Sado has many attractions unique to the island, such as nature, history, culture, and traditions.
Miki Travel would like to share with you some experiences to immerse yourself in the local culture and nature.
The local agricultural history and techniques and the performing arts culture in Sado are two of the most interesting aspects of this island and allow a deeper insight into the reality of this destination.
The following two packaged tours are the perfect way to experience first-hand the uniqueness of Sado Island:
Package no.1: Iwakubi Rice Terrace Agricultural Experience
As previously explained, the increase in population brought by mining activities increased the demand for food supplies giving impulse to the development of agriculture on Sado Island.
Nowadays, even though the conditions on the flatlands are more favourable, traditional farming methods are still being carried on in the hilly areas, while preserving the beautiful scenery.
Sado’s agriculture has been recognized as a World Agricultural Heritage Site (GHIAS).
Here, agriculture preserves the beauty of the countryside landscapes and protects the ecosystem of rice paddies by reducing the use of agricultural chemicals. As a result, the Japanese crested ibis could return to live in their original ecosystem.
The farming experience at Iwakubi Rice Terraces allows visitors to experience the rural culture and lifestyle that has been passed on for centuries. You will walk with a local guide, learn about rice cultivation on Sado, and experience agricultural practices first-hand!
The experience starts at 9 AM with an orientation session and lasts 5 hours.
After a demonstration of the traditional way to cook rice, you will visit the terraced paddy fields, enjoy the scenery, and partake in some agricultural activities (depending on the season).
At the end of the tour, enjoy lunch with your guide and taste the delicious and pure Iwakubi rice steaming hot from the pot – along with a selection of locally-sourced side dishes.
This experience is available in Japanese for a minimum of 2 pax for a starting price of JPY 12,000 per person.
You will need your vehicle to reach the starting point and move during the tour. Upon request, a supplement for transfers and for an English interpreter can be added to the package.
Package no.2: Kasuga Matsuri Experience – Onidaiko drumming, dance, and food culture
The development of the Sado gold mines was the Japanese equivalent of the gold rush in the West of the U.S.A: people from all over Japan gathered on Sado Island looking for fortune and a better life. The immigrants settled in various parts of the island; in each village, people with different roots created their unique culture. The Onidaiko, performed on festival days to wish for a good harvest and family safety, is another example of the diversity of Sado’s distinctive identity. The 120 or so Onidaiko teams on Sado Island are all unique, each with its own peculiar rites and style. They have preserved the ancient performing style passed down from their predecessors, and are still contributing to handing down this priceless tradition to the next generation.
On this tour, you will experience the local festival culture of Sado. You can enjoy cooking and eating dishes served on festive occasions. And you will also experience the fun of this festival through a demonstration of Onidaiko.
The experience starts at 5 PM. You will spend an hour at a local restaurant where you will learn how to prepare some of the typical celebratory dishes of the Kasuga festival, such as rolled sushi and salt-broiled seabream.
Then, you will proceed to the performance venue (location depends on the chosen programme) where you will be introduced to Onidaiko culture with some historical notes, followed by a real performance of the Kasuga Onigumi folk group.
Upon request, the experience can also include a practice session of onidaiko, where participants can try to replicate the movements and drumming of the professional dancers.
After the performance (or after the practice session) there will be a Q&A session, followed by dinner with the delicacies prepared beforehand.
The experience lasts 3 to 3.5 hours (if the participants choose to practice).
This package is available in Japanese for a minimum of 4 pax for a starting price of JPY 30,000 per person.
Private transportation is needed to reach the location. Upon request, we will provide supplements for transfers, for the hands-on practice session, or for an English interpreter.
This experience can be chartered and is excellent for team-building events or incentive tours.
Both the Iwakubi Rice Terrace Agricultural Experience and Kasuga Matsuri Experience can be booked through the Miki Travel sales offices in Europe.
Other interesting experiences in Sado Island.
Sado Kinzan gold and silver mines.
There are 55 mines on Sado producing gold, silver and other metals. Some of these, like the Aikawa mines, can be visited and you can walk deep underground through the reconstruction of what a miner’s life was like during the Edo period.
Wooden tub boat ride.
The taraibune (tub boats) were traditionally used to collect abalone, turban shells and wakame seaweed. Their shape developed originally from washing buckets and you may wonder how the local people could master keeping their route straight with a perfectly round vessel! This is no doubt a fun experience for everyone but especially for families with young children.
Sado Island Taiko Centre is run by the Kodo Cultural foundation in the village of Kodo. In the spacious local city hall, you can join one of the drumming sessions of the local drumming group and also admire the 2 giant taiko drums carved out of a 600-year-old tree trunk. You can also try your hand at drumming under the guidance of the instructors.
Noh Shimai theatre experience.
Sado is the island where Zeami, the playwright who elevated Noh theatre to perfection, was exiled during the Edo period, In Sado, Zeami continued perfecting this art form, and nowadays a third of all of Japan’s Noh stages are located on Sado. Noh Shimai is a simplified version of Noh, and therefore more accessible to the general public. In Sado, you can visit a theatre and learn more about this fascinating performing art.
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Author: Deb Davad