Home to Earth Celebration, Sado Island has a circumference of 260 kilometers and an area of 854.6 square kilometers. Most people think Sado is a tiny island floating in the Sea of Japan, so many first-time visitors are surprised by the island’s considerable size. With a distinct four-seasonal climate and rich culture stemming from a colorful past, Sado Island is practically a miniature version of Japan itself, both culturally and climatically. Indeed, a trip to the island is like visiting a living museum.
One of Sado’s claims to fame throughout the country is that it is the home to the Japanese Crested Ibis, or toki in Japanese. Now a protected species, the toki once roamed free in Sado’s rich, natural paradise, right up until the bird faced imminent extinction in the early 1980s. Formerly, toki could be found living throughout Japan. But due to excessive hunting and destruction of their natural environment, numbers decreased dramatically, until 1981, when the last five birds remained on Sado Island. Afterwards, in an effort to recreate an environment in which the Crested Ibis could live safely, many initiatives were put in place throughout Sado to create a feeding ground for the birds, eliminate agricultural chemicals in farming practices, and study forest preservation among other activities. In 2008, Sado began releasing birds in order to restore wildlife, and this year, a pair of birds that were born and raised in the wild in Sado has welcomed chicks.
The island of Sado also has a rich history of widely varied cultural traditions. Through sea-trade and travel, visitors from all over the mainland brought a diverse mix of aristocratic, samurai, and merchant cultures to the island. The immortal Noh master Zeami was banished to the island, and as a result, Sado has the highest density of Noh stages of any location in Japan. A tour of the island’s many temples reveals traces of the famed Buddhist priest, Nichiren. You could plan a trip around Sado based solely on historical landmarks.
However you cannot mention Sado without speaking of the island’s natural splendor. The rich and varied coastline. Lush greenery and azure skies. There’s simply nothing like it in Japan’s urban landscape, and summer brings many visitors to Sado to camp, hike, and hang out on the beach. Nature, history, culture, and resorts; there is so much on Sado, we look forward to welcoming you to this magical place.