Traditional Culture on Sado Island

  1. How to Enjoy Sado Island
  2. Traditional Culture on Sado Island

Sado is an "island of history and culture" with more than 400 cultural properties (designated by the national, prefectural, and municipal governments, and registered as tangible cultural properties). Many of Sado's unique cultures have been formed by the fusion of cultures brought in from outside and those of long ago. Some of Sado's cultural assets, known as "cultural pools," are introduced below.


Sado is a cultural fountainhead

An island where people, goods, and culture come and go from all over the world

Sado Island is the second largest island in the Japanese Sea after Okinawa Island. It has an area of about 855 km2 and a coastline of about 280 km, and is located about 32 km across the Sado Strait from Cape Kakuda (Niigata City) on the opposite shore of the mainland, the closest point to Sado. Sado is bordered by the Osado Mountains in the north and the Kosado production area in the south, and the Kuninaka Plain in the center is a granary. The island is a microcosm of Japan in terms of topography, with sea, mountains, plains, rivers, and lakes. Blessed with such geographical conditions, Sado has a long history. The Iwayayama Grotto (designated as a prefectural historic site) is a Jomon-era cave site located on a 90-meter-high terrace at the tip of the Ogi Peninsula in the south of Sado Island. Artifacts excavated from this site indicate that people already lived here about 8,000 years ago.

Sado has been an island where various people have come and gone by boat since ancient times; Sado Kokubunji Temple was built in the latter half of the 8th century, and a tile excavated from the temple shows evidence of human traffic from objects, such as a tile with a picture of a person who may have been Noto no Mamoru Mikuni Makoto Hiromi. In addition, since the Nara period (710-794), Hozumi Asaomi Roshi, Emperor Juntoku, Nichiren Shonin, Hino Shicho, Zeami, and others have come to the island as exiles. During the Edo period (1603-1867), the gold and silver mines in Aikawa were developed, and officials, craftsmen, and merchants came from all over Japan to form a town. In addition, ports such as Ogi, a port of call for Kitamae-bune, brought in various cultures from all over Japan.

Sado is said to be a "fukidama of culture," and many cultures unique to Sado were formed through the fusion of cultures brought in from outside and Sado's long-established culture. This is only a small part of what we can introduce here, but we hope that you will use this as a guide as you walk around Sado, a treasure house of history and culture. The island will reveal its many faces to you as you walk around.