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Nature Spots in Sado Area

  • Nanaura Beach
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi
    Nanaura Beach is a rugged rocky coastline stretching for about 10 kilometers from Futami to Kabuse in Sado City, Niigata Prefecture. The contrast between the sunset-lit ocean and the black shadows of the rocks is beautiful and it is no surprise that it has been chosen for the 100 Best Sunsets in Japan. Among these, the scenery of the setting sun at Cape Nagate in Tachibana and that at Kasugazaki are simply sublime. The two large rocks called meoto-iwa (husband-and-wife rocks), which according to the Kojiki (the oldest extant chronicle in Japan) is where the nation came into being, is also a must-see.
  • Ono-kame
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Negai
    This is a megalithic 167 meter high monolith in Negai, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture, which looks like a small mountain protruding into the sea. From the side it looks like the shape of a tortoise, and is a scenic spot which has earned two stars in the “Michelin Green Guide Japon.” Visitors can climb up onto the top of the rock on foot and it has a great viewpoint of the sea and landscape. The surrounding area is the habitat of Tobishima Kanzo Lilies, and from the end of May to early June about 500 thousand flowers bloom. The “Sado Kanzo Lily Festival” is held on the second Sunday in June.
  • Iwaya Cave
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Shukunegi
    Iwaya Cave in Shukunegi, Sado City is a sea cave. Buddha statues called magaibutsu are carved into the rock face in the cave, and some of the works are believed to have been done by Kobo Daishi. 88 Buddha statues imitating the 88 Shikoku holy places and a Kannon temple has also been built. Some worshippers carry out nemari henro (sitting pilgrimage) chanting Buddhist prayers while secluding themselves in the cave, so it is respected as a holy place.
  • Lake Kamo
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Ryotsu area - Shinho area
    Four minutes by car from Ryotsu port, or three minute walk from Ryotsuko-Sadokisen bus stop. At 17km in circumference, this is the largest lake in Niigata Prefecture. It was once a freshwater lake, but after an inlet connecting it to the ocean was created to prevent flooding in 1903, it became brackish. There are well-maintained trails and bike paths along the banks to enjoy scenery that has long been the inspiration for waka poetry. It's a popular oyster farming area, and in spring they hold the Lake Kamo Oyster Festival, where you can enjoy all kinds of oyster cuisine.
  • Yajima and Kyojima
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Ogi
    Two islands floating on the south side of Sadogashima Island. They sit in the bay admits the calm waves and can be reached from the mainland via a bridge. The picturesque view of the classical arched red bridge connecting the two islands makes for a beautiful photo. Here you can see people fishing with boxes with glass bottoms from taraibune (tub shaped boats) and you even have the chance to go out in a tub boat yourself. Yajima is also known to produce fine quality bamboo arrow shafts and The Tale of the Heike claims that when Minamoto Yorimasa vanquished the monstrous nue (chimera type creature) he used Yajima arrows. There is also legend that Nichiro, disciple of the monk Nichiren, was shipwrecked and washed ashore on Kyojima Island where he would then spend the night reciting sutra.
  • Futatsugame
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Washizaki
    This small island looks like two turtles nestled close together and floats just off the northern shore of Sado Island. Also called 'Oki no Shima' and 'Iso no Shima' the island is isolated at high tide but reconnects to Sado Island during low tide. Boasting the clearest seawater in the Sado area, the spacious beach in front of Futatsugame has been selected as one of Japan's top 100 beaches. Along with nearby Onogame, this spot has received two stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. Campsites are also available and the summer opening of beach season always draws large crowds of tourists.
  • Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks)
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Takose
    Sado Island is the source for many legends in the Kojiki (Japan's Records of Ancient Matters). Meoto Iwa Rocks near Nanaura Beach is one such legend. It is said that after the god Izanagi and goddess Izanami created Japan they made rocks in their image to heal their fatigue. Legend states that Meoto Iwa are those rocks created in their image and that the nearby islands came forth from those rocks. Due to this legend the rocks draw those seeking good childbirth and strong marriage as well as plenty of tourists. There are other sources of legend including Nekoiwa and Hokakeiwa as well as plenty of reefs. Making this the perfect place to watch the sunset and beautiful natural formations.
  • Cape Sekizaki
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Seki
    Also known as Kamuro-no-Taka, this is a rocky cliff over 100 meters tall where the massif of the Osado Mountains drops off into the sea. Looking out over the panorama of the Sea of Japan, one can also see Mt. Onokame in the distance. Walking trails centered on Sado Vacation Village Auto Camp have been laid out, and during the day, visitors can enjoy the Sea of Japan glittering in the sunlight, and at night they can enjoy the sunset and the sight of illuminated fishing boats. Since there is a lighthouse at the end of the walking trail, many people go there to marvel at the scenery.
  • Sabutozaki Point
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Seki
    This is a scenic area north of Zendana Rock, associated with the ninth-century monk Kobo Daishi. Legend has it that in the medieval period, a rockslide from Mt. Chigyo, which looms over the area, buried the beach. Japan has many legends about badgers, and the three most famous ones are Danzaburo-Danuki of Sado, Shibaemon-Danuki of Awaji Island, and Hage-Tanuki of Yashima in Kagawa Prefecture. Over 90 shrines are dedicated to them. Traveling along Prefectural Route 45, one finds a small torii gate, and through that gate is Sabuto Jinja Shrine, which figures in a legend about the badger. On Sado, badgers are depicted and honored as kindly and helpful parent-like figures.
