Joanne Coughlan

02 July 2018

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Sado Island – Japan’s most precious gem

Sado Island, one of Japan’s smaller islands, is rarely visited by the European Tourist. In fact, it’s very difficult to find anyone – even in the hotels – who speak anything other than Japanese. And this is one of the island’s charms – it’s unspoilt.  Japan tourism is booming and this is one of the unique destinations Blue Dot Travel take you to.

After travelling by shinkansen (fast train) from our previous destination, we arrived by a one hour Jetfoil boat ride to cover the 70kms from the mainland to the port of Ryotsu on Sado Island. Our traditional Azuma Ryokan hotel was an hour by bus from the port.

The island is famous for its traditional taiko drums. They come in a great variety of sizes, and the Kodo taiko group has achieved international acclaim. Two of the drums are hollowed out sections of an enormous 600 year old tree. You’d need to be fit and energetic to do justice to these drum specimens.

The island’s coastline is very rugged, showing evidence of its volcanic nature. The tiny port of Shukunegi is a case in point. Once an important trading and ship building centre, an up-thrust of jagged rocks during an earthquake rendered it useless as a port. Now it is best known as an historic village with quaint wooden buildings.

A half day trip to the gold and silver mine was definitely worth the visit. It is no longer operating, ceasing all works in the 1980’s but the display of the Edo era tunnels and workings is very well exhibited. It’s hard to imagine what the workers endured but the museum gives you an insight!

Back to Tokyo – where we started – was the final destination. Our finale included dinner with three Geishas in attendance. It was a rather surreal experience. Their English was almost non-existent, as was our Japanese. But communication did take place, and we were introduced to a couple of traditional Geisha-style games which further broke the ice.

Travel Japan and you will be rewarded.

Book your trip to Japan, including a visit to Sado Island with Blue Dot!  Contact us to register your interest for future tours. 

By Margaret Farrell – A Blue Dot regular

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