Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
- What is the temperature on Sado?
- When is the best season for trekking in the Osado mountain ridge and when do the flowers there bloom?
- When does Tobishima kanzo (hemerocallis middendorffii, var. exaltata) bloom?
- How do I get to Sado?
- What about transport on Sado Island itself?
- What about Sado's Noh performances?
- How many toki (Japanese crested ibis) are there at present?
- When is the best time for viewing maple leaves on Sado?
- What about Sado's world-famous music festival, Earth Celebration?
- What is the topography of Sado like?
Sado's average temperature all year round is 13. 6 C, with an average maximum temperature of 16.8 C and an average minimum temperature of 10.3 C (Niigata Regional Meteorological Observatory 1971-2000) . Sado's weather is influenced by the Tsushima warm current in the waters off its coast line. Winter temperature is one or two degrees higher than the temperature on the mainland (Echigo) and there is very little accumulation of snow. On the contrary, in summer the temperature is one or two degrees lower than the temperature on the mainland. Sado can therefore be said to be warm in winter and cool in summer. It's a sweet climate.
When is the best season for trekking in the Osado mountain ridge and when do the flowers there bloom?
The North latitude 38 line, which marks the boundary between cold and warm plant systems, runs through the center of Sado. The trekking course through the Osado mountains delights trekkers with a wealth of mountain grasses and flowers such as katakuri (Japanese dogtooth violets) and shiraneaoi (glaucidium) .
The main trekking courses are :
- Donden to Mount Kinpoku (from the end of April)
- Aoneba to Donden (from the end of April)
- Shirase to Mount Kongo (from the end of April)
- Donden to Mount Kinpoku (from about the end of the Golden Week holiday in early May)
Blossoming flowers include yukiwariso (hepatica) , (March-May) , shiraneaoi (glaucidium) (May-June) , hitorishizuka (chloranthus Japonicus) (April ? May) , oiwakagami (shizocodon soldanelloides) (May-June) , kikuzakiichigo (Anemone pseudoaltaica) (March-May) and katakuri (Japanese dogtooth violets) (April-May) . Contact the Sado Tourism Association about guides to take you trekking on the Donden Heights and the Osado mountain ridge.
Tobishima kanzo which has been chosen as the flower of Sado City, is similar to Nikko ukisuge (hemerocallis middendorffii, var. esculenta) , but the stem is taller and it blooms earlier. As many as ten blossoms may appear on one stem and the flowers are characteristically short. The most famous place for seeing masses of kanzo flowers in bloom is Onogame at the northern tip of the island. Here the ground is covered in a yellow carpet of 350,000 plants. The flowers are at their best from the end of May to early June. The Kanzo Festival is held on the second Sunday in June.
You can get here by sea or by air.
There is a car ferry and a jet foil service between Niigata and Ryotsu, a car ferry between Naoetsu and Ogi and a high-speed boat between Teradomari and Akadomari. The times are as follows :
- Ryotsu line : car ferry - 2 hours, 30 minutes Jet foil - 1 hour
- Ogi line : car ferry - 2 hours 40 minutes
- Akadomari line : high speed boat - 1 hour, 5 minutes
You can also get here by air from Niigata Airport on a 9-seater Cessna airplane. The flight takes 25 minutes.
There are regular sightseeing buses, service buses, taxis and rent-a-car.
Regular sightseeing buses :
They provide full-day and half day tours with local guides from Ryotsu and Ogi harbors and include Sado's best-known attractions. Both drivers and guides will introduce you to traditional songs (Sado okesa) . Seats on these buses should be reserved in advance, but if there happens to be room on the day it is possible to join the tour without a reservation.
Service buses :
There are 16 routes covering every corner of the island. With the service bus you can visit more secluded parts of the island which the sightseeing bus does not include.
These are useful for small parties. There are small, medium and jumbo taxis for four, five and nine passengers respectively. Drivers with special sightseeing licences will guide you courteously and conscientiously around the island.
Cars can be rented from Ryotsu and Ogi harbors. Light motor vehicles, ordinary family cars and wagons are available. In this way, you have the liberty to travel at your own pace.
At one time Noh was so popular in Sado that farmers used to hum Noh songs as they worked in their fields. There are very few places in Japan where Noh has permeated the lives of ordinary people to this extent. This probably has something to do with the fact that the great Noh playwright Zeami was exiled to Sado. The first Shogunate administrator of Sado, Nagayasu Okubo, Iwamino Kami (administrator) , also came from a family of Noh teachers so the influence of Noh on Sado no doubt increased when it came under Shogunate control.
There are still 32 Noh stages remaining on Sado and Noh plays are still performed on many of these. More than twenty plays are performed every year. Takigi Noh, performed at night by firelight, in particular, invites spectators into a world of beauty and phantoms.
A total of 108 birds has been bred (85 at the toki conservation center and 23 at the station for returning the birds to the wild) . If we include the four birds at the Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Zoological Park and released 10 birds there are 122 birds in Japan altogether.
The sightseeing course through the mountains from Kanai district to Aikawa district, focusing on Sado's highest peak, Mount Kinpoku and Mount Myoken in front (the famous Osado skyline) is spectacular with its maple leaves around mid-October. The famous maple leaves in Mount Momiji Park, where esplanades and observation points have been provided are usually at their best towards the end of October. On a clear day you can see all the way to Mounts Yahiko and Kakuda.
Based in the Ogi district, this is a music festival sponsored by the world-famous "Kodo" Japanese drummers, held every year in August. The drummers' performances on stage, with top musicians from all over the world, have made the festival an international event. The colorful program also includes free "fringe events", such as lectures, video screenings and exhibitions.
Sado has an area of 855.1 square kilometers, and a coastline 280.6 km in circumference. One and a half times as big as the 23 wards of Tokyo, it is Japan's biggest isolated island. It has two dramatic mountain ranges, with an immense fertile plain in the center, and unusually beautiful coastlines. Visitors to Sado are always astonished by the variety of its topography, and its size.