  • Sai no Kawara Grotto
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Negai
    A walking path connects Sado’s wondrous Onokame and Futatsukame rocks. This sea cave, situated along the path, was formed via erosion caused by the waves of the Sea of Japan and is filled with countless stone Jizo statues. Visitors to this sacred area can only hear the sound of wind and waves, and some call the seaside path the boundary with the underworld. The cave has been seen as a sacred place since ancient times and is believed to be a gathering place for the spirits of children who passed away at a young age. During the Sai no Kawara Festival, held once a year, Buddhist mantras are intoned and offerings of food are made with the hungry ghosts and spirits of newborns suffering hunger and thirst, with more than 200 faithful and supporters attending.
  • Nagate Cape
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Tachibana
    This point, located in the central part of the Nanaura Coast, is known as an excellent place to view sunsets or illuminated nighttime fishing. The entirety of this flat rocky area that looks like a raised beach has been designated as Sado-Yahiko-Yoneyama Quasi-National Park. The scattered rock formations and the beautiful and variable seascape are the products of ancient volcanic activity. If one walks along the coast, these eye-catching rocks tell of the history of the area. A lighthouse is located at the tip of the point, and visitors can walk quite close to it. This point is also known for its impressive views of the sun setting into the Sea of Japan.
  • Hiranezaki Marine Potholes
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Tochu
    These rocks are found along the Hiranezaki Coast. Around 80 large and small turtle-shaped pot holes can be seen along a slope of about 500 meters, all of them created and polished by waves. These kinds of pot holes are a common sight along Sado’s coast, but the ones at Hiranezaki are the largest. Fourteen of them are two meters or more in diameter, and some are three meters deep. These pot holes, which are valuable examples of the force of the waves in the Sea of Japan, have been designated a National Monument.
  • Otowa Pond
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Yamada
    Visitors touring Sado’s lakes and reservoirs should not miss this pond. Driving along the Osado Skyline Drive and continuing about 600 meters through a wooded stretch near Odaira Highland, one sees a mystical-looking natural pond. More than 200 species of plants flourish around this pond, and in the middle is Japan’s largest multilayer floating marsh island. It is the only natural pond surrounded by natural growth in the prefecture that has such an island. There is a heart-shaped hole in the island, which is said to be a natural birdbath. The name “Maiden Pond,” comes from a legend about a beautiful maiden who was taken into the water after being seen by the giant snake who was master of the pond.
  • Sado Ogi Coast
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi
    A coastal road runs from Shiroyama in the Ogi District, along the southern end of Sado for approximately 16 kilometers to Kamikoiwa in Sawazaki. The scenery, created by numerous outcroppings and depressions, has been designated a National Monument and Scenic Spot. The coast is dotted with dozens of large and small caves eroded by the sea, the waves, or the wind, so this area is also valuable from an academic, geological point of view. In addition, the pillow lava in the Sawazakihana area is remarkable for its extent and high quality, and it has been noted as a piece of world Geological Heritage. The reef area is also famous for Isonegi Fishing Area, with its “taraibune” (“barrel boats”) available for short excursions.
  • Kasugazaki Point
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Aikawa Kabuse
    This point is located about a five-minute drive from the center of Aikawa City, and it affords a view of the sky and the red sun sinking into and briefly coloring the Sea of Japan. The coastal road north of the Nanaura Coast is the finest spot in Niigata Prefecture to view the sunset. Viewing the sunset through the stone lanterns that were supposedly set up during the Edo Period (1615-1867) is an even more splendid experience. Seeing that indescribable sight, visitors can recall the era when Sado Island’s gold mines flourished. Since the point is close to a bus stop and a public toilet, it is a finish to a tour of Sado.
  • Mt. Donden
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Nyugawa
    Although its formal name is Tadara Peak, people call the round mountain at the highest point of the highland that consists of the three mountains of the Osado Range “Mt. Donden” (“Blunt Ridge”). As its name suggests, it is the only mountainous area with a gentle, rounded shape in the otherwise steep Osado Mountain Range. The highland, where free-range cattle sometimes can be seen on the parking lot, is abundant high-altitude plants and grasses. It is numbered among the New 100 Most Famous Mountains in Japan and the 100 Best Flower Mountains in Japan. The most popular season for visitors is spring to early summer, when trekkers flock here to see unusual varieties of rhododendron brachycarpum, Japanese azaleas, and Menziesia multiflora.
  • Senkaku Bay
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata Sado-shi Kitaebisu
  • Mt.Oji
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata
  • Mt.Kinpoku
    Travel / Tourism
    Niigata
  • Cult Pier Beach
    Travel / Tourism
    Nigata Pref. Sadoshi Hamochikamewaki

Niigata Main Areas

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Found along the northwestern coast of Japan, Niigata prefecture is celebrated for its high-quality rice and breathtaking nature, most notably its spectacular mountains, whose white peaks draw in snow sports lovers from far and wide over the winter months. Hit the slopes at Yuzawa, pick out your favourite modern artist at Echigo Tsumari, or take a ferry over to Sado Island for an extra adventure.

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