Recommended beginner and intermediate cycling courses in Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture

Located off the western coast of Niigata Prefecture, Sado Island in the Sea of Japan has a circumference of about 280 km, which is larger than the 23 cities in central Tokyo put together, and retains the natural environment and unique culture of the island. By taking a shinkansen from Tokyo followed by high-speed boat, you can get there in about 3 hours and 30 minutes at the fastest.
Sado Island hosts several international competitions for triathlon and long bike ride, attracting many hard-core cyclists, as well as beginners with a full selection of battery-assisted rental bicycles. Let’s try cycling while enjoying the exotic landscape of the ocean and grand nature of the mountains!

Access to Sado Island

Niigata Port -> 2 hours and 30 minutes by ferry or 1 hour and 10 minutes by jetfoil -> Ryotsu Port
*You can bring your bicycle on board as a carry-on if you fold it and put it in a bike bag.

Try “Sadoichi,” a round-Sado-Island route!

This is one of the longest circular routes in Japan, about 210 km long. If you start from Ryotsu Port, it will take about 12 hours even for advanced cyclists, making it an advanced route. It is recommended to take two days with an overnight stay to complete the route. There are some uphill and downhill and windy roads close to the coastline, but you will feel an exceptional feeling of satisfaction after completing the route!

1. Intermediate Route: A round-Osado Course

This course is about 130 km, which is half the distance of “Sadoichi,” allowing you to fully enjoy attractive aspects of Sado. If you are a hard-core cyclist, you can complete this route in one day. If you want to take more time to enjoy sightseeing, you can try this route in a two-day and one-night trip.

Start & goal: Sado Outdoor Base 

You can rent a bicycle at this facility right in front of Ryotsu Port, the gateway to Sado Island. There are various types of bicycles, including sport-type ones and battery-assisted ones.
It also offers various useful services for outdoor goers, such as rental of trekking and camping gear, shower booths, and luggage holding services.

Sado Outdoor Base
Rental Bicycles at Sado Outdoor Base

Bicycle rental: Starting at 800 yen/1 hour, Starting at 4,000 yen/24 hours

Business hours 9:00–18:00
Regular holiday Tuesdays 

Aikawa area

Sado Island prospered with gold and silver mine development more than 400 years ago and the center of the island is the Aikawa area. The area still has a traditional streetscape, so it is nice to walk around rather than riding a bicycle and/or take a rest at an old folk house café.
Kitazawa Fuyusenkoba Remains, a froth flotation plant that was once said to be the biggest modern mine facility in Asia, is a must-see. You can see a fantastic view created by the fusion of the remains and surrounding greenery.

Kyomachi-dori Street in Aikawa

Kitazawa Fuyusenkoba Remains


This scenic site with a monolith with a height of 167 meters above sea level is listed as a two-star site in “Michelin Green Guide Japon.” From late May to early June, yellow blossoms called “tobishimakanzo” (daylilies) cover the whole area.

Onogame and the cluster of tobishimakanzo

2. Beginners’ route: Ogi Coast course

This route, which goes along the coastline of the southern part of the island, can be completed in about 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours. Enjoy the ocean of Sado Island casually on a battery-assisted bicycle.

Start & Goal: Marine Plaza Ogi

First, visit this tourist information center very close to Ogi Port. Rent a “Eco-dacchari” battery-assisted bicycle and off you go! You can choose your favorite bicycle from various types of bicycles, such as sport-type and city-type bicycles.

Marine Plaza Ogi
Sport-type Battery-assisted Bicycle “Eco-dacchari”

attery-assisted bicycle “Eco-dacchari”
Bicycle rental: city-type bicycles: 500 yen for 2 hours, plus 200 yen for an additional hour; 2,000 yen for 24 hours sport-type bicycles: 2,000 yen for 2 hours, plus 500 yen for an additional hour; 4,500 yen for 24 hours.

Marine Plaza Ogi (Minami Sado Tourist Information Center)

Business hours 8:30–17:30
Regular holiday Dec. 29 to Jan. 3

Tarai-bune around Yajima and Kyojima Islands

A beautiful spot is created by two small islands connected with each other by a red bridge and the clear emerald green water. Get on a “tarai-bune” tub boat and enjoy the view.

Yajima, Kyojima, and tarai-bune

Tarai-bune tour at Yajima Taiken Koryukan
600 yen for adults

Business hours 9:00–16:00 on Weekdays and bad-weather days, 9:00–17:00 on Weekends and holidays
Regular holiday Oct. 21, Nov. to Mar.

Shukunegi Village

This village used to be for people involved in cargo vessel business and has more than 100 houses made with ship planks and other materials for shipbuilding. With some restaurants and guest houses utilizing historical buildings, you can closely feel the unique atmosphere of this village.

Shukunegi Village


Located in a traditional building, this restaurant serves original dishes created by the fusion of French cuisine and local seasonal ingredients from Sado. It is a perfect place to refresh yourself after cycling in a relaxing atmosphere while looking at the beautiful Japanese garden. Don’t forget to try the delicious desserts!

Exterior of Anaguchi
Dishes at Anaguchi

Business hours lunch from 11:00 and last order at 14:00; café time from 16:00, dinner from 17:00 to 19:00 (dinner requires a reservation at least three days in advance)
Regular holiday Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays

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The information herein is as of January 2023
I am Ayumi from Chiba Prefecture. I love sweets. I majored in Japanese history in my university. I have visited many historic sites from the ancient days to the modern days on my trips. I have visited about 100 castles of various sizes. I am also obsessed with visiting “anime pilgrimage sites,” the locations featured in popular anime and manga.

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