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map of Sado Gold and Silver Mine Site

Sado Gold and Silver Mine Site

How to get

Get off the #1 bus (Hon-sen) at Aikawa Bus stop which is the final stop for most of the #1 buses. Several #1 buses take you directly to the Gold and Silver Mine Site. Or get off the #1 bus at Kiralium Sado which is just one bus-stop before Aikawa. There, you will be able to get information about Aikawa and gold mine site. They perhaps tell you to walk on the Prefectural Highway #463 as the shortest route. But it is more interesting to walk on Kyomachi Dori Street to get to the mine site. At the mine site, you will find that the entrance fee of the mine pit is sky rocketed. It is up to you, but even if you do not go into the pit, you can still enjoy looking at the mine site from the Road #463.

Photo.11.1 One of Gold Mine Site with Crevice

This website does not have much interest in introducing the most famous sightseeing spot where anyone goes. Sado Gold and Silver Mine Site produced 78 ton of gold and 2300 ton of silver1). If you want more information about Sado Silver and Gold Mine, google it.

Sado is the island of Niigata prefecture, Japan. Straight distance from Niigata to Ryotsu is approximately 57 kilometer (36 mile). The land area is 855.27 km2, and its shore line length is 280.4 km (174 mile)2). Someone may say that the shape of the island is like “S” which is the first letter of Sado, but it can also be thought as skewed “H”. The skewed H with left bar up and the right bar down, and then rotate the H clockwise 30 degree. The left bar is Osado ridge, the right bar is Kosadao ridge, and between the two is Kuninaka plane. The highest mountain peak is on the Osado ridge. Mt. Kimpoku has the 1172 meter (3845 ft.) height. Since that mountain is so impressive that you will be able to find it easily when the sky is clear. Average temperature of the hottest month, August, is 25.3 Celsius (78 Fahrenheit) and that of the coldest month, February, is 3.2 Celsius (38 Fahrenheit)3). Yearly precipitation is 1514mm (60 inch)4).

Sado has many interesting features; history, industry, religion, traditional arts, and so on. In history, Sado was a place for the central government to send people as punishments. Such connection made Sado rich in culture. Industrial importance of Sado had been production of gold and silver from the mines (see Kitazawa ).

Religion is also an important aspect of Sado. You see a lot of temples and shrines. The island is the sacred place for one of the major denominations of Japanese Buddhism. As for traditional arts, old time performing like Noh is still frequently played in Sado. Through these features, tourists will find Japanese culture and tradition more in this small island than in other part of Japan. If you want to visit sightseeing spots effectively, it is better for you to have a good Japanese friend who has a car and gives you a ride. Otherwise, you need to walk. You may think Sado is a small island, but actually the island is too big to walk. You need to use buses. Check the bus schedule and plan ahead.

The followings are a rough history of Sado5).

[Ancient Times]
14,000 - 12,000 years ago: Stone blades whose shape looked like leaves and obsidian spear were used in Chojagadaira .
12,000 - 9,500 years ago: Stone spears having haft part at the end were used in Chojagadaira.
8,000 years ago: Earthen vessels that were similar to the ones of Yokosuka Tado site and Fukushima Tokoyo site were used in Iwayasan cave.
6,000 - 5,000 years ago: The sea level rose 6 meter higher than current level.
B.C.E 100 - C.E.100: ‘Magatama’ was made at some places in Kuninaka Plane. Magatama is a curved/polished stone whose shape was like comma.
End of 3C. - Beginning of 4C. Cultivation was done in large scale on the lower plane of Kokuu River.
First half of 6C.: Ancient Tombs were built on Futami peninsula.
Last half of 6C. - Beginning of 7C. : Ancient Tombs were built at Mano Bay and Ryotsu Bay areas.
645: Sado was given the status as one district of "Sawata".

[Ancient National State]
724: Sado and other five districts were specified as a place of internment.
741: An order was issued to build Kokubun Temples all over the country.

[Heian Era]
Under aristocratic government in Kyoto
811: Chokoku Temple was said to be established.
831: Choan Temple was said to be established.
1021 - 1024: "Konjaku Story" tells that Gold dust was collected in Sado.

[Kamakura Era]
(12 century, Start of Samurai Warrior Reign "Bakufu")
1221: Jokyu incident, Junntoku Joko was moved and settled in Sado as a punishment.
1321: Shochu incident, Hino Suketomo was moved and settled in Sado . He was executed in 1332 .

[Muromachi era and Civil war Era]
1355: 8th Patriarch of . He was Ji-shu Buddhism arrived in Sado, propagated, and left the island for Naoetsu.
1434: Noh master Zeami was moved and settled in Sado. He authored a book of “Kintosho” in the following year.
1542: Tsurushi Silver Mine was found; production began.
1589: Uesugi Kagekatsu attacked Kawaharada Castle and Hamochi Castle .

[Edo Era under "Tokugawa Bakufu"]
1601: Tokugawa Ieyasu made Sado a place to be directly governed by Edo-samurai government.
1604: Ookuba Nagayasu's sovereignty started.
1645: The first noh stage was built in Kasuga Shrine in Aikawa.
1750: "Kan-en Peasant Uprising" happened.
1767: "Henjobo-chisen ikki"
1838: Zenbeh and his followers committed the peasant uprising in which the whole the island was involved.
1867 British envoy came for the opening of Ebisu port to foreign ships.

Photo.11.2 They are not Real Humans But Figures

[Modern Era (19 century and after)]
1868: Designated to be a harbor for foreign ships/ Choshu hanshi Okudaira came to the island Haibutsu Kishaku in Meiji era.
1876: Aikawa-Prefecture (Sado) was merged with Niigata Prefecture.
1904: 2000 men went to the Russo-Japanese War from Sado, of those, 120 had never returned.
1937: 300 of Soldiers left Ryotsu Port for the Sino-Japanese War.
1945: The ship "Okesamaru" was attached by carrier based fighter planes. Defeat of Japan to the WW2

Photo.11.3 Oodate Vertical Mine Pit

[Present Times (1945-)]
1963: U.S. military forces stationed in Sado had transferred to Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture.
1967: Car ferry “Sadomaru” started operation.
1977: Jet foil started operation.
1999: Birds of Toki were given from China.
2004: All the municipalities on the Sado became one city.