Our Experience in Riding Car Ferry to and from Sado Island, Niigata Japan


It was more than 6 months since our last travel because of the pandemic COVID 19. Not until the seven birth date of our first son came, we decided to give him a birthday trip to Sado Island. There are still lots of COVID 19 patients at the center of Japan, Tokyo but less here in our province. We love the beach especially our children so we thought that Sado Island just near our town is perfect for our short vacation. Sado Island is famous also as this is the second-largest island of Japan. We stayed there for two days and one night during weekends. We left our house by 5:30 in the morning and arrived at the Sado port before 6 AM. Upon entering the port it is required to wear the masks right from the entrance. The ferry staff check also our body temperature in compliance with Coronavirus travel safety. One with a fever is not allowed to enter or ride into the ship going to Sado Island. The lines when we arrived at the port are almost crowded. Before the date of our trip, my husband did an online reservation and presented all the documentation needed for our cars, such as insurance and registration. We will be using the car at Sado Island during our tour there so we will bring it into the car ferry together with us.

I’m going to explain our experience first from the time we go to Sado Island from Niigata City. This is the start of our trip.

To book your Sado Car ferry click on this Sado Kisen website accepting regular passenger service between the Niigata Prefecture on mainland Japan to Sado Island off the west coast of the country. There are currently two return routes in operation, these link Niigata with Ryotsu and also Ogi with Naoetsu. All the requirements are indicated when you booked. When it comes to the budget we spent roughly around 70,000Yen during our Sado Island bookings, inclusive of hotels, gasoline, etc.

Going to Sado port Niigata.
The moment we left our house.
Cars line up for Sado trip.
These are the cars lined up in front of us during our arrival at the Sado Port.
The Sado Ferry at Niigata.
Our Car Ferry going to Sado Island.
The Ticketing Office at Sado Port Niigata.
The ticketing office. The white lines are from where the cars needed to line up.
Vending machines at Sado port Niigata.
Inside the ticketing
the office is a mini space for a quick breakfast surrounded by different kinds of vending machines.
Sado port Niigata Ticketing office.
The nearest shot of the ticketing office.

My family has brought a few foods for our breakfast and just ate it inside our car.

Breakfast in the car.
Our kids ate onigiris, adults ate natomaki and chicken for everyone.
Sado Ticket.
These are the tickets for all of us. Our 7 years old son’s ticket is priced the same as the adult tickets. So three adult tickets and our 4-year-old child is still free.

To be honest this is my first time that I experienced this kind of Car Ferry and it was so cool and so amazing for me. I never see a car Ferry in the Phillippines like this. It’s so funny but I find it so awesome like what I used to watch from a movie. 🙂 Staff maintains the proper arrangement of the cars and the drivers too are very disciplined in following the instructions of the car ferry staff.

Trip to Sado Japan
Cars gracefully getting in the car Ferry. Passengers are inside their respective cars.
Sado Car Ferry
Other cars and us inside the car ferry. The space of the cars while parked inside the car ferry is so small enough not to hit the bumper.

After we park our cars we pick out luggage we planned to use for 3 hours of sailing in the ocean. We went up slowly in line with the other passengers.

Sado Car Ferry Resting hall.
This is the first-class sharing balcony style room. A wide public room with red carpet and passengers are free to lay down anywhere. The design of the room is so simple and clean. Very Japanese style room.
In the room is a television showing up the news in Japan.
Time to sleep at Sado Car Ferry.
These are our children right before they sleep. We put a matt on the floor, brought two pillows and blankets. We chose to stay right beside the corner of the wall.
The view from Car ferry.
The view right after we left the port in Niigata City.
Flying birds together with the car ferry sailing on the ocean.
There are a lot of birds flying while sailing with the car ferry.
Restaurants inside the Car ferry.
The car ferry has a restaurant inside.
Menu at the car ferry.
Foods are of coarse in Japanese authentic dishes.
Sado Car Ferry.
Location Information of Sado Car Ferry.
These are floors or places all over the car ferry.

If in case you are hungry there are a lot of stores inside the ferry too in addition to vending machines.

Store at Sado Car ferry.
The convenience store-style at the ferry.
Game station at car ferry.
If you feel bored then a game station is present as well.

After three hours of sailing, we arrived smoothly at the port os Sado Island. All the passengers head back to their cars and waited for the signal of the staff to get off the ferry. Just like going in, going out is just so breezy and hassle-free.

The Sado Car ferry.
This is when we drove off the coast of Sado Port ready to tour the Sado Island and us saying goodbye by a simple glimpse to this car ferry.

Our Return to Niigata City from Sado Port. This is the end of our trip.

Before the second day ends, we need to go back to our house. The departure of our ferry is scheduled at 7 PM. After touring the Sado Island and nowhere to go by 3 PM we decided to go to Sado Port to wait for our departure. Just beside the port is a shopping mall where passengers can buy omiyage or something authentic things or snacks from Sado Island and restaurants to have a meal just before the departure. We made sure to comply with the safety protocols when we go back to Niigata with regards to COVID-19 pandemic.

The sado car ferry that will take us back to Niigata.
This is the ferry that will take us back to Niigata City.
Lines at Sado port.
Lines, when we arrived, is still empty
Cars waiting inline to ride the Car ferry.
When the departure time is near it became like this.
Shopping mall beside the sado port car ferry.
The Shopping mall near the Sado Port.
Shopping mall at Sado port.
The shopping mall looks like that inside, mainly different kinds of foods, and things in different useful forms.
REstaurant at Sado port.
The restaurant we chose to have our dinner.

The following are the foods we ate at Sado port restaurant;

Japanese Ramen
Hot soy ramen.
Fresh Sushi
Sushi as the main dish and a tonkatsu sidings.
Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken.

After we had our dinner we saw the Tourist Information which is just inside the Sado terminal.

Sado Information Office
Sado port ticketing office.
Ticketing Office.

The time comes that we need to leave the Sado Island, the process was just the same when we went to the island. It was so fast and easy riding the car ferry. The entrance is from the front side of the ferry and will get off at the back part of the ship.

Car ferry waiting for the cars to get in.
Time to get in the car ferry.

Going back to Niigata is a little bit different as we booked the suite room for the family to get a better rest. The price of the suite room for 3 hours of stay while sailing in the ocean is 10,000 Yen.

The suite inside the car ferry.
There is two single bed which looks like the same in a hotel.
The room inside the car ferry.
A table for tea and television sets. I noticed a refrigerator as well. The comfort room is for sharing outside the suites room.
The car ferry lay out.
The layout of the ferry that will take us to Niigata.
Tea at car ferry.
Enjoyed the tea with complimentary snacks.
The car ferry suite room.
The stairs going up to our room has a label like this.
The car ferry from Sado port going to Niigata CIty port.
The main view of the ferry when using the stairs.
Cool vending machine.
A unique vending machine with fried food is also inside the ferry.
Convenience style store at car ferry.
The convenience store of the car ferry.

We arrived at Niigata port around 9:30 PM, and 10:30 PM in our house. The whole experience in Sado Island is new to all of us as this is the first time we travel after the pandemic hit worldwide. We followed Safety precautions and our first travel of the year was a success. We enjoyed a lot the places that we visit on Sado Island and we hope to return to the Island in the future.

Our complete tour at Sado Island and what happened will be discussed in a separate blog post. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

Click here to read our Sado Island Tour Experience on Day 1.

And here to continue reading our Sado Island tour for Day 2.