Sado Island

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
Trip End May 17, 2008

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Where I stayed
Nanauraso Sado
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Japan  , Chubu,
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sado is the sixth largest island of Japan, but I believed that the island was lacking in tourist attractions. The main attraction of the island is a gold mine ruin and the other tourist attractions are nothing unique to Sado. So I had not felt like going to Sado for a long time until my mother said she wanted to go there. It is impossible for her to travel on her own, so I decided to take her to the island.

Conveniently, there were some flights from Nagoya to Niigata and from Niigata to Sado every day. Actually, the first attractions of the trip were the flights. The airplaine we took from Nagoya was FDA, or Fuji Dream Airlines, which was founded in 2008. Interestingly, they have six-different-coloured fleet and I enjoyed the colourfulness in the airport. Nagoya Airport used to be an international airport and the main airport of this region, but now it is just a regional small airport. I had never used the airport since I took a flight to Australian in 2004 and I didn't know how much they downsized the airport. Somehow I felt sad, but thanks to FDA fleet, I enjoyed myself in waiting time. It took only one hour to get from Nagoya to Niigata. The next flight was an NJA, or New Japan Aviation. It is not too much to say that I decided to go to Sado because of the flight. In fact, that was the smallest and most exciting flgiht I had ever taken which was 10 seaters! The fare was only JPY 6,500 (USD 81) per person. There are a few different options to get to Sado, but I highly recommend NJA.

Sado Airport is the smallest airport I have ever visited. Fortunately, because we booked a cheap airport taxi at Niigata Airport, in ten minutes we were at Ryotsu, the port village where ferry boats from Niigata arrive. Unfortunately, because the airport is located in the rural area of the island, if you take a usual taxi from Ryotsu, it costs JPY 2,000 (USD 25). We were scheduled to take a flight back to Niigata from the airport, but eventually we took a jetfoil from Ryotsu for that reason. Anyway, right after we arrived at Ryotsu, we rented a car and headed for Futatsugame.

Futatsugame literally means two turtles and it is a two-tirtle-shaped island, which is connected to the Sado main island. It is said that the beach is popular during summer, but when we visited, there was no one, maybe because it was a bit too early. I felt like going up to the island, but it looked too hard for my mam to get there, so I gave it up. The second destination Onogame was seen from there. We took a short drive to Onogame, a giant rock. When I saw it just in front of my eyes, I couldn't resist climbing it. So I asked my mam to wait for me in the car and strated climbing. Because it was almost 5 p.m., I was a bit worried whether I was able to reach the top safely, but agaist my prediction, it was an easy walk, taking only half an hour. A view from the top was excellent and I took many pictures there. That was all for the first day in Sado. We arrived at our inn at around half past six. As soon as we checked in, I looked out through the window of our room, because some people admired a sunset view from the inn online. However, a view from the room was disappointing, because of a telephone pole and many electric wires. So I gave up a view from there and walked down to the coast. Then I got a great view there. (Incidentally, if you want to enjoy a sunset view from the inn, it is better to go to the smaller dining room. I saw a beautiful sunset from there on the next day.)

On the second day of our trip to Sado, we traveled around western part of O-Sado and Ko-Sado. The first tourist attraction we tried was Nishimikawa Gold Park. At first, it seemed to me that the park was not a major tourist attraction of the island, but now I believe it is the most crowded place in Sado. Especially, it seemed very popular as a school trip destination. The facility was composed of a small museum and panning experience site. Because the museum was full of students, we were told to try panning first. We got half an hour, but my mam was tired of looking for alluvial gold in a large bowl before the time was up. I kept looking for gold till the end of the time and got three dusts of gold. I still keep them in a bottle as a souvenir.

The next destination was scheduled to be Ogi, where we wanted to try a tub boat ride. Actually, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the island. I heard that Yajima and Keijima were a beautiful scenic resort, so we tried a boat ride there. When we arrived, there were many students on a school trip who tried rowing boats and drying squids on the coast. At the reception of the boat ride, we were told to wait for half an hour, but we didn't care. While my mam waited in the reception building, I enjoyed exploring around the scenic area with crystal clear seawater, taking many pictures. Our boat ride was short, but enjoyable. Our boatwoman explained history and geography of the area and I had a chance to row the tub boat myself. After the ride, the boatwoman kindly offered a photo-taking. It was a good experience to us, but there were no other guests riding a boat after us.

To tell the truth, we had not a plan after that, but Shukunegi was close and we decided to go there. Shukunegi is designated as an important traditional building area. Honestly speaking, we had not been so interested before we went and, in fact, we felt it was not so interesting when we were there. We spent 20 minutes or so there and headed west. Then we happened to see a beautiful coast! It was the Ogi Coast. There were no tourists around there, but it seemed possible to attract more tourists and the coast is well-worth visiting. Unfortunately, my mom didn't get out of the car, because she was tired, so I had mixed feelings.

After that, we drove back to O-Sado. We were looking for a restaurant on the way, but it was really hard to find. We barely found a sushi restaurant, but we didn't feel like eating sushi. Just after that, however, we luckily found an eatery. That was enough for us at the time. In the eatery, I got a good free map and made up a plan for the afternoon. Because there was nothing left that we should never miss on the day, I was reluctant to choose the O-Sado Skyline Driveway. I thought it was good for my mam, because she didn't need to walk except at the observatories. Because our car navigator system was not much reliable, we lost our way in looking for the starting point of the driveway. After we found it, however, we just drove on the single road to the top of the mountain. A view from there was just OK, but my mam got out of the car and that made me happy. Then, we headed down to Sado Gold Mine. 

Probably, Sado is mostly associated with gold mines and Sohdayu mine is one of the main tourist attractions of the island. Still we were not so interested in it, because my mam has a bad eyesight and can't see anything in the darkness like a cave. Nevertheless, she told me to try the mine. The ticket cost JPY800. There was another mine nearby and I could get in it for another JPY400, but one mine was more than enough for me. The attraction was informative, using a lot of robots of miners, which may have been scary to children. I didn't see any other visitors in the mine. Near the exit of the mine, there was a small museum with dioramas. It might have been interesting, but I didn't want to stay there long, because my mam was waiting for me in the car.

(to be continued)
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