Most travellers to Sado Island go to Ogi when they come to Sounthern area on the island.
However, there is another great area that is not commonly known to travellers, and that’s “Akadomari”.
You can see traditional houses with retro atmosphere on the street, and you can also enjoy a full view of the village with the sea and mountains.
- 1 Where is Akadomari?
- 2 Maritime Sumo wrestling event in summer
- 3 Akadomari used to be under water
- 4 The origin of the name
- 5 Time travel to the old Japan
- 6 A observatory can overlook the villeage
- 7 Taste a Japanese nutmeg
- 8 Zencho Temple with ridge‐end tiles
- 9 Enmeiin to be able to overlook the village
- 10 Toukou Temple deified an old raccoon dogs
Where is Akadomari?
Akadomari is located in the south of the island.
This is the port where the magistrate’s officers had used when Sado Island played an important role having one of the greatest gold mines in the world from 17th to early 19th century.
A Japanese freight vessel named ‘Kitamae-Bune called at and brings lots of goods and people.
Now a speed boat called “Ibis”* goes into service between Teradomari in Niigata and Akadomari in Sado Island.
They have the winter vacation. You can check the details here.
Around the port, there is the Octopus Park, so it would be a good place for families.
It’s also a paradise for seafood lovers because this area is famous for the queen crabs and sweet shrimp.
And you can taste sweet and juicy persimmons too!
Maritime Sumo wrestling event in summer
Akadomari Festival is held every summer and they play Sumo wrestling on the sea.
Once upon a time, 2 strong men, Mr. Saburo(bamboo cutting workman) and Mr.Gorou (well digging worker) played Sumo every year, and this tradition comes from it.
Akadomari used to be under water
Around Akadomari port, there rocks like this.
You can see white little circles on the the surface, and they are fossils of sea lilies which had lived under water.
It’s said that this area used to be under water from about 400 million to 200 million years ago, and it has raised avove the sea level about 2.5 million years ago.
The origin of the name
Around the port, you can also see a red rock like this.
People on a Japanese freight vessel had marked it and sailed across the sea, so this area is named after the red rock and port and called “Akadomari” which means read port.
This is the place where Akadomari started and enshrined with a sacred arch.
Time travel to the old Japan
This village will take you back in time.
After acrossing the street in front of the red rock and go into the villeage, you will see Japanese traditional houses.
A retro house with hexagonal roof with a wooden bench at the entrance remains in good condition.
They say that it used to be a doctor’s house and no one is living here now.
Next to the doc’s house, there is an open house with a wooden nameplate of “Awajiya”, and you can go into and see how it looks like inside.
It has traditional architectual form in this area, and the open ceiling and skylight structure are very unique.
I couldn’t take a picture in the house but it’s bright enough even without lighting tool.
The light coming through the upper window reflected to the flagstones at the entrance was shining softly, and I felt as I was enjoying looking at impressionist art.
There is a narrow path to the sacred arch, and you can see the rails for a trolley car to carry the gold mined in Sado Island out to the capital from 17th to 19th century.
This is the Tanabes who invested in herring fishing made a fortune.
Mr.Kurobe was born in this house and rebuild Akadomari port by using his own money to develop his hometown.
When you look on the street, you will find a manhole cover with pictures of ship and the Tanabes designed by a local highschool student. Isn’t that cool?
It’s rare to be able to see a storehouse in good condition like this and shrine with a white sacred arch.
So you might be able to feel like an adventurer or treasure hunter.
A observatory can overlook the villeage
There is a wooden notice like this and it shows the way upto an observatory.
You will go through bamboo forest and it will take about 10mins to go up there.
A portrait Sumo wrestler donamed from people concerned was displayed at the entrance.
You can see statues about folk stories at the landing of the stairs.
When you come upto the top, you can get a full view of the sea and enjoy a panoramic view of sea, villeage and mountains.
Taste a Japanese nutmeg
There are lots of Japanese nutmeg around this area and local people eat snacks using it. It’s simple but has special roasted flavor.
Zencho Temple with ridge‐end tiles
It’s said that this Zencho Temple was established in 827, and ridge-end tiles welcome you at the gate.
This is one of the spots of Seven Gods of Good Fortune on the island, and people come here to pray for prosperity and happiness.
If you come here in spring, you can also enjoy many kinds of “Sakura”, cherry blossoms.
Enmeiin to be able to overlook the village
There is a steps on the other side of the Zencho Temple, and it leads you to the other temple, Enmeiin.
It’s located in the place where you can overlook the village, and it also garded people living there over hundreds of years.
It has curtains of 5 colors, and it might be a symbol and represents 5 elements to make up the world in Buddhism, earth, water, fire, wind and air.
The colorful curtains makes a phoenix carved in wood appear more beautiful.
Toukou Temple deified an old raccoon dogs
People believe that they have old raccoon dogs called “Mujina” or “Tonchibo” on the island from ancient times.
“Mujina” or “Tonchibo” is a living like a badger, and they could bewitch people, but also worshiped by some people.
If you have watched Hayao Miyazaki animated film “POM POKO”, you might have heard the name of “Danzaburo”.
He is also “Mujina” or “Tonchibo”, and they believe that he used to live in the north of the island.
In the southern area, Zentatsu had been worshiped before Danzaburo and called “Sumo champion in the east”.
Surprisingly, Zentatsu could take the shape of a monk, and took ascetic practices.
As the result, a real monk gave him a name of “Zentatsu” using “Zen” out of “Zenshu”, who is a famous monk in Japan.
After coming through the gate, you will see a little Japanese garden with pond and bench.
When you walk in the wide grounds, the big rocks with sacred archs will grab your attention.
Each of them has names like Mt.Kumano, and the one with many archs is where Zentatsu is enshrined.
There is a temple and wooden fish which is original form of a fish-shaped wooden drum and a sedan-chair which used to be a transportation in old days are displayed in there.