Sado Island is the largest island located along the Sea of Japan. Located in the North is Osado Mountains which includes Mt. Kinpoku, in the South the Kosado Mountains including Ojiyama, and the widespread Kuninaka Plain between the two mountain ranges. Sado Island covers an area of approximately 855km (1.4 times as large as the 23 wards of Tokyo) and have an estimated population of 56,000 people (accurate as of March 2019). The climate is oceanic with distinct changes across the four seasons, blessing the island with fertile soil and good climate appropriate for its main industries of agriculture and fishing. Recognized as a Japanese Geopark for its beautiful nature and diverse ecosystem, Sado Island is often referred to as a miniature Japan due to its mix of aristocrats, samurais, and townspeople meld into one creating a unique culture. In addition to its nature and mixture of cultures, a wide variety of cuisines can be found on Sado Island brought about by its climate and natural features.
Sado Island appears as the 7th out of the 8 main islands of Japan in a Japanese myth found in the oldest history book Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters). Formerly appointed as a penal colony, many aristocrats and intellects such as Emperor Juntoku and Zeami were exiled here. Sado Island is also known for its prosperous gold and silver mines, as well as being the resting grounds of the last wild Japanese crested ibis.
The 38th parallel north passes through the center of Sado Island, drawing the boundary line separating the warm temperate and cold temperate floristic zones. Designated as a Japanese Geopark, there are over 1,700 species of both northern and southern plants growing naturally. Sado Gold and Silver Mines, Crested Ibis, Taraibune, etc. exist due to its close relation with the natural landscape of the island.
The culture of Sado Island is broadly divided into 3 categories: aristocrat culture passed down from exiled aristocrats and intellects, samurai warrior culture brought over by commissioners and officials from Edo (present day Tokyo) during the development of the gold mines, and townspeople culture introduced by merchants and sailors working on the kitamaebune. This mix of cultures often led to Sado Island being referred to as a miniature Japan.
Sado Island’s food source comes from the flourishing agricultural industry of rice cultivation and fruit growing; the livestock industry of rearing young Sado cattle; as well as the fishing industry which provide a wide variety of seafood such as crab, shrimp, squid, yellowtail and tuna. Moreover, there are 5 sake breweries, brewing Japanese sake unique to Sado Island.