Sadogashima is an island off the western coast of Japan, just about in-line with Niigata the city. It’s small and quaint and has about one highway. But most of all it’s beautiful, and I’m so glad I went there.
- Rent a car
That is definitely the first thing you’re going to want to do as there is little to no public transport on the island. The moment you get off the ferry get yourself a car and your trip will go a lot smoother. A note: Sadogashima’s speed limits are low.
Start your trip off with a visit to see an endangered bird. They’re kept in enclosures and you can see them up close and personal. This variety of bird – toki – is only found on Sadogashima and it is a treat to see them. Unless of course you’re Australian. We went. We spent the 500Y or whatever it was to get in. And what do we see? Despite the difference in colour, it was an ibis. A pest to all Australians. It was still an experience I wouldn’t miss.
Now take a drive past the scenic country side to the ogi area and by the seaside you will find a very odd sort of boat. Think the Dwarves in the second Hobbit movie. It isn’t a barrel though, and they use a single oar to move their little barrel-like boat around. We “rowed” (haha get it) in one and the lady operating it let us have a go, it’s a lot harder than it seems and definitely something you should try out.
If you drive further west along the coast line you’ll find Shukunegi, an old and beautiful village. The roads were so tiny there was no space to keep cars. Sometimes it even looked like they kept the cars in their lounge rooms! The wood is so old and sunbleached that it’s grey, and not a dark grey either. The streets had to be one way, because there was no way two cars would fit. A lot of Japan is old and I have this fascination with history, so maybe for you this won’t be so interesting, but it sure was for me.
If you want to eat gold and feel like a queen, then head right up the coast to find the Kinzan goldmine. An interesting tour will take you underground for a disneyland POTC experience, mannequin’s slave away at the rock, and unfortunately they won’t ever get anywhere. Because they’re not real. Once you head back into the light you can get ice-cream with gold flakes, or coffee with gold flakes in it. It doesn’t taste like anything, but it sure feels special.
if you head eastward along the coast you will find Senkaku bay. There’s beach if you want it, views if you want it and a million other things to do as well. Absolutely beautiful. We took this small walk up to a temple I think and the views were utterly amazing.
From here head back down the coast to where you came from.
A note on maps: The sign you’re seeing isn’t a nazi sign. It really isn’t. If you notice, it’s backwards. It was an indicator for temples long before Hitler took it. It’s not an underground Nazi thing, it’s just a temple thing. And that’s okay.
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