Introduction to Sado City
Sado Island, shaped like the letter "S" or "Z," boasts Mt. Kinpoku (1,172m above sea level) in the north, Mt. Oji (645m above sea level) in the south, and the expansive Kuninaka Plain in the center. The island, measuring approximately 855 square kilometers in area and boasting a coastline of roughly 280 kilometers, is the largest island on the Sea of Japan and is approximately 1.5 times the size of Tokyo, Awaji Island, Guam, and Phuket.
Sado has a maritime climate with four distinct seasons, and because of the influence of the Tsushima Warm Current that flows off the coast of Sado, snowfall is less than in the main island of Japan. As of March 31, 2022, the island's population is approximately 51,000.
Sado's rich soil and climate are utilized for agriculture and fishing, with rice farming being the primary agricultural endeavor and fruit cultivation, such as "Okesa Kaki" (Sado specialty persimmon), Le Lectier, and apples, thriving.
The region also engages in livestock farming, including Sado beef, which has long been known as "the cattle of the phantom." In the fishing industry, various types of seafood such as crabs, shrimps, squid, yellowtail, and tuna are landed, as well as oysters grown in Lake Kamo and Mano Bay, abalone, turban shells, and seaweed from the Sea of Japan.
Sado, formed by crustal movements that began around 3 million years ago, has developed in various ways thanks to the bounty of its rich land. Another attraction of the island is the beautiful scenery, represented by Senkaku Bay and the Ogi Peninsula, brought about by tectonic movement, which can be seen all over the island. Additionally, the topography of the island itself is a miniature of Japan, with all of Japan's coastal landforms.
Sado is like a theme park of the earth, where the natural landscape is like an exhibit and is recognized as a Japan Geopark. Sado's distinctive natural features and culture, such as the Sado's gold and silver mine, Japanese Crested ibis, and "Tarai- Bune" (tub boat), are also a result of Sado's unique geography.
Sado was selected for the 2021 edition of "The Green Destinations Top 100 Stories" in recognition of its World Agricultural Heritage initiatives and efforts toward sustainable tourism. Sado will continue actively working toward creating a sustainable tourist destination that can coexist with nature.
Sado Island possesses three distinct cultural characteristics. The first is the aristocratic culture brought by exiled aristocrats and intellectuals, the second is the samurai culture brought by magistrates and officials from Edo (the former center of the samurai government in Japan) due to the development of mining, and the third is the merchant culture brought by merchants and sailors on "Kitamae-Bune" (Japanese merchant shipping routes and the ships that traveled them from the 17th to the 19th century).
The culture of Sado Island is considered a microcosm of Japan, as it is a fusion of these three cultures. Sado Island is one of the few places in Japan where "Noh" (the oldest theatrical art in Japan) has been seamlessly integrated into daily life. At its peak, it is said that there were over 200 Noh stages, and even today, more than 30 Noh stages remain, which is equivalent to one-third of all Noh stages in Japan. Sado Island has long been closely associated with Noh, where Zeami, the great master of Noh, was exiled. However, the widespread prevalence of Noh on the island is mainly due to the arrival of two Noh performers from Nara (the ancient capital of Japan) in the 17th century by Mr. Nagayasu Okubo, the first deputy magistrate of Sado, who was a Noh performer himself.
The most significant characteristic of Noh on Sado Island is that it spread throughout the island as a Shinto ritual and evolved into a form of entertainment in which villagers danced, chanted, and watched Noh plays. As a remnant of this evolution, many of the existing Noh stages are built within the precincts of shrines, which are also the common property of the village. Noh performances on Sado Island, which are still passed down from generation to generation, are concentrated from June to August, especially in June, which is the month of "Takigi Noh," and can be seen somewhere every week. Visitors also have the opportunity to experience Noh and shishimai on the actual Noh stage used for Noh performances.
"Onidaiko" is an indigenous traditional art form unique to Sado Island that is performed at numerous festivals on the island to supplicate for a bountiful harvest, a successful catch, and familial safety in the upcoming year, as well as to dispel malevolent spirits from the dwellings places within the village. It is purported that there are approximately 120 forms of Onidaiko on the island.