The island of Sadogashima, just off the coast of Niigata City in the Sea of Japan proved to be an amazing discovery, one of Japans many treasures.

Of greatest interest to me were the traditions that I only got a glimpse of through the trinkets at the souvenir shops. Some very interesting artwork and craftsmanship alluded to an amazing dragon or demon dance, as well as what looked like a very elegant and graceful dance done by Sado women wearing the unique large brimmed straw hat which was folded down the sides of their faces.

In the Edo era, Sado was an island of exiles of sort… not like the way criminals were taken to Australia, but when the gold mine near the town of Aigawa on Sado ran short of workers, the Tokugawa Government decided to capture mushukunin or people without proper registration in large cities and sent them to work in the Sado gold mine.

My host for the weekend was Dan Schneider, a friend from College, who has an appartment in Sawata. Dan is teaching English with the JET program and started last September. He’s got a great web page, so give it a look for the latest on Sadogashima!

The island is covered with hidden treasure of all sorts, from little fishing villages dotted around the coast, to a pair of dynamic mountain ranges furhter inland. All of which will require further exploration, someday. One suggestion was to cycle along the coast around the entire island… anybody game?


About the author

Adventure Correspondent Cameron L. Martindell is a freelance adventure travel and expedition writer, photographer and filmmaker who founded in 2000. He has contributed to Elevation Outdoors Magazine, The Gear Junkie, National Geographic, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Outside, Backpacker, Wired, Australian Geographic, and others. He has been to all seven continents and lived on five of them, including a four-month stint at the South Pole. Cameron has more than 10 years of mountain search and rescue experience, is an Eagle Scout, has been an Australian bush firefighter, competes in sailing regattas, plans national and international youth programs, guides Oregon rafting trips and Australian bush backpacking trips.

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