Unique Sea Cave Adventures in Niigata
Sado Island is about 50 kilometers away from Niigata Prefecture, located in the west coast of the Sea of Japan. It was a fishing town and famous for silver and gold mines. Now it is a secret getaway place in summer from the crowded city life. You can enjoy diving, scuba diving, surfing, etc. In addition to that, a natural blue cave is hidden and well-preserved in the south of the island. It has the name of Blue Grotto in Sado Island.
Beautiful Beaches and Water Sports on the Sado Island.
Sado Island has more than seven beaches on the island; however, seven of which are recognized as the official beaches with lifeguard station. Sado Island is an ideal destination family, couple and friends. There are different activities for a different purpose. You can experience all the water sports in here, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, SUP, rafting, banana boat, surfing, and the best unique experience is exploring in a blue cave, the largest lava cave on the island. If you are interested in taking diving license as a beginner, you can find three days courses here as well. The activities only take place during the summer season from April to the end of September.
If you are not a big fan of water sports, don’t worry; the view is worth for you to come and spend the whole day relaxing and hearing the sea waves. The beaches on Sado Island are very beautiful; you will be impressed with the white sand and clear ocean. Some beaches are equipped with barbeque area and camping spots. For example, Jougahama beach is an artificial beach with crystal clear ocean and white sand. Next to the beach, there is a hot spring in an accommodation called “sunrise akdomari.” After one day bathing in the ocean, you can relax and take a proper shower here.
Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings: Shukunegi Village
In the very south of Sado Island, Shukunegi is designated as Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings. The town was prosperous from the end of the Edo Period to the beginning of Meiji-Period.
Before discovering the silver and gold mines, the city initially serves as a fishing port. Fishers rides on a tub-turned boat (Tarai-Bune) to catch fish, which becomes the symbol and heritage of Sado. The original design for a tub-turned boat is to go in the narrow cave to catch fish; therefore, the capacity of the boat is three people at most.
Local Experience Riding Tub-urned Boat to Blue Cave
Kotoura sea caves are right next to the Shukunegi area. Kotoura sea caves were formed through natural erosion process. The lower part of the rock was eroded by sea waves quickly than the upper side, and it creates a cave. There are about eleven different sea caves around the area. The biggest sea cave is called “Ryuodo” which means dragon king cave in Japanese. Ryuodo Cave is so beautiful that local people phrased it as Sado’s version of Blue Grotto.
A Mysterious Blue Grotto lies secretly around Sado island.
When sunlight enters the sea, some of the light is absorbed by the sea, but it seems to reflect without absorbing blue or green color. Under a good weather condition, the sea ocean is transparent enough to see the seabed.
The best timing to visit Ryuodo cave is around 11 o'clock when the sunlight of the day enters deeply on the ocean. If all the condition is good (including weather, sunshine, and waves) you will be able to capture the stunning beautiful ocean blue.
They also provide the sea kayak tour to further explore in the cave. You can take your time exploring and observing the nature art by kayaking in Ryudo Cave.
How to visit?
Address : Kotoura, Sado, Niigata Prefecture 952-0606
TEL: +81-259-27-5000 ( Sado Tourism Association)
Tub-turned boat (Tarai-Bune) experience:
The regular fee for adults is usually around 500 JPY per person and 300 JPY for children whose age is under 12 years old. If you come as a big group with more than 30 people, the discount fee is 450 per person. The fee differs from each travel agents. We would advise you to compare the price with different travel agents before jumping into the plan.
The whole activity takes about 40 min to one hour.
Blue cave cruise and also with Tub-turned boat experience :
If you prefer cruise to the blue cave, the price of each person is 3,000 JPY for adult, 2,000 JPY for children. It also includes riding tub-turned boat.
However, since the blue cave is relatively small compared to the size of cruise, we recommend you to take the kayak course if you would like to explore in the blue cave.
There are 2 ferries per day bound for Sado Island; however, the ferry does not operate from late November to February. The ferry departs from Naoetsu Station and it takes about 2 and half hours one way. The transportation fee is 3650 per person.
Take the Shinkansen (JR Hokuriku Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Joetsu Myoko Station. It is about a two-hour direct ride from 6 am to 9 pm. The schedule might differ depends on the day. It costs about 9000-yen one way. After arriving at Joetsu Myoko Station, take the local line and transfer to Naoetsu Station.
Take the domestic flight to Niigata airport and then take airport limousine to Niigata station. From Niigata station, take the express line bound for Jyoetsumyoko to Naoetsu Station.
From Naoetsu Station, you can either use a bus or taxi to Naoetsu port. If you take the bus, please go to the north exit of Naoetsu Station. Both ways take about fifty minutes. From Naoetsu Port, take the ferry bound for Sado Island.