Sado`s Ancient Cedar Forests
Sado has two cedar forests: the Ishina Cedar Forest and the Niigata University Research Cedar Forest. Both forests can be found in the ridgeline areas of the Osado mountain range at an altitude of around 900m. The cedars have endured severe winter weather conditions with heavy snow falls and strong winds for centuries. The environment has slowed the tree`s growth rates down and forced them to grow into unique shapes – which prompted Niigata University to conduct research on that phenomenon.
Some of the trees are estimated to be over 300 years old. During the Edo Period, when gold mining flourished on Sado, many trees were cut down for fuel. However, since cedar trees are unsuitable for burning, and seen as commercially useless, the trees are lucky to have been left untouched to the present day.
The prefecture created trails so that people could hike to and walk through the forests while still conserving their natural beauty. While the trail to the Ishina Cedar Forest has only mild rises and falls making it suitable for hiking beginners, the hike to the Niigata University Research Cedar Forest is more challenging with many steep slopes.
The trails open in spring, after the snow has melted, and are open until around late November.