Sado is located in the Sea of Japan and is a part of Niigata Prefecture. The island is 855 km2（330 mile2）in area which is bigger than the 23 wards of Tokyo（621 km2 = 240 mile2）and the country of Bahrain（758 km2 = 293 mile2）which is ranked 184th in the world. The tourist season is in summer, but there are also people who make the effort to come in winter to view the rough waves of the Sea of Japan at that time.
Landmarks include Sado Gold Mine whose mountain top has been cleaved in half due to the efforts of gold mining, Toki Forest Park where you can see the Japanese crested ibis which is an endangered species, and the Ogi Diving Center where you can get a unique sea kayaking experience through blue grottoes and the waters of the Sea of Japan. There are also plenty of highlights such as Chokoku-ji Temple where you can have more than 30 Buddhist experiences including one involving entering a coffin. Usually between April and October, you can view traditional nighttime performances of Noh theater which occur outside the temple, and with Sado being the base for the world-famous Kodo wadaiko drumming troupe, you can hear the drumming amid nature as one example of art and nature splendidly co-existing.
The specialty of Sado Island which is completely encircled by the Sea of Japan has got to be seafood. It’s no exaggeration to say that sushi with several times the taste can be savored here at only a fraction of the price charged in Tokyo. The new local dish that has been all the rage is buri-katsudon or deep-fried yellowtail on rice. Natural yellowtail deep-fried as a cutlet covered in a special sauce consisting of ago-dashi soy sauce topped on Sado rice makes for a superb dish. The sake brewed from the nature of the island is also delicious, and the island is also home to the brewery for Manotsuru sake which is the sake served in first class on Air France flights.
It takes the better part of 2 hours from Tokyo to Niigata Station, followed by a 15-minute bus ride to Niigata Port. And then it’s a trip by ferry for 1-2.5 hours from Niigata Port to Ryotsu Port on Sado Island.
Rental cars are handy for getting around the island. There is no train service. Rental electric bicycles are also convenient.
Accommodations around Ryotsu Port are convenient on the first day. Aikawa and Mano which are located in the center of the island are also great as starting points for sightseeing.