Sado Island – moderate

Sado Island, located in the Sea of Japan, is a perfect destination to discover Japan’s unspoiled beauty. After spending the first two days riding in Niigata’s rustic farmlands, we go on a voyage to the Island. We bike on quiet roads amid beautiful rice paddies, along coasts, and through fishing villages. Despite its remote location, Sado Island is a treasure house of culture. It was an island of exile for intellectuals in medieval times. We plan to include some extra-curricular activities such as Japanese drum lessons, pottery making lessons, and a ride on a taraibune (tub boat). Savor excellent foods prepared with the freshest seafood, perfect rice, and farm produce. 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 : Echigo-nagano (37km)

We meet at the Tokyo train station in the morning and transfer to Nagaoka by the Shinkansen (bullet train; it takes about 2 hours). Our warm-up ride starts in Nagaoka, following quiet back roads out of the city that eventually lead to beautiful countryside. Our ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) for the first night is a rustic wooden building situated in a small valley. Enjoy a dip in its delightful onsen (natural hot spring bath). (Dinner included)

Day 2 : Niigata (59km)

After breakfast, we hit the road to Niigata, one of the first five Japanese ports opened for foreign trade after the end of National Seclusion in the 19th century. We ride through rice fields and then along the Shinano-gawa River. In the afternoon, we finish our ride on the outskirts of Niigata city and take a water shuttle to downtown Niigata. In the evening, we go out for dinner in Furumachi (the old town district). We stay at a western-style hotel. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 3 : Shukunegi (40km)

Following breakfast, we set off for a journey from Niigata port to Sado Island by ferry. Once on Sado Island, after a short transfer by van from Ryotsu port to Hatano, we start cycling onto quiet hills and then ride along the coastline towards Shukunegi. Our ryokan for the next two days is a beautiful conversion of an old Japanese house. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 4 : Shukunegi (37km)

We cycle around cape Sawasaki and its surrounding areas along the magnificent coastline and hills in the morning. We spend the afternoon in Shukunegi, a picturesque preserved village that prospered from the shipbuilding and shipping business during the Edo period (17th to 19th centuries). Today’s program includes various activities, including Japanese drumming with an instructor from Kodo and a ride on a taraibune (tub boat). (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 5 : Aikawa (58km)

We head north through peaceful hills and fields in the morning. En route, we swing by a local festival in Hamochi town (June trip only). If we are lucky, we can see a unique fertility dance called Tsuburosashi there. We then visit a Buddhist temple with stunning buildings and a garden. After lunch, we ride along the western coast of the island. Our destination is Aikawa, which prospered from its gold mine during the Edo period (17th to 19th centuries). We stay at a Japanese-style hotel on the oceanfront. Enjoy soaking in an onsen hot spring bath (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 6 : Futatsugame (59km)

In the morning, we spend time taking a pottery-making lesson followed by a visit to the old gold mine to see what it used to be like in the old days. Then we ride in a region of the most dynamic and magnificent landscape of the island through rolling hills along the coastline passing fishing villages, including some steep climbs and spectacular downhills. We stay at a comfortable inn situated on a cliff near Futatsugame (two turtle-shaped giant rocks), enjoying stunning ocean views. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 7 : Departure

Following breakfast, we leave Sado Island and return to Niigata by jetfoil. Once at the Niigata train station, it is time to say goodbye to your leader/guide. You take the Shinkansen (bullet train) and arrive in Tokyo in the early evening. (Breakfast included)