Our Trip in Sado Island, Niigata Japan (Day 1)


It was 9 am when we drove off the Sado Kisen Car Ferry. The full story of our Car Ferry Experience coming into Sado Island is in this link if you haven’t read it yet. Everyone is so excited to start our trip to this Island as this is our first family getaways for the year 2020 due to COVID 19 Pandemic. This trip is marking the 7th Birthday celebration of our firstborn. What we did before we head on our first destination is to find a convenience store to buy foods for our quick breakfast and snacks that will make our kids behave inside the car during our long drive.

Getting off from car ferry.
Looking away from the car ferry after we got off.
Foods we bought for Sado trip.
These are what we bought at the store.

After buying some foods we headed to our first Destination, the Skyline.

The Sado Skyline

The skyline has a very curvy road. Sado skyline is a viewing deck where one could see the view of the island from the top. If you love the forest you would definitely appreciate the different shapes and kinds of the trees surrounding the road.

Trees we pass going to Skyline.
The tall trees we passed by the road going to Skyline.

After around 30 minutes of driving up the skyline, we saw the rest house or viewing deck but unfortunately, it was so cloudy during our visits so we could not see anything. Thanks to a lot of dragonflies flying around the viewing deck that caught the attention of our children, at least it makes our visit at the skyline a little bit memorable. We arrived at the viewing deck past 10 in the morning and there are other tourists who came in hopes to see the beautiful skyline view of Sado island. We intend to return here in the near future but we hope clouds will not block the view.

The viewing deck at Skyline.
The viewing deck of Sado Skyline.
The clouds Covering the view.
Thick clouds covering the view.
Skyline Route.
Our navigation monitor showing the zigzag route of Skyline.

Upon going down we noticed some spots with a good view so we decided to get off to take some pictures.

Skyline view.
Stop at the side of the road to see some skyline view.

After some picture taking at the skyline, we head on to our next destination, the Sado Gold mine.

The Sado Gold Mine

Sado gold mine is on the way to the Aikawa area on the Sado Skyline. There are two types of Gold mine tour available: “Sohdayuko” (mine site in the Edo period) and the other one is the “Dohyuko” (mine site in the Meiji period.

Sado Gold Mine
Entrance fee of Sado GOld Mine
This is the entrance fee for every course.

The entrance fee is pretty expensive but we decided to chose both the A and B courses.

Bus tour is available too.
We noticed a tourist bus parked in front of the Gold mine.
The gold mine Ticket.
The Gold mine tickets in Gold color.

We bought two tickets for adults and one for our 7-year-old son. Our kindergarten daughter who is 4 years old is still free to enter without paying the fee.

Feeling relieved when a tourist destination has an English explanation like this. This one explained well the start of the Gold mine in Sado Island.
The start of the Sodayu Tunnel
We first toured the Sodayu Tunnel.

Inside the tunnels are dolls or statues depicting the work and life of a miner way back when the tunnel is still operational.

Doll presentation of Miners
A statue model showing the work of the miner.
Statue in Gold mine
Mining through their bare hands only.
The sado Gold MIne, Niigata Japan

When you exit the mine site you will see the gold museum.

The gold museum.
The entrance of the Gold Museum.

The Gold Mine Museum

The visitors are properly lined up and waiting for their turn to see the golds. There are many other golds display everywhere but the biggest gold weighing 12 kilograms is the most sought gold in the museum. I myself lined up to see, touch, feel, and try to lift the gold bar.

The golds inside the museum Sado island.
Small golds in the museum.

One person is allowed to touch the gold bar in 1 minute. There is a timer on the top of the glass and alcohol to disinfect hands before and after touching the gold. As far as I saw nobody lifted the gold, everyone tried but just failed, including me.:) I realized, One bar of gold is too hard to lift by just one hand.

The gold bar of sado island.
The 12 kilograms gold bar in the museum.

After the museum, we headed to the second course which is the Doyu Tunnel. Like the first tunnel, the temperature is low so we wore our thin jackets before entering. Unlike the first tunnel, Doyu is flat as this was the modern way of mining.

Doyu tunnel sado island.
Flat style of mining at Sado Mine.
Tunnel where they hide the aging sake.
The tunnel is used as the place for aging the Sake in which they sell it from their shop just outside the tunnel.
The Chimney tunnel.
The dohyu tunnel

Outside the mining tunnel is a mountain-like separating from each other as a result of digging too much. This is one of the famous historic sites in Japan.

The Dohyu-no-ware to.

Preferably watching it from a far distance gives a better view.

The Dohyu-no-wareto national historic site.
The Dohyu-No-Wareto huge mining pit of the Sado
The Dohyu-No-Wareto from a distant, huge mining pit of the Sado became the symbol mining site of the Island.

A factory and storage facility of heavy machinery and some mining types of equipment are displayed near the Dohyu-No-Wareto. The railways’ tracks lead from here into the tunnel for transportation of people and or materials.

mining machinery at sado island

The Modern mining machines from the Meiji era are on display as well.
The railway machine of sado.
The railway machine.
SADo gold mine
SADo mining pit

Sado Kinzan

This is a facility just near the town of Aikawa. According to the SADOKisen`s website, this is a gold sorting facility established early in the Showa era.

It was around 3 o’clock in the afternoon when we decided to head to our hotel. It was raining by that time so some of the beautiful views are hidden by the clouds and drops of rain from our windshield. The road is a bit slippery too and went to the northernmost part of the island. Just be very careful as there is a narrow tunnel we experience going to our hotel where the size of two-way cars is impossible to fit in. Just before we reach the end of the tunnel a bus approached us while inside the tunnel, since we could not drive together because of a narrow tunnel we asked the driver of the bus on what to do. Then he said we need to drive backward for the bus to pass first. We are wondering why we need to return back the tunnel in reverse when in fact we almost reach the tail end of the tunnel. We thought the bus could just go reverse instead of us. But of course, since we are just a tourist there we decided to just follow the driver of the bus. We drive back until the two cars finally fit in the tunnel. We just hope that there is a stoplight installed to that tunnel so that situations like this could be avoided.

The moments when it’s raining.

The Sado Futatsugame View Hotel

We chose to stay for one night at one of the recommended hotels at Sado Island. Its an expensive hotel but the view is so worth it. Overviewing the turtle-like shaped island from our balcony is so breathtaking.

The view from the hotel reception.
The reception.
Our family room is composed of 3 single beds.
With a sofa and television set, refrigerator inside the room.

Right after we drop our belongings at the hotel we urgently went to the beach. By that time it is still raining so there are no visitors by the beach.

The view from our balcony.
The hotel has a place for those who prefer camping, tents can stand in this part of the hotel.
Here you can see the campsite.
The closer look of the beach.
Noticed debris all over the coast.
Went back to the hotel due to rain is still pouring, this is around 5 PM.

After the shower, we ate our dinner. The dinner was a feast. The taste of Sado is all in the picture serve for one person. This is my first time eating such a meal with so many varieties in one sitting, our seven-year-old son has the same set of dinner as ours.

The best dinner at Sado hotel.
This is the meal for our 4-year-old daughter. She has shrimp tempura as well but not included in the photo.

We do our very best to eat all the foods served during our dinner. 🙂

The turtle shape island of Futatsugame beach.

This is where and how our first day in Sado island ended up. Enjoyed the scenery as much as we can when went back to our room, relaxed while watching the ocean with the stomach so full, feasted on the delicious food of Sado. Anticipating for a new adventure on our second day here in Sadi island. Here is the separate blog post for our Day 2 Tour in Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture.