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July 8, 2018 - Hidden Honshu: Southern Sado
For my ninth day in Japan, I visited some of the major sites to be found in Southern Sado Island of Niigata Prefecture. Unlike many of the smaller islands that now belong to Japan, Sado Island has a much longer history - including some temples which rival those on the mainland for age. This is mainly down to the large Gold/Silver mine found on the island.
Another interesting observation to find on Sado island is the large number of Noh stages found in the grounds of Shrines. These are normally quite rare today but Sado Island has a disproportionate number of stages due to Sado also being a place of exile, including people who had a love of this type of theatre. It's said that 1/3 of all remaining original Noh stages in Japan can be found on Sado island.
My first stop for the say was Obuse Shrine - which is also known as Kofuse Shrine in some locations. Note that it's a bit difficult to find this location but it's known for it's dilapidated Noh Stage.
My second stop for the day was Dairenji Temple which is known for it's treasures inside the main building. As expected - it seemed as though it was closed today or you had to call in advance. This temple was founded in 1421.
Located close in distance to Dairenji temple but a pain to reach is Kusakari Shrine which has quite an impressive Noh stage. Strangely - this is and Kabuki are the only type of major Japanese performance I have not seen live.
My favourite place on the whole island was my next stop, Rengubuji temple which was founded in 806. This temple is quite large, has lots of buildngs of different styles and theres lots of carvings.
When you visit a temple and see the Hitachi sign (to the right), this normally means you are about to take a photo of a building normally of great historic significance. I don't know what it is, but it's definitely different.
My next stop was the touristy Senkankuwan Bay which is one of the locations you can ride a tub around in a circle. It costs 500 yen or you can also get a glass bottom boat ride here as well. The tour buses come to this location.
Located down a very windy and narrow street Yajima is another location where you can catch a tub around in a circle. Note that this location is much more picturesque and there is also a nice 10/15 minute walk around as well which is nice.
The South of Sado ended up having much more to see than I expected. I thought that I'd be done by lunchtime but there is actually quite a bit that I missed. My next post will be looking at Shukunegi - a traditional fishing village found on the South West coast of Sado Island.
Sado Tourist Website: https://www.visitsado.com/en/