manjojiki


|Like at Uyuni salt lake! A photogenic mirror of the sky whose expression changes every second

A superb view spot located on the coast of the Ogi Peninsula is called "Manjojiki". Right before the low tide, the sky is reflected on the surface of the water and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery like at Lake Uyuni in Bolivia.
The best timing is the day without wind and with clear beautiful clouds. You can take wonderful pictures even at dusk.

And even at night, there is a chance to catch the starry sky projected on the surface of the water, creating a more fantastic world.
【Address】Sawasaki, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture
【Business hours】Free walk
【Access】About 20 minutes by car from Ogi Port
【Web site】http://www.niigata-kankou.or.jp/sys/data?page-id=9985/

5. A group of marine potholes in Hiranezaki

group of marine potholes in Hiranezaki

|Japan's largest group of potholes where you can enjoy the beauty of nature and hot spring diving

This spot in Hiranezaki has innumerable potholes created in the bedrock that stretches for about 500 m due to the eddy pattern erosion made by seawater. It is designated as a national natural monument and Japan's largest group of potholes.

The holes are over 2m long, and some reach a depth of 3m. Here you can enjoy the dynamic beauty of the powerful and rough Sea of Japan.
group of marine potholes in Hiranezaki
In addition, there are hot springs of 80°C or higher erupting from the seabed in Hiranezaki, making it a popular place for divers to enjoy hot spring diving. Here you can boil eggs at the hot spring spouts.
【Address】1465 Tochu, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture
【Business hours】Free walk
【Access】About 70 minutes by car from Ryotsu Port
【Web site】https://www.visitsado.com/spot/detail0145/

6. Tobishima Liquorice Flowers at Onogame

Tobishima Liquorice Flowers at Onogame

|Lily colony selected by Michelin Green Guide

Onogame is a giant rock shaped like a turtle protruding into the Sea of Japan at the northern end of Sado Island and literally means "Big Wild Turtle".

It is a monolith with an altitude of 167m and is the best scenic spot on Sado Island, which was also selected as a two-star in "Michelin Green Guide Japan".

"Onogame" is also known as the best colony of Tobishima Liquorice in Japan, and from late May to mid-June, about 500,000 plants of 1 million licorice paint the entire surface. The mix of bright yellow flowers, green grass, and the blue sea will make your heart beat faster.
Tobishima Liquorice Flowers at Onogame
Tobishima Licorice is a perennial plant of the Liliaceae family and is a rare flower that blooms only on Sado Island and Tobishima island off the coast of Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture.

Here on Sado Island, these flowers are also called "Yorame".

Yorame means "fish with eggs", and it says that if the flower of Tobishima blooms, "the sea and the fish will come back to life". Tobishima flowers are carefully protected by the locals.

Every June, the "Sado Licorice Festival" is held. On the eve of Saturday, you can enjoy traditional performing arts such as demon drums and Sado folk songs while being illuminated by bonfires.
【Best season】Late May to mid-June
【Address】Negai, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture
【Business hours】Free walk
【Access】About 1 hour by car from Ryotsu Port
【Web site】https://www.visitsado.com/spot/detail0133/
And here is information about Sado Island access via ferry.

How to access Sado Island

How to access Sado Island
▲ Sado Jetfoil
Sado Island can be reached by ferry or high-speed boat from three ports. If you travel from Tokyo and Osaka, Niigata Port is recommended. Niigata Port is 25 minutes by bus from Niigata Airport and 15 minutes from JR Niigata Station.

It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes by ferry or 1 hour by Jetfoil (high-speed boat) from Niigata Port to Sado Island. From Tokyo, you can reach it in 4 hours.
So far, we have introduced the spectacular spots on Sado Island. Those specific and magical spots you can only enjoy here.
We would recommend you to visit the island from early summer to autumn.

Don't hesitate and let yourself to savor the spectacular sceneries of Sado Island.

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